It’ s right down there….
We just got off the phone with the Minister for Information for a small but never-the-less important country.
We will be going there in a few weeks to start a project to make the country ‘video active’.
That is, we are going to train the ministry and others in other branches of government to be video literate, to be able to tell their own stories in video, shoot them, cut them and upload them and offer them to the world.
This country and its people and government will no longer be at the mercy of CNN or the BBC or anyone else. They will be able to tell their own stories as they wish, when they want.
Since the creation of mass media, most of the world has lived in a state of Electronic Colonialism.
They have been the supplicants, ‘on bended knee’ before the greater powers of CNN or Fox News.
It was, after all, up to CNN as to when they sent the crew to, say, Bangla Desh.
And when would CNN decide to send a crew? Well, it would have to be a big enough story to warrant dispatching a crew and reporter half way around the world. A big story like, say, a war, or a famine or a monsoon flood. Those would be big enough.
So for 50 years, the only time Bangla Desh got television coverage was during war, famine or flood.
So for the past 50 years everyone’s vision of Bangla Desh has been war, famine and flood.
This kind of global image carries a price.
Anyone here planning a vacation trip to Bangla Desh?
Anyone here care to invest in Bangla Desh?
Hands down… oops, there weren’t any.
This is the price of 50 years of electronic colonialism. We dispatched western journalists to countries where they did not speak the language, know the history, understand the culture or much of anything else. Then they cobbled together as best they could their rather limited understanding of what was happening, and then broadcast this around the world.
In a world where only CNN or the BBC owned the bandwidth, the rest of the world had no choice but to ‘take it’, and live with the consequences. Good stories about Bangla Desh (or anywhere else) simply never got any coverage.
But the world has changed.
There is a ring above the earth called the Clarke Ring, named for Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer who first postulated satellite communications.
The Clarke Ring is the place directly above the equator where the orbit of a satellite and the earth’s orbit are in synch, all the time. The earth rotates at 17,000 mph, but so does the satellite. Hence, the satellite appears to hang in space, even though everything is really moving quite fast.
There are a limited number of these spaces, called G-Slots, for Geo Stationary Orbit. And there is a great deal of debate about which countries should have these limited slots. Most of them have gone to the Americans and the Russians because they go there first.
It is, as you can imagine, very very expensive to place a satellite in a G-slot, even if there were one available, which there isn’t, at the moment. So between the cost of crews, the cost of tranmission and the cost of the hardware, getting a global video image that was all their own was a bit out of the question for places like Bangla Desh.
But not anymore.
The internet, ironically, has blown away all those barriers to entry.
And taken with it the colonial power that western countries once had over information.
Which brings us to our new client.
A whole country.
And why not?
Let’s bypass the broadcaster entirely.