An online discussion with Philip Kitley, Keval Kumar, Brian Shoesmith, Amos Owen Thomas, and Tony Wilson
TBS: Some experts believe transnational broadcasting has the potential to bring harmony between subgroups and between nations. Others believe the opposite, that the diversity of cultures that transnational broadcasting reflects and spreads will in the long run cause people to become more concerned with their own local culture, politics, and identity, and cause them to watch local broadcasting more predominantly than transnational. How do you see this being manifested in Asia?
Keval Kumar: It has already started happening in India/Asia. The local language channels have many more viewers than the national or transnational channels. For instance, the Tamil channels in south India—Raj TV, Vijay TV, and Sun TV, which also reach Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and the whole Gulf region—have far greater interest for the Tamil community in Asia than any of Murdoch's clutch of Star TV channels. This holds true for some of the other south Indian language channels too, such as the Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam channels. The Hindi language channels such as Zee and Sony have been transnational channels from the start, and they compete directly with Doordarshan's (Indian National Television) national and regional channels.
Amos Owen Thomas: Transnational broadcasting has provided a new media outlet for ethnic minorities, which was largely unavailable on public television or government-licensed commercial television in Asia which sought to promote national culture in the post-colonial era. Thus ironically the success of transnational television in Asia has not been due to interest in globalized "Western" culture but the renaissance of ethnic subcultures, often located geographically across borders. Examples of this are television in Indian languages, which finds audiences in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Gulf states, Fiji, Mauritius, etc. Hopefully after cultural nationalism and subcultural pride there will emerge in Asia an era of personal cultural eclecticism stimulated by a wide offering of transnational media alternatives.
Tony Wilson: From the perspective of their audiences, transnational broadcasting is often heavily resisted. But equally, many viewers undertake creative readings, adapting or selecting from content in ways which are appropriate to their own cultural position. This is not, however, to detract from the need to undertake local cultural production, for which there are proven large audiences.
Brian Shoesmith: I would see transnational broadcasting in Asia as both encouraging cross-cultural dialogue and encouraging identification with local cultures simultaneously. Viewing practices indicate that this is an already deeply ingrained practice but it varies from country to country, culture to culture. In Indonesia there has been a perception among middle class audiences that news (in the Suharto era certainly) was suspect and Australian TV news was watched closely, also CNN. In China watching CCTV News is almost a requirement of being Chinese, despite its acknowledged shortcomings. But Chinese audiences like to watch Western-produced documentaries, especially science programs (or at least this has been my experience). In short, it is very difficult to generalize about TV in Asia.
Philip Kitley: I do not believe that transnational broadcasting has the power in itself to contribute to a more harmonious world order. I do believe, however, that transnational broadcasting can contribute to opening up the domestic and transnational public spheres, and that the freer circulation of information can contribute to the enhancement of civil society. That may not always be a harmonious process or outcome. For example, when Singapore and the Philippines exchanged television and press stories about the official execution of Filipina Flor Contemplacion, the different interpretations of the meaning of the event led to a breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In each country, popular sentiment was inflamed against the other country as a result of what Warwick Mules and I have called the re-signification of meaning transnationally. (Kitley and Mules "Transnational Communications, Diplomacy and the Re-signification of Meaning in Regional Relations." The UTS Review 4.2:155-173).
TBS: To go along with question one, how has transnational broadcasting in Asia affected local products? Has it stifled them or stimulated them? If the latter, is the local product genuinely local, or merely copies of imported products, such as music videos, "Dallas"-type dramas and other forms that originated outside the region?
Shoesmith: Again it is extraordinarily difficult to generalize. However, a couple of observations. In many respects television production in countries with authoritarian political regimes was pretty dull stuff which made the US- and European- produced materials look pretty good when they became available. In Indonesia a number of colleagues have observed to me that the open skies policy with respect to TV had an entirely beneficial effect on local productions. They became more polished with higher production values. The fact that they were clones of Western programs (quiz shows, variety shows etc.) was not seen as a problem. I think that there is a sense of better our own dross than theirs, but then it's much more complex than that, involving attitudes towards modernity, etc.
Kumar: Transnational has undoubtedly affected local programs. The program genres like the news bulletin, the soap opera, the sitcom and the game show have had a great influence on local products. Local versions of these genres are often no more than poor imitations. At the same time, local language channels have developed indigenous genres such as those based on Indian film songs. The best example of this is the musical program called "Chhaya Geet" and the popular game show called "Antakshari" (literally "Final Syllable"). Most of the major Indian languages now have their own versions of these two totally indigenously developed television genres. Yet another genre which has been indigenously developed is the religious epic, such as the "Mahabharatha," "Ramayana," "Sri Krishna," and others.
