Essay on GateKeping Theory

Introduction

The concept of Gatekeeping is relevant to many fields but as we are referring to mass-communication here, when it comes to mass-communication the theory of gate keeping is found in many types of mass media including TV shows, News channels, magazines or any kind of news media. Gatekeeping occurs in all of them which though not telecasted but it is existent and also, it is a practical concept where information is channeled and filtered before it reached the outside medium. Without it, actually there would be a lot of problems and chaos in news media. (Stuart, 2012)

Gatekeeping Theory

The concept of Gatekeeping was first coined by Kurt Lewin in 1952 while he was trying to discuss social dynamics and passing of food in a house-hold network and later he could explain clearly about Gatekeeping he could explain it more clearly in Field Theory in Social Science which sums up all his works till date. Gate-keeping can be explained in easy words by taking example of a gate which regulates human traffic, deciding who can go further and who cannot channeling the traffic somehow. From this example, we can conclude that gate keeping is a broad concept but used widely in a daily basis also in terms of news media where each and every piece of news is scanned and checked for deciding if it is eligible to broadcast or print. It gets rejected or accepted after looking at it from different sides like if there is some news about some religious event or mishap which is sensitive to some users or can be chaotic to a certain level. This is currently being seen everywhere in the world right now with news media funneling the news before actually transmitting anything. If the example of a news media is taken into account, the gatekeeper in that scenario would be the Chief Editor of the news company. (Shoemaker, 1984)
To help understand the concept more clearly, let’s take the concept of the movie “Good night and good luck” (2005) where they have taken the background of the channel CBS and an issue regarding the sensitive topic of communism at that time and the head of the show picks the story of an obscure US Air Force crash which wasn’t reported to the public initially and by taking this piece of news and reporting it, they come in trouble with the government and the people who don’t want other people to know about it. After the whole issue gets in the air and trouble strikes on the responsible people in CBS, they stand strong and face it and somehow go through it. So long story short, this movie correctly depicts the process of gate-keeping in a major news channel (I.e., CBS) and also how it is important and can go wrong sometimes and also that it is a process only to be done by a responsible person. The concept of Gatekeeping observed in this movie should be taken into account regarding how to analyze the exact process of channeling the info before using it as you can see the protagonist of the movie in that post rejecting news pieces to be taken into account for further investigation. (National Film Registry Titles, n.d.)
As in the example the discreet process of Gatekeeping can be found very clearly that any kind of data comes under processing it goes through funneling and then whatever remains after funneling can be used or not for the actual news reporting. This process is very choosy, the piece of data is looked onto from many angles, and then it is decided whether it should be used or not. Similarly, in the theory of gate keeping there is a regulator in the process which controls the channeling and also decides which stream of data should go on further and which one shouldn’t. It correctly symbolizes the correct usage and implication of the theory and also wraps an interesting story around it though keeping the environment as serious as possible as they were trying to depict a new media company’s internal cast and processes. The story might be fictional, but the channeling and funneling depicted in the movie are really similar to their actual counterpart.

Conclusion

After detailed discussion of the theory, subject matter, and its related example it is apparently understood about the theory of Gatekeeping in relation to Mass Communication as introduced by Kurt Lewin. The theory matter is easily understandable as it has relevant implications in the present world and media scenario that sensitive news pieces are not telecasted sometimes due to their sensitive nature and also the aftermath of the telecast has to be considered when the general public comes to know about that piece of information, what would happen to everybody. Thus Gatekeeping is an integral part of Mass Media relevant to current scenario.

Bibliography
National Film Registry Titles. (n.d.). Retrieved may 21, 2014, from National Film Preservation Board: http://www.loc.gov/film/registry_titles.php
Shoemaker, P. J. (1984). Media treatment of deviant political groups. Journalism Quarterly .
Stuart, S. (2012). The Gatekeeping Function: Distributions of Information in Media and the Real World. The Journal of Politics .

Report on Global Media trends in China

GLOBAL MEDIA TRENDS – CHINA
[Document subtitle]


Overview

The People’s Republic of China is a country with the world’s largest population and is a commonly referred to as China. China has a very rich history which is around 4000 years old with a diverse and unique culture.
A majority of the land of China is mountainous in nature with many mountain ranges. China’s major mountain ranges are the trans-Himalaya range, the Tien-Shan range and the Kunlun chain. China has 3 primary river systems flowing through it which consist of the yellow river, the Pearl River and the river Yangtze.

The current population of china is 1.36 billion with 71% of people within the working age range. The three major religions followed by the people of China are Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. (Central Intelligence Agency, 2014)
China is the world’s largest explorer and follows a modern market system. It comes second in the world regarding service values but persists to have a per capita income which is below average. It is the world’s largest communist state.
Media Systems in China

Media Theories

China as a communist country with a government which has a tight control of every possible aspect of the media, has a governing influence of the Chinese Communist party over it. This influence is observed in the control system levied on the media to be only used for public education, mass mobilization and spreading propaganda. The current scenario of the Chinese media is based on the theory put forward by Mao Zedong, this theory is renowned as the mass line governing theory. This theory is extremely critical in function due to its political connection. The difference in the functioning of the government is that the leaders of the party which aren’t elected by the people but the government. Due to this, they do not serve the people technically but the party. (Lee, 1994)
In such a political environment media remains to be merely a tool for educating and deploying the people towards socialist progress. As a result of such a system, the internal workings of the government are not accessible to the masses. This makes the media not an accessory to people but a means to transmit information to people and also in gathering information. China can also be said to possess the Soviet Totalitarian media system as they completely serve the government like its 3 other counterparts North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam. There have been accounts where the Chinese government has tried blocking foreign content to hide scrutiny of internal issues by external media.
Barriers and Influences to Media Growth

The authoritarian system of the media is a tremendous barrier to the media processes in China. An authoritarian system means that the government has control of the flow of information and this has led to no news about the inner workings of the government. Freedom of the press is either non-existent or very minute. On an international level, China is considered to be a country with medium level of barriers to internet adoption but it has the world’s largest online population. (Lee, 1990)
The level of barrier is decreasing gradually which depicts that barriers can be overcome to achieve development. There is development in China due to higher level of internet penetration bringing global trends and information to the country while at the same China efficiently regulates the internet content again causing a barrier to the development of media. It is mainly the media system that hampers the growth of media as despite various attempts to upgrade the media to display content not promoted by the government, an exact system hasn’t been formed and the situation remains to be the same it was in 1949 in many ways.
Emerging Trends in the Media

There is a wave of diversification and specialization witnessed in the Chinese media and the variety of content that is offered by it. The emerging trends follow the political movements that arise in the country at times. There is an increase in the broadcasting and viewership of fictional and reality TV series in china. Once it used to be controlled with rigidity and now spontaneity can be witnessed. The limits on the explicit nature of content is decreasing which can be termed as a new era of media sensor-ship. There has been a rise in the variety in the content of radio broadcasting channels also. Specialized shows and subdivisions for specific nature of content are witnessed now as well broadcasting from mobile stations. (Li, 1991)
Due to heavy influence and control of political elements in the media, it can also be predicted that the emerging trends will have a sizable impact on political reforms. Also as a profit-making effort governmental departments have started publishing limited content of trial cases and certain legal policies. (Hudson, 2014)
Country Details

