International Broadcasting by Satellite: Issues of Regulation, Barriers to Communication

International Broadcasting by Satellite: Issues of Regulation, Barriers to Communication

International Broadcasting by Satellite: Issues of Regulation, Barriers to Communication

International Broadcasting by Satellite: Issues of Regulation, Barriers to Communication

Synopsis

"He is concerned with the international debate about control of a technology allowing one country to talk with nations of another without any means of governmental control of that information flow. That question has rattled around UN meetings for years, and it is the tracing of that debate to which the author (Northern Illinois University) addresses himself. To an extent, he updates the only previous detailed study of the debate, Kathryn M. Queeny's Direct Broadcast Satellites and the United Nations (CH, Jul '79), but at the same time he goes further in assessing some of the larger trends in cultural, technical, and economic dimensions of sovereignty. The seven chapters are supplemented with several appendixes of UN and related documents, a short list of reading, and an index.... The monograph does a creditable job of making sense out of often murky debates and documents." - Choice

Excerpt

For broadcasters it was a dramatic chance for programming on a grand international scale, one that held in it the promise of the future. They had the Intelsat I or Early Bird satellite, the world's first commercial satellite, to use for a full hour (without charge, as a pre-inaugural test and demonstration). the dazzling display that followed in May 1965 of nation-hopping video feeds switched between Canada, the United States and countries in Europe produced some profound, and some dreadful, international television.

Because of a faulty switch, later traced to a ground link, American viewers at one point heard a distinguished bbc commentator sound something like this: "This is Richard Dimbleby..be..be..be, from London..un..un..un." But Early Bird also relayed flawlessly pictures of delicate open heart surgery, being performed in Houston, to watching student doctors in Geneva who could interrogate the surgery team as the operation progressed. From these halting beginnings we now routinely enjoy television feeds from overseas almost daily, so commonplace an occurrence that they no longer are captioned, "Live via satellite."

Events in the growth and development of international satellite television are a part of the background of the author of this book. He has lived these events. the knowledge of the industry has grown with him. and now the imminent introduction of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services, a far more intimate form of television delivery direct to a person's home, is raising vexing questions about the rights of sovereign nations to control importation of ideas transmitted by the television medium from other countries.

The author takes a scholar's approach to the subject. Here the reader will find a wealth of information on all major aspects of international broadcasting by satellite, and an extensive bibliography exploring such disparate parts of the dbs problem as international copyright and the differences among countries as to the meaning of freedom of speech. the intellectual fountainhead for the re-

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