Wilson: Local appropriations of global formats can be very productive. For instance, in Malaysia, the weekly live transmission of a discussion program Global has taken talk show form, and allowed the exploration of national and international issues for a wide audience. Here the popular talk show format functions in development communication.
Kitley: Transnational broadcasting services have introduced competition into national television systems. In Indonesia, satellite services and spillover from neighboring Malaysia in the late 1980s was the catalyst for the introduction of five new commercial television stations after nearly thirty years of state monopoly broadcasting. These local stations were intended by the then-government to "domesticate the global" to bring transnational programs, formats and content into line with domestic values. The emulation of transnational program formats—the soap opera, for example—did not, however, always lead to the results producers wanted. When the national broadcaster in Indonesia copied the soap format or genre to produce a program it expected would be popular just because it was a soap opera, the program failed because the national broadcaster tried to use the soap formula as a vehicle for pushing central government policies. The audience disliked the didactic nature of the program, and many people ended up looking forward to the appearance of the nasty, bitchy character, thus subverting the government's aspirations.
Thomas: The general consensus among those working in the cultural industries of Asia is that transnational broadcasting has stimulated the growth of local cultural products, if by nothing else the large airtime to be filled. That some of that programming appear to be copies of "Western" genre such as soap operas and music videos is true. But one has to realize firstly that many Asian cultures have long and varied traditions of drama and music which for decades now have been well adapted to film and television, such as Indian movies and Cantonese pop music. Secondly, all cultures through history have not remained stagnant but have adapted and metamorphosed on contact with external cultures as much as through internal innovation. Thirdly, if one sees the newer cultural products as being hybrids combining the best of both worlds rather than mere clones of "Western" archetypes, the issue of cultural imperialism recedes in relevance.
TBS: Some say that transnational broadcasting will stop the "information monopoly" of the West and result in a more balanced communication and exchange of information, a "global village," between East and West. Others argue that although there is a chance for the East to reach the West, this reach is insignificant, and that cultural imperialism and cultural invasion are inherent in transnational media. What are your thoughts?
Thomas: While there is hope that the growth of the television industry in Asia stimulated by transnational satellite broadcasting may alleviate the information imbalance, the fact remains that much of the technology and programming is still under the control of "Western" global media conglomerates. Furthermore audience markets in the West/North are more ethnocentric and less amenable to cultural imports from the East/South than vice-versa. What must not be ignored is the growth of cultural product exchange within geo-linguistic regions, for example Greater China, made possible by political liberalization. Furthermore there are "invisible" cultural exports within diasporic networks that stretch across continents such as those of non-resident Indians reaching as far away as South Africa, the UK, Caribbean and the United States. Another noteworthy phenomenon is the popularity in many Asian television markets of non-Western programming imports such as Japanese cartoons, Indian epics, Chinese kung-fu movies and Latin American soap operas.
Shoesmith: I'm not sure about the cultural imperialism thesis. I have heard Loatians complain more bitterly about Thai programming than US programming, Vietnamese filmmakers complain bitterly about the effects of Hong Kong martial arts and gangster films on their markets, Indian films have been perceived as more of a problem in Indonesia than Hollywood is, and so on. Indeed my research in China has indicated a desire among TV producers to become more professional in their practices, which in some respects is a coded expression for becoming more like the West, because they perceive that TV producers there may act within a freer environment. So I'm pretty ambivalent about this. While you can see cultural values apparently being imposed, there is equally a desire to take from the West.
Kumar: It's in the area of "news flows" that one sees the monopoly of the Western news agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press. The BBC and CNN, while not being watched so avidly as local news channels, are the primary sources of international news, besides the transnational news agencies. These set the agenda for national broadcasters such as Doordarshan, Zee India TV, Pakistan TV (PTV), MBC, ESC and al-Jazeera TV. Watch any of 40-odd channels in Asia and you cannot help but notice that their news bulletins are poor copies of the footage (and often the text too) of the Anglo-American networks.
Kitley: The idea of "balanced communication" between East and West oversimplifies the flow of transnational broadcasting products and services. For example, Latin American programs are very popular in Indonesia. So are spectacular programs such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both produced in India. The Japanese drama Oshin was very popular in Indonesia. Thus the flows are not completely dominated by the West, or by Hollywood. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana were also very popular in the UK, and became the site of cultural reaffirmation, and also the stimulus for flows of funds back to India for use in political campaigns from the diasporic community. As national production systems develop further in the Asian region, I am sure that there will be an increasing regional trade in television programming, matching the impressive growth of intra-regional trade in conventional goods and services.