Media Systems

Communist Party of China has influenced Chinese Media since 1921 by following the Soviet Totalitarian media theory. As a result of the economic reform in 1978, there have been drastic positive changes in media. But due to a controlled media system, western nations do not possess a clear idea about Chinese politics more than that it is a communist country. Control of mass media has been in China since the Qing Dynasty where authors used to get imprisoned for writing anything offensive under the impression of the imperial court. The Chinese government and CPC have been using Chinese media as a tool for controlling public opinion. (Zhao, 1998) The media system is heavily ideology driven in nature and that’s the reason why there is little information on the inner workings of the Chinese government. Recent reports show that Chinese media has stepped into the reform era and positive changes can be expected. (Lee, Voice of China: The Interplay of Politics and Journalism, 1990)
Media Overview

In the era of reforms, specialization and diversification in the Chinese media, every medium has seen progress and change. In the press media, China was running more than 27,000 magazines and newspapers by the year 1997. Due to diversification, many types of newspapers can be found like People’s daily, several provincial party newspapers and Jiguan Bao (organ papers). By March 2000, China has reached a newspaper circulation with 2,160 newspapers circulating among a population of 26 billion people. (China Economic Review, 2012)
Among the field of audiovisual media, the country’s most far-reaching and significant station CCTV started airing in 1958. The medium of TV didn’t witness a significant amount of penetration due to the political atmosphere. International news started broadcasting in 1980 and presently, CCTV has 12 channels. The Central people’s broadcasting station initiated 34 stations across China. Focusing on the internet, China has the world’s largest internet using population in the world. The rate of penetration of internet has increased in the last two decades. (Li Z. , 2010)
China has also shown an explosive rise in e-commerce and the largest e-commerce giant is Alibaba.com in China. Social media has a very different facet in China. While the number of people using the internet are at large and increasing, the sites which are used around the world are banned in china (regarding social media) and their counter-parts are prevalent in China. The Chinese versions of Youtube are Tudou and Youku and the counterpart of twitter is Sina Weibo. Facebook has many counterparts in China like Douban and QZone. (Crampton, 2011)
Emerging Trends

In the world of traditional media in China, the newspaper agency People’s Daily has seen a huge decline while the new Xinhua news agency is witnessing an advent in China with an increasing circulation. The television media has seen a rise in the last two decades despite direct government supervision. TV industry has become a 10 Billion Dollar Industry. Foreign media content is still limited to a 15% and that also which are sanctioned by the government. Even with the recent Hong Kong issue, China is keeping a hands-off attitude. (Sparks, 2010)
Conclusion

The media outlook in China is consistently inward looking and controlled despite its growth but soon due to a globalized environment, China will also witness a higher influence of other nations. Due to the high number of internet users and a growing presence in social media, China is likely to grow at par with other nations and will see newer trends. This outlook may also create an unrest regarding freedom of press and media but positive impact can also be guaranteed. There are always positive effects of gaining a newer insight on issues and elements prevalent outside the country. The rise of media can also make an impact on the imports of the country as the exposure of products available outside China can create a demand in the Chinese market. The advent of media growth will be consistent In nature despite the current controlled environment.
Bibliography
Central Intelligence Agency. (2014). THe World Factbook. Retrieved from www.cia.gov: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html
China Economic Review. (2012, July 11). Number Of Newspapers And Magazines In China Down, Total Circulation Up. Retrieved from www.chinaeconomicreview.com: Http://Www.Chinaeconomicreview.Com/Number-Newspapers-Magazines-China-Down-Total-Circulation
Crampton, T. (2011, 1 1). Social Media in China: The Same, but Different. Retrieved from www.chinabusinessreview.com: http://www.chinabusinessreview.com/social-media-in-china-the-same-but-different/
Hudson, C. (2014). The China Handbook. Rooutledge.
Lee, C.-C. (1990). Voice of China: The Interplay of Politics and Journalism. New York: The Guilford Press.
Lee, C.-C. (1994). China’s Media, Media’s China. Oxford: Westview Press.
Li, X. (1991). The Chinese Television System and Television News. China Quarterly, 340-355.
Li, Z. (2010). The Rise Of China: Media Perception And Implications For International Politics. Journal Of Contemporary China, 233-254.
Sparks, C. (2010). China’s Media in Comparative Perspective. International Journal Of Communication, 4.
Zhao, Y. (1998). Media, Market and Democracy in China. Urbana: Universty of Illinois Press.

Report on Managing Communication, Knowledge and Information

Managing Communication, Knowledge and Information

Kurt Thomas Pereira

HND – BBA
6/15/2014

ASSIGNMENT
UNIT Unit 16 – Managing Communication Knowledge and Information
LECTURER Mr Amish Mathew VERIFIER Mr. M Azam
HAND OUT DATE 20.10.11 SUBMISSION DATE
STUDENT Kurt Thomas Pereira TERM Sept’ 11
LEARNER NAME Kurt Thomas Pereira
ASSESSOR NAME Mr. Amish Mathew
QUALIFICATION Higher National Certificate
UNIT NUMBER AND TITLE 16 Managing Communication Knowledge and Information
HAND OUT DATE 15th OCTOBER 2012
HAND IN DATE TASK 1: 25th OCTOBER 2012
TASK 2: 8th NOVEMBER 2012
TASK 3: 19th NOVEMBER 2012
TASK 4: 29th NOVEMBER 2012

ASSINGMENT GUIDELINES

This Assignment is designed to help you achieve a Merit or Distinction.
During your Structured Individual Study (SIS), you are required to answer each question above (Outcomes Assessment Criteria) which has been covered separately in respective Lessons.
In your answer, write about the key concepts highlighted by the Lesson (underpinning knowledge).
You can get an idea of the key concepts by referring to the Lesson’s handout, in the Overview section of the Lesson.
Look for real-life examples to apply your key concepts (applied knowledge).
Make use of the SIS time to research books.
During your SIS time, use the computer to research recommended websites and word process your Assignment.
Follow the guidelines given in your Handbook.
Study the Merit and Distinction Descriptors below to ensure that your work demonstrates compliance in order for it to be considered for their respective Awards.

It is important that the work you produce is carefully planned & written.
Your work should demonstrate (a) your understanding of the theory you have learned (underpinning knowledge) and (b) your ability to apply it to real life/contemporary situations/case study (applied knowledge).

