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JAMCO Online International Symposium

17th JAMCO Online International Symposium

February 1 to February 29, 2008

Trans-border TV Broadcastings of Non-English-speaking Countries

Closing Remarks

Suichiro Ogino
Director-General, Department of Exchange and Promotion Japan Media Communication Center

Mothers have long been regarded as the primary and the best teachers of language at home. Today, like it or not, TV is taking their place. In Japan, you can watch TV twenty-four hours a day. The number of TV stations available today is ten times more than that of ten years ago thanks to the new technology of cable and satellite transmissions. The new technology has brought about a tremendous flow of information, if not tremendous quality.

New technology has also made possible trans-border broadcasts of television. It has become a very attractive trend to nations wanting to exert their influence on the making of global public opinions. For a long period of time, trans-border broadcasts were dominated by the Anglo-American broadcasters. They have taken advantage of the English language dominance in the current world and televise programmes around the world not much different than those they air at home.

To break the status quo of their dominance, some of the non-English speaking countries have recently launched trans-border TV broadcasts of their own. These broadcasters are trying to bring in diversity and pluralism in the global flow of information. Needless to say, they must pay a higher price than their Anglo-American competitors in making their programmes in English language. Some of them use other foreign languages such as Arabic and Spanish as well.

Apart from the linguistic costs, it is no easy task for the producers and directors to make programmes for their invisible viewers in other parts of the world. You must know what your viewers want when you develop your plan of a programme. You must know how you should talk to them if you want to send a message. You must know how they received your programme in order to improve it for the next programme you make.

In recent years, JAMCO has been focusing on the international relations among China, Korea, and Japan in its annual international forums. This time, we decided to look at the three East Asian countries on the screens of their trans-border TV broadcasts. Although the three nations traditionally share Chinese characters, their linguistic features differ as remarkably as the ways they relate themselves to the rest of the world.

Seeing is believing. Please take this opportunity to visit the websites of NHK World (www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld), Arirang TV (www.arirangtv.com), and CCTV International (www.cctv.com/english) to see what their presentations are all about. It would be even more beneficial if you can also visit the websites of broadcasters from other parts of the world such as France 24 (www.france24.com), Deutsche Welle TV of Germany (www.dw-world.de), and Press TV of Iran (www.presstv.ir).

Often there is more than one story to any story that you may take for granted. This is the moral I learned of Rasho-mon, the world-renown classic film of Akira Kurosawa. I hope that this forum has helped you better understand what is going on around the world. Maybe you will no longer see it the same old way.

In closing, I should like to express my sincere thanks to the presenters and discussants who kindly agreed to participate in this forum, sharing with us a wealth of insight and commentary, as well as to the people who read the proceedings and shared with us their views. We are also grateful to the organisations that have provided generous patronage for this forum.

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Suichiro Ogino

Director-General, Department of Exchange and Promotion Japan Media Communication Center

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