Wilson: Transnational narrowcasting from Asia to the West will allow overseas diasporic audiences to be addressed by stations producing content in Hong Kong, Malaysia and so on--so that Asian people living in the US or UK, for instance, can retain sensitivity to their own live culture.
TBS: Transnational broadcasting in Asia, like in any other area, must pay significant attention to property and privacy rights. How does this manifest itself in the region, and how are copyright laws affecting and being affected by media globalization?
Shoesmith: Copyright and intellectual property rights remain a problem in much of Asia despite the compliance of various governments with Western demands to control piracy. This is both a cultural and economic issue which cannot be dealt with in a paragraph. Nevertheless, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Western tourists are a major market for pirated material.
Kumar: The question of copyright is hotly debated in Asia, but because of the laxity in enforcing such a right it's not taken so seriously by broadcasters. In India, the main issue relates to Hindi films and film-song based programs. Film producers insist that video, music cassettes, terrestrial TV, satellite TV and cable TV are different media, and that each has to buy these rights from producers. Privacy is not yet a major issue because tabloid-type television in which the private lives of politicians and film stars has yet to make a mark in Asia.
Thomas: Transnational broadcasting in Asia owes much of its success to illegal or quasi-legal cable networks, which downlinked and rebroadcast satellite television signals without recognizing copyright. In some cases these networks capitalized on vague or non-existent laws governing transnational broadcasts, while in other cases they found creative ways to circumvent or defy repressive laws forbidding such broadcasts. But in the long term there is a convergence of interest between governments, wishing to exercise some measure of control over what is broadcast, and transnational broadcasters, wishing to collect revenues from their audiences or the cable rebroadcasters, to regulate the market.
TBS: We have sometimes referred to transnational broadcasting as broadcasting that transcends borders. Asia's countries tend to be relatively isolated from one another geographically; is transnational broadcasting able in this instance to transcend these borders, or does geographic isolation bring a degree of isolation in broadcasting systems? What about linguistic factors--does the plethora of languages and dialects spoken hinder transmission from country to country?
Thomas: I disagree that Asia's countries are isolated geographically from each other, as most of them are contiguous on the continental mainland. Besides, satellite technology overcomes the tyranny of distance and of geographical terrain such as high mountain ranges or oceans. While doubtless there is a plethora of languages across the whole continent, many are strictly dialects or languages within a language group, which are thus mutually understandable. There are also a number of "lingua franca" operating within Asia, such as Hindi, Mandarin, and Arabic, not to mention English in many urban metropolises. Some ethnic groups such as the Chinese have migrated throughout Asia, or a good part of it, and taken their language with them. Even where languages may be totally different, there are often other cultural similarities within Asia or its subregions, which allow people/groups to enjoy each other's television programming--take, for instance, Hindi movies in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Finally, having been drawn rather arbitrarily for historical reasons, political boundaries have seldom been successful in containing languages and cultures exclusively and hence even terrestrial domestic broadcasts enjoy transnational audiences by spillover.
Shoesmith: When STAR TV was established it was constructed as a pan-Asian service, meaning that it would be a highly centralized broadcaster. This had obvious cost benefits for Hutchison Whampoa and then Murdoch and also for the multinational advertisers. However, it proved impractical and by 1995/96 STAR TV had moved towards customization of products. This was further aided by technological improvements that allowed more specific footprints to be developed. Thus, while broadcasting can transcend political and physical borders, it still is confronted by cultural and linguistic borders that are not so easily transcended. However, two things should be noted: English is a lingua franca (the relationship between satellite broadcasting and old style imperialism still needs to be investigated) and sport is one area where transcendence seems to be welcomed.
Kumar: Satellite channels such as Star-TV began broadcasting in English, but soon learned that transborder languages such as Chinese and Hindi are more widely known. Star TV's major channels targeted at South and West Asia are now in Hindi (Star Plus, V-Channel, Zee TV). It's not entirely correct to say that Asia's countries tend to be isolated from one another. There is some cultural exchange, though not as much as that between individual countries and the the major transnationals. But much more than language hindering transmission from country to country is politics. Yet, Indian films do travel well in West Asia and Southeast Asia; some of them are subtitled, others are dubbed, but many films are transmitted in the original language. Hollywood films too are screened regularly, often subtitled in Hindi, Chinese and Arabic.