Please follow the instructions below:
Start each answer from a new page
Highlight each question clearly
Avoid bullet points and restrict the use of numberings; remember that you are supposed to write an essay.
All work should be comprehensively referenced and all sources must be acknowledged fully, this includes books & journals used as well websites visited. Details such as page numbers, publishers and publication year should also be stated, in addition to the name of the author(s) and publication. Books, articles and journals should be the main sources; net sources are allowed up to 25% max.
Follow Harvard Referencing system.
Ensure that your work is within the stated word limit.
All work should be word-processed.
Pages should be numbered (bottom right hand corner)
Assignment sheet should be attached in the front.
Spell check the document and read thoroughly for grammatical errors.
1.5-line spacing is preferred but is not essential.
Bibliography at the end of the assignment.

The correct format to answer each question (Task) is as follows:
1. Introduction (analyse the question – which theory is it trying to ask you to demonstrate?)
2. Underpinning Knowledge (write about the relevant theory/points)
3. Applied Knowledge (apply the theory/points you have written about in your underpinning knowledge to your case study/real life example)
4. Conclusion (summarise what you have written in 2 & 3 above).

GRADE DESCRIPTORS

PASS DESCRIPTORS
(FROM Outcomes Assessment Criteria) Learner’s Evidence Shows Tutor to Check COMMENTS/FEEDBACK
1 Assess information and knowledge needs internally and externally to improve decision making and taking
A – Identify the range of decisions to be taken

B – Review information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision taking

C – Assess internal and external sources of information and understanding

D – Make recommendations for improvement

2 Create strategies to increase personal networking to widen involvement in the decision-making process
A – Identify personnel including customers, other stakeholders and other experts

B – Make contact with those identified and develop business relationships

C – Involve those identified in decision making as appropriate

D – suggest strategies for improvement

3 Develop communication processes to improve the gathering and dissemination of information and organizational knowledge
A – Evaluate existing processes of communication in an organization and look to ensure and improve appropriateness

B – Implement and justify improvements to ensure greater integration of systems of communication in that organization

C – On a personal level, identify weaknesses and develop a personal plan to improve communication skills

4 Design and improve appropriate systems for the collection, storage and dissemination of and access to the information and knowledge gathered
A – Evaluate existing approaches to the collection, formatting, storage, disseminating information and
Knowledge

B – Implement and justify appropriate changes to improve the collection, formatting, storage, disseminating information and knowledge

C – Implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge to others as appropriate

MERIT DESCRIPTORS Learner’s Evidence Shows COMMENTS/FEEDBACK

1
Identify and apply strategies to find appropriate solution – Relevant theories and techniques have been applied

– Effective judgments have been made

– Complex problems with more than one variable have been explored

– An effective approach to study and research has been used.

2 Select/ design and apply appropriate methods/techniques – A range of sources of information used

– The selection methods and techniques/sources justified

– The design of methods/techniques justified

– Complex information/data have been synthesized and processed.

– Appropriate learning methods/techniques applied

3 Present and communicate appropriate findings – Appropriate structure and approach has been used

– Logical and coherent arguments have been presented

– Technical language accurately used

– A range of methods of presentation has been used

– Appropriate media used

– Familiar and unfamiliar contexts have been used

– It is appropriate for familiar and unfamiliar audiences

DISTINCTION DESCRIPTORS Learner’s Evidence Shows
 COMMENTS/FEEDBACK
1 Use critical reflection to evaluate own work and justify valid conclusions – Synthesis has been used to generate and justify valid conclusions

– The validity of results has been judged

– Self criticism of approach has taken place

– Evaluation has taken place using defined criteria

– Realistic improvements have been proposed against characteristics for success

2 Take responsibility for managing and organizing activities – Autonomy/independence demonstrated

– Substantial activities/projects have been planned, managed and organized

– The unforeseen have been accommodated

– The importance of interdependence has been recognized

3 Demonstrate convergent, lateral and creative thinking – Ideas generated and decisions taken

– Self evaluation has taken place

– Convergent and lateral thinking have been applied

– Problems have been solved

– Capacity for innovation and creative thought has been used

– Receptiveness to new ideas have been demonstrated

– Unfamiliar contexts have been applied

Any Other Comments

Grade Given by Tutor:

Tutor Signature:…………………Date:……….
Pass 
Merit 
Distinction 

IV Grading Check:

IV Signature:……………… Date:…………..
Agree 
Disagree 
MODIFY GRADE TO

Student’s Response:

Student Signature: Date:

FEEDBACK FORM – ONGOING

Student Name
Student ID
Unit Name
Date of submission
Lecturer

TUTOR FEEDBACK
1st Draft Feedback Date:

Strengths:

Areas of Improvement:

2nd Draft Feedback Date:

Strengths:

Areas of Improvement:

Tutor’s Signature

Table of Contents
Introduction 15
Task 1: What role Information, Communication and knowledge play in gaining competitive advantage for the business? 16
Task 2: What managers are doing to improve decision making by using information and knowledge internally and externally to improve decision making and taking? 26
Task 3: What are the strategies to increase personal networking to widen Employees’ Involvement in the decision-making process? 28
Task 4: Develop a communication process to improve the decision making and organizational knowledge for your chosen organization. 32
Task 5: What role Knowledge Management plays in managing organization strategically? 36
Conclusion 39
Bibliography 41

Executive Summary

The assignment is based on Communication, Information and Knowledge Management by the management of Marks & Spencer. The assignment will cover the following topics: what role does information, knowledge and communication play in gaining competitive advantage, what role internal and external information and knowledge play in decision making and taking by the managers of Marks & Spencer, what strategies does Marks & Spencer use to widen personal networking to improve employees’ involvement in decision making, what role does communication play in improving decision making and organizational knowledge and what role does knowledge management play in managing the organization strategically.
The author has discussed the processes and systems used for communication, decision making, knowledge management and information in Marks & Spencer. The author has suggested how the firm can improve their knowledge, information and communication activities to gain competitive advantage, how to gather internal and external information effectively, improve decision making and taking, how to improve personal networking of employees, how to introduce new communication systems to improve performance and lastly how to improve knowledge management to manage organizational strategically. Thus the author has shown how Marks & Spencer can improve their business processes and maintain their position as a number one in retail industry in UK by making necessary changes in communication channels, information and knowledge management.

Introduction
Marks & Spencer is the largest retailer in the United Kingdom, with more than 21 million people visit their retail outlets each week. Marks & Spencer offers stylish, trendy, high quality and great value clothing and home products, as well as outstanding food products, responsibly sourced from around 2,000 suppliers globally. The company employees over 75,000 people in the U.K. and abroad. Marks & Spencer has over 600 UK stores and an expanding international business.
Marks & Spencer has its head office in the Waterside House in the city of Westminster, London, England. The company is now expanding its business in home wares, furniture and technology. The company is the largest retailer of women wear and lingerie in the UK. The company is also rapidly expanding into menswear and kids wear. The growing online business has been very beneficial for Marks & Spencer. The company has its 49% of business in clothing and home products, the rest 51% is in food products (Marks and Spencer, 2014)

Marks & Spencer

Figure 1 Logo of Marks & Spencer

Task 1: What role Information, Communication and knowledge play in gaining competitive advantage for the business?

