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The MacBride Report - 25 Years Later, Vol. 12 - 2005, No. 3

“Missing links” in Communication Studies: Systemic Learnings and Forgetting in an “information society”

, pages: 31-46

This paper is orientated towards a contextual reading of the MacBride Report. This suggests that the Report can be fruitfully read as “socially situated” (shaped by its essentially political rather than scholarly role) and it also implies attention to the many changes in the framework, structures and flows of international communication since 1980. The paper notes selective aspects of the concerns and orientations which informed the MacBride Report, particularly those addressing structural features of unequal resources and power in a post-colonial world which, in turn operate to shape communication inequalities. It finds such issues have been somewhat neglected or inadequately addressed, both in the communication studies field and in international policy discourses in more recent times. The paper describes certain recent developments in neighbouring fields which closely resonate with aspects of the earlier report – in particular, the growth or revival of interest in the concept of “imperialism.” Whilst imperialism has become something of a neglected (if not quite taboo) term in communication studies in recent times, it is now addressed more openly in other influential domains. This paper argues that re-engagement with this concept is now overdue and potentially fruitful for both the contemporary “academic” communications studies field and for the agenda of “policy” research issues.

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