Kitley: One of the difficulties I have in responding to this question is that the term "Asia" is so general and unsatisfactory. There are many Asian countries which are squeezed together, with borders that have been sites of invasion and shifting sovereignty for centuries. Think of Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Equally it is true that Japan is a long way from Burma or India. The linguistic issue is very significant, although modern dubbing technology facilitates the exchange of television programs across linguistic and cultural borders. Indonesia has an extraordinary set of regulations concerning dubbing. Foreign language soundtrack programs must be dubbed into English, and then given Indonesian subtitles. The rationale is difficult to discover, but it is associated with a belief that if the foreign language soundtrack were simply dubbed into Indonesian, then Indonesian would become a conduit for the infiltration of (undesirable) foreign values. English becomes a kind of buffer. Here then is a case of local regulations being developed to counter the perceived undesirable effects of transnational broadcasting. Of course, certain elites, those who own satellite dishes, for example, can escape the government's dubbing policy, by taking their programs as a direct feed from satellites. It seems that at least in Indonesia the New Order government was not overly concerned about this hole in the dubbing layer. They took the smug view that anyone wealthy enough to own a satellite dish was probably sympathetic to the regime. This was a highly prejudiced and very optimistic assessment.
TBS: Recently China had a conflict with Rupert Murdoch's Sky News over their coverage of the country's process of democratization. Have you seen other instances in which international news networks touch on politically sensitive issues? Is there a big difference in the coverage of some issues between local news agencies and international networks? And within Asia itself, do you think conflicts between nations affect their news coverage of regional issues?
Kitley: Conflicts over news have long been the site of transnational strife in the Asia Pacific region. Australia has suffered in its relations with Asian neighbors over the issue. The East Timor issue and the "recalcitrant" affair are two disputes which have soured relations between Australia and Indonesia and Malaysia, for example. But these disputes are not always between so-called "Western" and Asian countries. The Flor Contemplacion affair that I cited above shows that ASEAN brothers can also fall out over news broadcasts. At the time of the Commonwealth Games, Prime Minister Mahathir warned international journalists that they were only permitted to cover the Games, and could not file stories on domestic issues such as the Anwar trial. News reporting formats and values differ widely in the region. In many countries, news is much closer to the values of development journalism than the "free press" ideals championed by Western liberalism. Sometimes, national news in countries such as Indonesia has almost a ritual character (see Kitley, 1998 "Television News Rituals in New Order Indonesia" Hitchcock, M and V T King Images of Malay and Indonesian Identity Kuala Lumpur; Oxford University Press).
Kumar: BBC World is known to be insensitive to coverage of community conflicts in Asia. It tends to highlight these conflicts unmindful of the consequences on society. There is a huge difference in the coverage of politically sensitive issues between local and international networks. Local agencies, for instance, tend to gloss over communal clashes and crime; transnational networks focus on them. Hostility between nations in Asia does tend to influence news coverage. Indeed, TV is used to unleash hate propaganda against the "enemy." This is also true of shortwave broadcasting.
Shoesmith: News gathering and dissemination in Asia is a fraught area. Until recently there was a powerful argument in place about Asian values and the role of journalism and news in their maintenance. Among the ASEAN countries there was an agreement that the respective presses would not comment unfavorably on political events of fellow ASEAN nations. Since the fall of Suharto and the imprisonment of Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia this has changed. But again, to generalize about news coverage in Asia is almost impossible. How do you compare Singapore with India, China with the Philippines? You can't, and this issue has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Thomas: Periodically there are instances where national broadcasters, public or commercial, will choose or be under pressure to suppress politically sensitive news, but transnational broadcasters remain at liberty to report, even if only out of sensationalism and motivated by the hope of high ratings. One instance cited often in the early 1990s was the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in India by Hindu fundamentalists, news which was suppressed by India but broadcast by the BBC and which is alleged to have triggered widespread violence within the country. Another incident involved the broadcast of the Dili massacre in East Timor, which was suppressed by Indonesia but broadcast unwittingly, not by a transnational broadcaster but by domestic Malaysian television. However, this was available in Indonesia by spillover in border areas as well as via satellite throughout the country, since Malaysian television also uses an Indonesian satellite. Protest by Indonesia reportedly resulted in the dismissal of the Malaysian broadcast executives responsible, a response which would not be countenanced by transnational broadcasters with a "Western" pedigree. Yet instances of this sort can only increase as even domestic broadcasters go regional via satellite technology, and little can be done by governments except to ensure that their own version of events are also broadcast.