Information

Role of Knowledge – Marks & Spencer
The HR department of Marks & Spencer is responsible in developing knowledge of their employees (Marks and Spencer, 2014). The HR department shows different ways to their employees how to process data into information and to absorb the right information as knowledge which will be useful to them in their tasks. The two types of Knowledge sharing methods present in the firm are Tacit to Explicit (experienced person shares his knowledge with the new staffs on how to make decision) and Explicit to Tacit (during actual work different outcomes helps the staffs to internalized the new experience as knowledge).

Figure 2 Types of Knowledge

Proper knowledge will help the employees to develop new skills and make them more efficient in their work. The staffs of Marks & Spencer are knowledgeable to the extent that most of the customers are rarely unsatisfied with their services. People Oriented Culture & Matrix Organizational Structure, i.e. the structure that foster horizontal flow of skills and knowledge, prevails in Marks & Spencer because of which the employees have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders and they report on day to day basis to their managers. They have to be knowledgeable enough to avoid making bad decisions. Training of employees has really helped Marks & Spencer’s labour force in making precise decisions and making their firm number one in retail sector in UK.
Types of Information used in Marks & Spencer for Decision Making

Knowledge Communication
Knowledge communication refers to the transfer of knowledge by means of communication, whether interpersonal or group conversation (Gratton & Goshal, 2002).
Parcon (2006) defines Decision Making as the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. It is process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them.
Types of Decision Making in Marks & Spencer
In a company like Marks and Spencer being a multinational firm and one of the largest retailers in the U.K., managers would have to make various types of decisions that would sustain and facilitate towards the growth of the company.Marks & Spencer has a People Oriented culture (helping people across the board) therefore the employees help the management in decision making, within Marks & Spencer different levels of authority make different types of decision. The decision-making can be categorized into three levels they are strategic, tactical and operational level of organizational activities.

Strategic

Strategic Planning is done by the top-level managers. The managers decide on objectives of the firm, and they plan out how to gather resources to attain these objectives. For example Marks and Spencer have recently unveiled their latest strategy of new clothing strategy and ranges. Their strategy is better quality and style in women’s wear and to make shopping in its stores easier. (The Guardian Business Blog 2013)

Strategic Information: Strategic Information is gathered from internal & external sources; it is summarized at a high level, relevant to long-term & deals with whole organization. For Example: Information about Marks and Spencer’s competitors like new mergers and acquisitions, diversification and retrenchment would be the kind of strategic information that would be relevant in the decision-making process.

Tactical
Tactical Planning is done by the middle level managers. The managers are responsible to ensure that the resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently in the accomplishment of the firm’s objectives.

Tactical Information: The managers use tactical information to ensure that the resources are used effectively and efficiently For Example: Like Strategic the information required would be about Marks and Spencer’s competitors, but it would be about their new clothing lines, their trends and pricing strategies being implemented. This tactical information would be pertinent in the decision-making process.

Operational

Operational Control is done by the lower level manager (‘front line’ manager). They ensure that specific objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. For example, it can involve the regular ordering of supplies, making invoices, or even accepting delivery of goods. It can also include the creation of Staff Rota/Database.

Operational Information: Operational Information is used by lower level mangers to make decisions regarding operational control. For Example: Information that can be gathered, summarized and analysed from customer’s feedback forms, which is how it is being practices at Marks and Spencer, where the survey forms are filled from the customers regarding the overall operations.

Assess Internal and External Sources of Knowledge
Marks & Spencer requires information for a range of business processes. The organization is composed of people, material, machines and money. The management requires information to convert these resources to complete the activities of the firm. The data is gathered through various internal and external sources.

Figure 3 Internal Sources of Knowledge

Internal Sources of Information: Marks & Spencer gather their internal information from various sources. For example:
1. Accounts department: They gather information from accounting ledgers and use it to predict future events, and maintain all details of all financial transactions, etc.
2. Production department: Information regarding raw material, wastage, work in progress, etc. However, the management can source this information from the production department.
3. Marketing department: Information regarding marketing is source through customer’s choice and other internal sources
4. Workers: Information regarding workers is sourced through feedback of the work environment and suggest changes if necessary, even some of the organization have research and development (R&D)department.

Figure 7: External sources of attaining information.

External Sources of Information: Marks & Spencer gather their external information from various sources. For example:
1. Suppliers: Suppliers provide relevant feedback on the quality of raw materials available and information about the shift in the demand curve
2. Government: The Governments provide information about the new rules and regulations that companies need to adhere to. They also provide the necessary guidelines required to implement them.
3. Stock market: The Market share or value of the company can be gathered from the stock market.
4. Annual reports of competitors: Information required to maintain a competitive advantage is gained from competitors Annual Reports and through the news.
The management has to process the gathered data and convert it into relevant information and provide it to the employees. Marks & Spencer has a dedicated Customer Insight Unit (CIU) which manages the information about the current market that they are targeting and helps produce products according that are suitable for the needs of different customers. Their role is to update the company about the latest trends and needs of the customers, according to which the company then updates their products. This, in the author’s opinion establishes a certain level of sophisticated dominance on the market. Marks & Spencer makes sure that the customer gets each and every product he/she needs and launches them before other competitors can. This has led Marks & Spencer to have a competitive advantage over other retailers in U. K. Moreover the marketing strategies have been so well placed that everybody in U.K prefers Marks & Spencer to buy everything, which has led M&S to become a household name in the country. The level of trust and quality, they have maintained over the years has almost made their market impenetrable for other competitive retailer, which acts as another advantage. This has been possible because of the information and knowledge gathered by the CIU and R&D team which has made it possible for Marks & Spencer to deliver service of the highest quality.

Recommendations for improvement
Marks & Spencer trains their managers and employees for better decision making and taking. The author has suggested the following methods on how the mangers at all level can improve their decision-making skills.
The top level managers can improve their decision-making through experience gained over time of work, they can gain information on how to utilize resources without any wastage and take calculated risks after analyzing all the data. The middle level managers have to focus only on two things in order to improve their decision making. The managers need to make proper decision to ensure efficiency (optimize the output) and effectiveness (resources are used to achieve the desired ends). The managers can improve their decision making with implicit knowledge sharing, i.e. the communication of knowledge to each of the cadres of management.
The CIU of M&S is one of the most crucial departments as they take care of eliminating the competitive advantages of other retailers and establishing theor own in the market. The employees in this department have to be properly trained and motivated in order to earn good profits. This unit and the R&D Department in Marks & Spencer should coordinate and form strategies in such a way that the products that are sold by other competitors should still be dominated by M&S. This could be accomplished by understanding the customer’s needs and taking care of it to the maximum extent possible.


Task 2: What managers are doing to improve decision making by using information and knowledge internally and externally to improve decision making and taking?

