26

News in the global public space
Ingrid Volkmer
How do you describe 'foreign' journalism in the global public space?
What is the relationship between a 'national' and 'sub'-national news audience?
How do you define the responsibility of news organizations operating in this transnational era?

The worldwide dimension of news and political communication has undergone tremendous changes since the mid-1980s. Various factors have contributed to this transformation. One of the key factors is the increase in satellite capacity and, as a result, the decrease of satellite leasing costs. Based on this development, multinational corporations are able to distribute their programmes transnationally while, at the same time, ever smaller companies (even so-called 'grassroot' ones) can afford to use satellite platforms for their programme delivery. Based on these new structures, moreover, we are facing an increasing diversity of 'global' news flow. New analytical concepts are thus required so as to help us better understand the consequences for news journalism in this transnational era.

In addition to the familiar major Western broadcasters and agencies delivering their programmes worldwide, such as CNN's international channel (CNNI) and the BBC's World Service Television (BBC-WS-TV), there are also transnational news channels. These channels began to appear in the mid-1980s. Examples include the Arab news channel, Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, and ZEE-TV, a highly successful channel targeting the expatriate Indian community worldwide. In addition to channels such as these, which have already built substantial audience bases worldwide, a variety of small 'grassroots' stations have emerged. They tend to be supported by organizations – even individual entrepreneurs – which distribute audience-specific programmes within this new global infrastructure of news flows. By and large, these developments tend to be overlooked by those

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