TBS: Some Asian countries are currently involved in the privatization of their broadcast media. Where do you foresee this process heading? Will the privatization process impact other systems that believe development doesn't necessarily go hand-in-hand with privatization?
Kitley: In Indonesia privatization of television has occurred rapidly since 1989, when the first private pay-TV service was introduced. There are now five national commercial channels and one government channel. Other satellite services are developing, and cable and other pay services are growing. Audience reaction has generally been positive. Discourse in the press has welcomed privatization as audiences look forward to greater variety. Lobby groups concerned with children's television, conservative values and ethical standards in advertising have all become increasingly vocal since the introduction of commercial television and the assault of transnational programming. As commercial channels compete for audiences, audiences believe that there is likely to be greater openness. This is seen as a good thing, something likely to assist national development as it is likely to contribute to greater transparency over major contracts and the like. In this sense, privatization in Indonesia is regarded positively, even though the private channels are all owned by family or friends of the former President Suharto.
Shoesmith: The only country that I know has embarked on a systematic privatization of the media is Singapore, although Malaysia seems to be moving in this direction. In the Singaporean instance I would suggest that privatization at this moment is more an illusion than a reality. India, the Philippines etc. have always had private media. I can't see China privatizing CCTV in the near future, although some cable companies have the trappings of private companies--but they are still subservient to political demands from the CPC.
Thomas: Privatization of broadcast media in Asia is taking place in tandem with liberalization of the wider economy in those countries keen to tap into the capitalist world system. Much of the motivation for privatizing the broadcast media has been the widespread disaffection for public broadcasting and thus the attraction of transnational broadcasts, and recognition that the public bureaucracy is neither competent nor adequately resourced to compete. However, privatization does not mean abdication of control of the media, as often it is the government itself, whether national, state or city, which turns private owner (as in China and Singapore). Alternatively, it may be the dominant political parties (as in Malaysia and Taiwan), or family members or business cronies (as in Indonesia) who are granted licenses. The same is true also of cable systems licensed to rebroadcast of satellite television. Hence, while there has been some liberalization and much commercialization of content, formal governmental control of the broadcast media in Asia is being superceded by informal but no less effective self-regulation.
Kumar: "Privatization" of the broadcast media in Asia has only led to further commercialization and to American-type programming. Instead of the Information Ministry calling the shots it is the advertisers and the advertising agencies who have taken over broadcasting. The "global village" has now been transformed into a global market where the transnationals are the main sellers of their cultural products and information.
TBS: How does the political unrest in Indonesia and Malaysia impact transnational broadcasting in Southeast Asia?
Shoesmith: Political upheaval in Southeast Asia seems to have had little impact on transnational broadcasting. Indeed, Malaysia seems to have become even more enmeshed in the process at the same time as it has embarked on a process of political destabilization. The same seems to apply to Indonesia.
Kitley: The economic crisis might have had a more serious impact than the political strife. These days domestic television in Indonesia is more critical than it ever was, but it is suffering a lot from the loss of advertising revenue.
Kumar: In this region of Asia, one would expect greater tightening of the government control over transnational broadcasting. Malaysia and Singapore have already shown that this could be done quite easily.
Thomas: Those who find themselves in the opposition during a national crisis in Asia are invariably denied access to domestic media, and are therefore dependent on transnational media both to convey their message nationally and internationally and to monitor developments elsewhere within their own country. Whether the supporters of Anwar or proponents of greater democracy in Malaysia will someday come into power and whether they will then be more supportive of transnational broadcasting is yet to be seen. Certainly in Indonesia, the unrest, which resulted in the resignation of Suharto as president, will ultimately affect the control of the commercial stations by various members of his family and friends. What form that change will take is still uncertain. The commercial viability of the major cable rebroadcaster, though, is already in doubt, given the decline in subscriptions following the severe economic crisis which accompanied the political one.
TBS: Although the phrase is now out of fashion given its use as a cover for arbitrary rule in Indonesia and Malaysia, the concept of "Asian values" or "Confucian values" has been demonstrated to be a viable alternative to free-market libertarianism in a successful society like Singapore. Can transnational broadcasting adjust its content to conform to such a value system in those Asian societies that officially sanction them?
Kitley: The question is hard to answer. "Transnational broadcasting" is multi-stranded. Services which originate from outside and which do not target Asian countries specifically may not see any particular imperative to conform to domestic regimes of value. Other services, specifically tailored to particular regions and audiences, do shape their programming accordingly. Australia Television, however, while declaring itself "sensitive" to regional values and cultures, aspires to be as frank and upfront in its regional broadcasts as it is for domestic audiences. A complete answer to this question would require an intensive investigation into programming content, scheduling, advertising and so on.