Strategies of decision making
In a major retail chain like Marks & Spencer, strategic decision making is extremely vital to understand and implement the viable steps in order to achieve the highest profits possible. In that manner, M&S has been implementing the best possible ways in various departments to guarantee success. M&S makes sure that the products that are launched are apt to the customer’s need and requirement through a CIU team which analyzes their target market and reports to the strategic department to make appropriate changes and decisions. Additionally, M&S has automated its supply chain processes and manages everything with the help of IT, which has eliminated the scenario of errors and has improved the quality of the outcome of the SCM department. This automation has also provided ways to generate reports and invoices in such a way that the managers can detect any discrepancy and eliminate it as soon as possible. One of the other major decisions that are undertaken in M&S are the pricing strategies. These prices vary, dependant on whether the market is local or global.Usually, the prices are extremely flexible considering all the factors that are taken into account while pricing. Being a multinational chain, Marks & Spencer covers a large target market, which is why all the promotional techniques carried out by them are mostly through social media like newspapers, television, internet and social networking websites. This way they cover almost all the outlet locations in their strategies. Apart from this, Marks & Spencer facilitates its employees with access totheor site so that they can take an active part in the decision making process. The employees are motivated in such a way by the management that they feel like they are personally involved with the company and think about the welfare of the company on a personal level. This has not only aided the management to get fresh opinions and information from various employees, but also to establish a social bond with them.

Available Aids for Efficient Decision Making
Since People Oriented Culture prevails in Marks & Spencer, the management motivates their staff to develop new skills to improve their decision-making skills. Their networking can also help them to influence individual decision makers, which will be beneficial for them and for the firm. Therefore Marks & Spencer’s HR department conduct training sections, which help the staffs, increase their Personal Networking and widen their involvement in decision-making. In addition to this, Marks & Spencer has applied SAP in their company which automates and manages information of almost all the departments and plans the resources efficiently. Social events and gatherings morivate the employees to participate in the decision making processes. Marks & Spencer has established itself as such a famous company and has built such a reputation that they have good connections and image with the media industry which works in their favor many times.Apart from this, Markes & Spencer prides itself at having one of the most efficient CIU and R&D department in the retail industry.

Strategies for improvement
The management needs to motivates the employees to increase their personal networking skills as this will help them to build alliances which will strengthen their work, stay in touch with developments in their area of work, get access to information which will help them in work & influence individual decision makers. The management needs to train the employees who are appointed in the CIU extensively in order to make them more capable of handling the decision making responsibilities. The management must train their staffs and introduce new systems & techniques to improve personal networking, such as the enterprise social networking hub, like Yammer, that keeps employees updated regarding the routine happenings as well as equips them to share their specific job related problems.

Task 3: What are the strategies to increase personal networking to widen Employees’ Involvement in the decision-making process?

Strategies to increase personal networking
The HR department teaches the employees on how to make use of their personal networking and benefit in their area of responsibility. The HR department trains everyone how to use different communication methods to receive the required knowledge.
The management has conducted many training sessions for their employees to improve their personal networking, such as effective interpersonal communication, emerging leadership program, and social networking skills. The people who are important for the employees to increase their personal networking are Professional Contacts (can help them to improve their decision making skills with proper advice), Information technology (can provide them with new updates in technology used in their area of work) and Customer (helps people in marketing department to know the need of their customers).
One more strategy used by Marks & Spencer is by creating many small groups of staffs known as quality circles that meet at regular intervals to discuss the work they do, this is similar to the concept community of practice, where employees belonging with similar fraternity meet and share their experience as well as tips and tricks to cater the routine operational problems. These meetings of quality circles suggest recommendations to the management on changes in their strategies or they have the authority to implement changes in specific tasks. Thus quality circles help employees of Marks & Spencer to increase their personal networking and improve their decision-making as well as problem solving skills. Therefore Increasing the Personal Networking has helped to widen the employees’ involvement in decision-making.

Stakeholder’s involvement in decision making
Following are the stakeholders, who are involved in decision making process:
The main stakeholders of Marks and Spencer are:

Figure 8: Logo of Marks & Spencer

Owners: The owners are the people at the top of the business; they are in control of all of M&S, they have an overall say in what happens with decisions regarding the business. They will also get any profits that the business makes so if the business makes more money then so will the owners. Considering the case of Marks and Spencer, the owners are involved in decision making process, for instance, any of the strategic level decision is taken with the due consideration and approval of the owners, these decision are pertaining to strategies of organization, business expansion, supplier selection etc.
Employees: This group of stakeholders, at Marks and Spencer, is also significantly involved in the decision making process, which is of routine nature, and is related to day to day business operations. In fact, the upper tier of management have due impact on the strategic decisions, yet are limited. Moreover, those of the lower level staff, does not have any role in strategic level, and thus manages the routine business operations. Marks & Spencer offer really good perks to their employees in the form of providing a good communicative environment, offering a learning curve to their job roles and by providing BIG (Business Involvement Groups) Groups to establish strong relationships with their employees. (Marks & Spencer, 2010)
Many businesses try to influence employees by offering:
* Training opportunities
* Promotion opportunities
* Profit sharing schemes and bonuses
* ‘Perks’ like discounts
* Social activities like trips
Customers: These stakeholders are vital to a business’s success because if they have no customers then they will have no money coming in and therefore the business would fail. The customers would by the products that the business make but if the products are cheaper elsewhere or better elsewhere then the customer may leave because another business does the job better. Businesses have to conduct market research to see whether the customers that they are aiming for will buy their products or the products won’t sell. Marks & Spencer have CIU (Customer Insight Unit) to conduct researches on the target audiences in order to provide customers with optimum quality and range of products.
Suppliers: They sell the business raw materials, components or services. All businesses need suppliers so that they can produce their products, without supplies the business can’t make any money leaving the business in free-fall. In case of Marks & Spencer, they have ties with over 3000 brand suppliers all over the world. This requires a lot of networking and proper communication channels, which lead to Marks and Spencer making the supply chain department automated with the help of SAP.
Government: The government affect the overall profit because they collect taxes from every business after all the costs have been taken away from the businesses income. Moreover, any kind of profit or loss that the company incurs, would affect the government in the form of economy, especially in the case of a big retailing chain like Marks & Spencer.

Task 4: Develop a communication process to improve the decision making and organizational knowledge for your chosen organization.

Role of Communication – Marks & Spencer
Liebler & McConnell (2004) defined communication as the exchange of ideas, thoughts, or emotions between or among two or more people. It may be literally described as the transfer of meaning, or in a somewhat broader sense, the development of mutual understanding. Communication has a verbal and nonverbal component, with both conscious and unconscious aspects in each.
Communication plays a vital role in Marks & Spencer to achieve all the tasks on time. The management, employees, managers and different departments all communicate with each other with different sources of communication.
Marks & Spencer’s management team is able to establish a good communication channel, which is vital for the efficient running of business. Marks & Spencer also has Matrix Organization Structure (the structure that foster horizontal flow of skills and knowledge) therefore the chain of communication has also shortened since the firm has lost many layers of authority due to delay. The different channels of communication in Marks & Spencer are vertical (when the manager communicates with his subordinate staff, which works in vertical hierarchical manner) and horizontal (when the departments communicate with each other, i.e. the span of control).

Figure 10: Types of Communication
The above process of communication happens at the organization level, for different reasons, such as that of events, occasions, decisions for a particular project etc. For instance, vertical communication happens between the managers and the employees who are working under him/her, which is hierarchical in nature. Additionally, for more complex tasks such as the events or other strategic decisions, the inter-departmental communication takes place, where one department contact with another, in a horizontal manner, which is often referred as span of control.

Figure 11: Communication in Marks & Spencer (fieldwork)
Communication is a complex, ongoing process that brings us into contact with the people in our world. Often communication is viewed as a straightforward exchange of messages between speaker and a listener, but this is a naïve view. As indicated in this chapter, communication is a symbolic process of sharing meaning.
(http://www.roxbury.net/images/pdfs/mc4ch1sample.pdf)
Marks & Spencer has a good communication channel in its firm. The information in Marks & Spencer can be communicated in many mediums. Marks & Spencer also has internal and external communication. Internal communication takes place within the organization and external communication is when the firm communicates with people outside the firm. Marks & Spencer uses 3 main ways for internal communication they are verbal, written and electronic. The verbal communication is a face-to-face interaction, telephone and through voice mail.
Written communication is through paper documents, memos, formal letter and annual reports. Electronic communication is through e-mails via website and e-commerce. Marks & Spencer’s employees use many methods for external communication. They need to maintain the public image of the company therefore they choose the most appropriate method to communicate with the customer, shareholders, government, society, etc. The firm uses methods like telephone, business letters, interviews, electronic mails and web sites.
Good Communication helps the firm in following ways to gain competitive advantage it allows decisions by managers to be carried out by the employees, ensures that the action is constant, reduces cost because fewer mistakes are made, information from staffs help the management in decision making, it can also alert the managers of potential problems, Marks & Spencer’s People Oriented Culture grows with good communication, the management can quickly solve employee grievance problems and the management can improve the effectiveness of downward communication by proper feedbacks from staffs.

Personal plan to improve communication skills
The author hyas devised a personal plan to improve the communication skills. The author will improve the communication process by streamlining each of the business functional department under a single umbrella, from where the decision making as well as the communication will pass through. For instance, the internal as well as the external communication process works in alignment with each other, even will contribute towards each other’s processes. For instance, regarding the management of interviews, the internal communication will be done to know each of the concerned staff member to know who are going to be interviewed, while the external communication mechanism will link the candidate with the internal organizational staff. Additionally, the external communication messages, will ultimately becomes the part of internal communication database ,where the letters as well as the business documents can be retrieved at any future date for concerned correspondence.

Task 5: What role Knowledge Management plays in managing organization strategically?

Frappaolo (2006) defined knowledge management as the fast-track route to leveraging intellectual capital in your organization. It is a process that identifies knowledge in an organization to promoting and facilitating knowledge sharing and innovation.

Knowledge Management – Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer needs to train their staff to develop their knowledge and to cater to the customer’s needs and requirements. Since People Oriented Culture is present in the firm the management seeks advice from the staffs before they make their decisions. The most common approaches used by the HR Department are document management, information management, business intelligence, information systems management, innovation, competence management, intellectual asset management and business process design. Knowledge Management at Marks & Spencer has two distinct features. The two features of Knowledge Management are to facilitate the creation of knowledge and to manage the way people share and apply it (designing & installing techniques and processes to create, protect and use explicit knowledge).

Information Systems in Marks & Spencer that aid Knowledge Management
Marks & Spencer has many systems that aid Knowledge Management. The information systems present in Marks & Spencer are Office Automation Systems & Knowledge Work Systems. OAS are information systems used in Marks & Spencer to create, modify, store, display and communicate the correspondence of business, where the data of loyal as well as transactional customers is retained for future business opportunities. The knowledge workers within the organization perform many essential tasks on OAS which are keeping the firm up-to-date with new knowledge as it develops outside the company, in areas such as technology, science and the humanities, providing advice inside the firm on how to use the new knowledge and acting as charge agents by recommending and implementing changes with the organization. In fact, the system makes each of the employee to contribute into the system the vital information, for instance, it could be related towards process improvement, and in that case the employee fills the process improvement suggestions form, within the OAS, and if feasible will be adopted at the system level, and the employee who have contributed that information is recognized.
KWS are information systems within Marks & Spencer that facilitate the creation and integration of new knowledge into the firm. KWS provides the staffs with tools to gather information. The tools are analytical tools, powerful graphics facilities, communication tools, access to external database and a user-friendly interface. Moreover, the consistent update of customers as well as market data, keeps employees abreast with the competitive advantage that Marks and Spencer has culminated over the time.

Figure 12: Types of Knowledge Management Systems

These systems take care of all the information that is fed into the system of the company and the information that goes out of the organizations after processing. This causes the strategic decision making to improve considerably, as the information received is factual and devoid of errors. Once the data that is received or processes is managed by these systems, the management could focus on other strategic improvements that are to be brought in the form of product lines, pricing, promoting products and other such responsibilities.

Suggestions for Changes
Although the office automation system (OAS) and knowledge management system (KMS) covers the broad spectrum of knowledge and information management at Marks and Spencer, yet, there are certain areas of improvement that the organization must focus on. First and foremost is to create willingness and empowerment among the employees to contributed in the OAS or KMS systems. In fact, the systems does facilitate the sharing of knowledge, yet the motivation among the employees regarding this improvement is lagging behind, which can be considered from the fact, that only one or two improvements happen in a year. In that regard, the management must motivate employees either through moral support or through monetary compensation to contributed into the knowledge management system.
Secondly, process knowledge management systems as well as information communication system must be segregated at the departmental level, where each of the organizational domain can participate in their respective areas, for instance, there must be separate KMS and OAS for marketing, finance, sales, operations etc. this makes the organization more comprehensive and specific towards taking care of the employees working in different departments as well as the respective areas of improvement.

Conclusion
Marks & Spencer has proper processes to achieve success in communication, decision making, and developing personal networking plans for employees, information and knowledge management. The author has discussed how communication, information and knowledge are used in the firm to gain competitive advantage. The author has shown how information and knowledge is used by the managers to improve their decision-making and decision taking. The author then moves on to personal networking of employees and how it widens the employees’ involvement indecision making. The author then discussed the importance of communication channels in the firm. Lastly, the author discusses the role of knowledge management in managing the organization strategically.
In this Assignment the author has also suggested few changes for the firm on how to improve their decision-making, information and knowledge management, employees’ personal networking and communication channels. Thus the author has concluded that Marks & Spencer has good communication channels, information and knowledge management, decision-making and personal networking of employees.