Thomas: Whatever their misgivings about "Asian values" and "Confucian ethics," transnational broadcasters have demonstrated that in order to be in the favor of national governments and thus gain access to valuable domestic markets, they can adapt their program content or allow it to be adapted for them. One example of this is the Astro cable television service in Malaysia, where transnational satellite programs are downlinked and subjected to local censorship before being uplinked and then rebroadcast direct-to-home within an hour. Another example is CETV, which adopted the explicit policy of "no sex, no violence, no news" to ingratiate itself with the Chinese, Taiwanese and other governments, although the policy did not save the broadcaster from financial problems. On a wider scale, most transnational broadcasters seem to have realized that in order to attract sizable audiences in Asia they need to provide programming, be it news or entertainment, that does not offend the sensibilities of mainstream audiences there, let alone government officials and politicians. Thus pragmatic business considerations have compelled even libertarian transnational broadcasters to pay lip service to "Asian values" and make cosmetic changes to their programming content, at the very least.
Shoesmith: I have never seen "Asian values" as an alternative to free-market liberalization. On the contrary, I see this ideology as an authoritarian adjunct of economic rationalism. Here we have to distinguish between traditional Asian value systems and "Asian values." "Asian values" is a cultural argument developed to gloss over the deep contradiction that underpins the "Asian miracle of the 1990s where deeply conservative political regimes justified their authoritarianism and at the same time practiced crony capitalism. "Asian values" are a modernist construct whose hollowness is now apparent.
Wilson: I think this is a complex and interesting issue. To make one point: again from the perspective of audiences, much transnational content need not be adjusted. For instance, there is a quite remarkable compatibility between the values espoused in a US show like Oprah Winfrey (the individual in a family context) and attitudes held by, say, Chinese viewers in Malaysia. Issues of compatibility and conflict between cultural content need to be addressed from a very conscious position, since an academic reading of program content may be quite different from those made by everyday viewers.
Kumar: Transnational broadcasting adjusts quite easily since its primary concern is profit making. See how Murdoch has adjusted to China and the BBC to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region's emirates. The concept of Asian values does provide a viable alternative to free market libertarianism, but for the transnationals the only value is commerce for profit and domination. Their continuing imperialist and ethnocentric mindset will continue to blind them any alternative values.
Biographies of Participants:
Philip Kitley is a senior lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Southern Queensland. His doctoral research from Murdoch University was concerned with "Television, Nation and Culture in Indonesia." From 1986-89 Kitley was cultural attache at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. His present research is focused on a survey of the Indonesian television industry at the beginning of the new millennium and the regulation of television in selected Asian countries.
Keval J. Kumar is reader in the Department of Communication and Journalism, Univrsity of Pune (India) and a director of the Resource Centre for Media Education and Research. He is the current president of the Media Education Section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), and an associate member of ORBICOM. He is the author of "Mass Communication in India" (Bombay: Jaico Paperbacks) and "Media Education, Communication and Public Policy" (Bombay: Himalaya), and co-author of "Mass Media and the Environment: The North-South Divide" (London/New York: Routledge). He holds an MA in English literature from Bombay University and a Ph.D. in communication from Leicester University. He has taught at the universities of Bombay, Pune and Ohio State, and has published widely in edited books and academic journals.
Brian Shoesmith is an associate professor in Media Studies in the School of Communications and Multimedia, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia and director of the Centre for Asian Communication, Media and Cultural Studies. His research interests include Chinese TV policy, satellite broadcasting in Asia, and Indian cinema. He has taught in China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam and is currently completing a book (with Hart Cohen) on the significance of satellite broadcasting in Asia.
Amos Owen Thomas is senior lecturer at Griffith University. His research specialization is transnational television broadcasting via satellite in Asia-Pacific, and he has published on Indonesia, India, Papua New Guinea and Greater China. For over a decade Thomas has taught at other universities in Australia, Asia and the South Pacific, and for a half a decade previously worked for multinational advertising agencies in East Asia.
Tony Wilson was visiting associate professor in the Communication Studies Department at the Science University of Penang, Malaysia in 1997-98. He has held various academic posts in Australia and the UK, and is the author of Watching Television (Cambridge, UK and US, Polity Press, 1993, 1995). His current research is globalization with respect to television and the internet.