Bibliography
Books
Avgerou, C, 2003. Information Systems and Global Diversity. Oxford University.
Boddy, D, Boonstra, A, Kennedy, G, 2002. Managing Information Systems: An Organizational Perspective. FT Prentice Hall.
BPP Learning Media, 2009.Business Essentials: Management, 1st Edition. Uxbridge Road, London; BPP Learning Media
Frappaolo, C, 2006. Knowledge Management, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons.
Koviac, B, 1994. New Approach to Organizational Communication. State University of New York Press.
Libeler, J, McConnell, C, 2004. Management Principles for Health Professionals, 4th Edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Little, S, Quintas, P, Ray, T, 2002. Managing Knowledge: An Essential Reader. Sage Publications.
McKenzie, J, Winkelen, C, 2004. Understanding the Knowledgeable Organization. Thomson Learning.
Parcon, P, 2006. Develop Your Decision Making Skills. Lotus Press.
Porter, M.E. 2008, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, First Free Press Edition, Simon and Schuster Inc, New York.
Preston, P, 2001. Reshaping Communications. Sage Publications.
Quirke, B, 1996. Communicating Corporate Change. McGraw-Hill.
Stewart, A, 1998. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations. Nicholas Brealey Publishing Limited.

Research Journal
Courtney, J. F. (2001). Decision making and knowledge management in inquiring organizations: toward a new decision-making paradigm for DSS.Decision Support Systems, 31(1), 17-38.

Websites
Fletcher, Nick 2013, “Market Forces Live Blog” [online], The Guardian-Business, 15th May, Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/marketforceslive/2013/may/15/marks-spencer-analysts-positive-ftse-higher [Accessed: 22.6.2013].
Marks and Spencer (2014), Retrieved from http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/mscareers/opportunities/ssa_hr

Interview Report on Media Ethics


Q. The differences between the ethics of new (digital media) & the traditional media.

Ans.
There is a wide scope of difference between old media ethics and new media ethics. Every media entity concerned with old media forms has a code of conduct which it adheres to with discipline. The information on old media is reliable, the content is rich in language and direct. Old media ethics had an inclusion of ethics the specified fact-checking as a very critical activity before publishing any kind of news. The other important thing was that each piece of news was given an equal consideration on the basis of its impact and gravitas. Contrary to that, in new media, political and economic news has taken a back seat while celebrity news and material which has been newly termed as “scoops” is in trend. This kind of material doesn’t require fact checking and gets circulated through a lot of site in a plagiarized form which is not appropriate and goes against the ethos of the traditional media (Ward, 2009).
In the digital age, there is a scenario of democracy considering the ethics aspect because there is no particular form of regulation in publishing content online. The popular sites which include the Huffington post, Buzzfeed, etc. do not need to follow specific guidelines regarding their content and this reflects in their content which can lack the element of fact checking. The only regulation witnessed is regarding certain insensitive reporting of an incident or the bad coverage of a sensitive issue which gets hate from people or the content gets removed by government orders. These problems create internet hoaxes which are false piece of new that gets rapidly spread throughout media and later it is revealed that it was false sometimes leading to massive negative effects. This has brought the issue of ethics regarding new media into light (Ball, 2012).
When any individual can post news after watching a news telecast or listening to an opinion of an acquaintance, the line regarding who a journalist actually is, becomes blurred. As new media has advantages like rapid speed of reach and integration of multimedia elements in news, it is supposed to be the ideal new face of news media but without the required seriousness and ethical operation, new media forms cannot be deemed reliable. This signifies the radical need for improvement in media ethics.
Q. Give your opinion about the characteristics of the global & local media ethics
Ans.
The ethical aspect of journalism and old media platforms in concerned with questions being asked about news events like the consistency of an action with the ultimate purpose of journalism and the view of good citizens in the society. There is a high amount of concern in traditional media forms regarding the violation of principles of journalism and the role of a journalist in public perspective. Being truthful and avoiding harm to public through the news is a big ethical factor. These ethics are followed with discipline because journalists keep their ethical duties towards journalism in a responsible manner as they have studied journalism. There is a clear social contract between journalists and the media which they interact with. Due to this fealty to society, journalists in many countries are given more power over other citizens as they serve society.
Traditional Media has a set of ethos which mainly includes certain functions like keeping the public informed about critical events so that the people can develop their own views about the event, acting as a protector of public power and rigorously observe abuses of power and report them in media, and providing a platform for public expression through article writing and letters to the editor. Seeking the truth is one of the principle ethics of traditional media which has helped make a robust reputation of traditional media forms regarding the truth of a new report. They have strict accuracy standards and they tend to venture anywhere on earth for search of truth due to a strong code of ethics.
New media initially had no ethics. New either flowed through forums which were not a popular source at the time and also through websites of news channels which maintained the same ethics they followed on their channel in the content at their website. The emerging websites and blog which feature articles of news do not follow a specific code of conduct and it is upon the reporting individual himself to see whether any kind of ethics are followed and truth is being reported. This leaves open a lot of loose ends and the reporting of news which are critical become diminished in comparison to other meaningless celebrity news. Although, there is an emergence of new media ethics which is in the form of a general request to people posting new related content on their website.
Q. Explain the role of the theories that helped in emerging media ethics
Ans.
Several theories regarding how human beings perceives people from other cultures, how people interact with each other and how events impact the society at large have made an impact on the concept of emerging media ethics. The emerging media consists of internet communication and blogging in which people from two different countries on the far side of the globe communicate as if they are sitting in front of each other is included in the postmodern theory of identity which further made an impact on internet journalism and how people are perceived on the internet (Drushel & German, 2011).
The web theory by Robert Burnett describes how mass media interactions with the help of digital media are a flood of information causing an overload in which people are being bombarded with information and there is possibility of confusion regarding the truth of information and classifying between genuine sources and fake ones (Burnett & Marshall, 2003).
The theory of Parasocial Interaction describes how media interaction in emerging media forms like reality shows form deep connections with people through the characters that featured in them despite being miles away creating a bond of parasocial nature between both people. This has a deep connection with mass communication through new media forms like YouTube which has channels featuring YouTubers which tend to form a good bond with their viewer through their shows, which is an example of a parasocial bond between the viewer and the performer (Bell, 2011).
Q. How is the right to communication a universal value?
Ans.
The right to communicate with other human beings and the act of communication with other human beings has been deemed as an element that makes us human. A precondition as well as a fundamental right, communication has also been highlighted as a vital element of human dignity. As human beings as a species have survived and evolved beyond the capabilities of other species, only because we stayed together in groups, hunted and settled in groups throughout the world. It shows that we have managed to come this far by communicating with each other and staying united depicting how communication is our strength which can help us evolve further and stay united as a global community making us a part of the species as a whole. Communication can help us break barriers, develop further and become one which is why communication as an activity deserves to be a universal value which every human being should have a right to (Traber, 1992).
Without a right to communication human beings cannot prosper and living in the dark without an insight about what is actually going on in the world can lead to our doom and death of the idea about a universal society. Communication gave birth to language, expression, culture, which led to the widespread transmission of knowledge that led us to understand the world around us and beyond. If right to communication in a journalism scenario is not provided, then people will not have any idea about the perils and injustice around them. A recent example would be the riots of Hong-Kong regarding their unification with China. Due to the communication restrictions and tight control, citizens of China had no idea regarding a major issue going on around them.
These situations are major violations of human rights that can never lead to a positive scenario and the acts of violations are witnessed as shackles over the human conscience and out collective spirit as human beings. Right to communication is as essential as our right to water and air and it also covers the same ontological ground making it a universal right of all human beings on earth regardless of the country, religion or any other demographic divisions (Lee, 2011).
Bibliography
Ball, J. (2012, 11 29). Leveson’s distinction between web and print news ‘will undermine regulation’. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/nov/29/leveson-web-print-undermine-regulation
Bell, C. (2011). Idol Concerns: The Ethics of Parasociality. In B. E. DRUSHEL, & K. GERMAN, The Ethics of Emerging Media (p. 51=76). New York: Continuum.
Burnett, R., & Marshall, P. D. (2003). Web Theory. New York: Routledge.
Drushel, B. E., & German, K. (2011). The Ethics of Emerging Media. New York: Continuum.
Lee, P. (2011). Fragments of Truth: The Right to Communication as a Universal Value. In R. S. Fortner, & P. M. Fackler, The Handbook of Global Communication and Media Ethics (pp. 133-153). West Sussex: Blackwell.
Traber, M. (1992). Communication as a human need and human right. In Communicating Peace: Entertaining Angels Unawares, 243–257.
Ward, S. J. (2009). Digital Media Ethics. Retrieved from ethics.journalism.wisc.edu: https://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/resources/digital-media-ethics/

Essay on Media in Middle East

MEDIA IN THE MIDDLE EAST


Media in the Middle East
The recent uprising of globalization has given a big push to connectivity in the Arab World and displayed the prowess of media and its various aspects in the Middle East. The laws regarding media have been circumvented through the advent of social media entities like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. A profound lack of freedom in the aspect of media has been observed in the Middle East. There is an increasing need observed to free the bounds of media laws so that media surveillance can prevail along with the persistent state of surveillance that it brings. The four critical countries in consideration:
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain & Kuwait are observed in order to gain a clear Idea of the current scenario of Media Elements and its related laws in these countries. To clearly know about the condition of each element in the respective country, the specific elements should be known.
Media Censorship
The amount of control a country exercises over media content of various mediums is known as censorship.
Digitization of Media
Digitization of Media refers to the transition of media transmission methods from print media to digital forms like the internet and smartphones. This transition breaks the shackles of control on the media exercised by the government as digitized media sources are international.
Media Ownership
The entity that controls the flow of media and owns the right to censor it, retains the power of media ownership.
Transnational Satellite Broadcasting
Certain channels broadcast their signal not just throughout a nation, but through the whole world (i.e. Al Jazeera, BBC & CNN) are a part of transnational satellite broadcasting.
Media Marketing
Commercial activities connected to media transmission which include gaining money through advertising content over different types of media come under media marketing.
Penetration of Mobile Broadband Connectivity
The percentage of people in a country using mobile broadband connectivity in a country.
Saudi Arabia
Media Censorship
In this area, Saudi Arabia can be considered among the highest censored countries and resides at the third place in the world. The law that regulates media in Saudi Arabia is highly strict with minimal amount of clear detail. Social Media is heavily regulated and most sites are banned. Journalism access is very limited and in the country and major events of unrest are not covered in the local media which limits the reporting powers.
Digitization of Media
The digitization of media is witnessed in Saudi Arabia at high level among the Middle East countries. The number of internet users has also increased and the highest growth in the amount of internet users has been in Saudi Arabia. There has been a wave of television media reform in 2007 in which broadcast policies were changed and the nation viewed a fluid broadcast of news.
Impact of New Communication Technologies
The increasing use of internet in Saudi Arabia has contributed in making Arabic the fasted growing language on the internet and putting it on the 7th place. The number of Facebook users in Saudi Arabia consists of 80% of the total internet users in the Gulf region.

Media Ownership
The media outlets like newspapers and news channel broadcasting is owned mostly by private entities but the content control and subsidization of news is controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia.
Transnational Satellite Broadcasting
Al Jazeera is the biggest source of transnational broadcast in Saudi Arabia.
Media Role in Globalization
Globalization led to the amendment of the old press law into the new 2003 Press and Publications Act. This act was a step towards making the press environment of Saudi Arabia more liberal and for connecting with global information through sources like TV and Internet.
Media Marketing
Other than Al Jazeera, any other model of news marketing did not succeed in Saudi Arabia. With the rising number of social media users, marketing oriented to social media has increased due to its free nature.
Penetration of Mobiles and internet in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s rate of mobile phone penetration is 18.2 million users.
Qatar
Media Censorship
Qatar has been censoring many types of content such as criticism regarding anything related to the gulf countries, any piece of news hostile to Islam, pornography, homosexuality and political content is extensively filtered in different types of media (OpenNet Intiative, 2009).
Digitization of Media
The international news channel Al Jazeera is a product of Qatar and is a channel extensively viewed in Qatar (BBC News, 2015).
Impact of New Communication Technologies
Cable Television and interned Media has facilitated educational content and Al Jazeera has facilitated a medium of free press in Qatar.
Media Ownership
The ruling family in Qatar holds the rights to the media outlets like print media and news channels.
Transnational Satellite Broadcasting
Qatar can be declared as the most progressive country in this area as it funds and broadcasts its own transnational channel known as Al Jazeera which is renowned globally.

Role of Media in Globalization
The introduction of cable TV in 1993 gave rise to a competition in the media outlets which led to the birth of a transnational news channel broadcast from Qatar connecting it with other countries.
Media Marketing
Through Extensive use of Social Media, Media marketing through advertising and data mining occurs through the same sites.
Penetration of Mobile Phones and Internet
Mobile Phone penetration has reached 100% in Qatar and Broadband subscribers are now 0.275 million. 88% of households have internet in Qatar. (BuddeComm, 2014).
Growth of Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are extensively used and 45% of the population in Qatar uses the internet daily.
Bahrain
Media Censorship
The censorship status of Bahrain is “not free” and the government has applied censorship over internet in 2002 and smartphones in 2010 while also banning many websites and social network profiles and pages.
Digitization of Media
TV has become a primary source of news in Bahrain. With the news spreading banned through Blackberrys, other mediums are bound to catch up on this area like android apps and internet.
Impact of New Communication Technologies
New technology in media has less than desirable impact on the field of education but in general 90% of internet penetration and increasing penetration in mobile phones, a profound impact will be noticed.
Media Ownership
All the internet service providers in Bahrain are indirectly controlled by the government.
Transnational Satellite Broadcasting
All transnational channel broadcasts are banned in Bahrain which limits the worldview of Bahrain population. Al Jazeera can be viewed but the news that is broadcasted here is biased and different from the worldview on critical issues (Essaid, et al., 2012).
Role of Media in Globalization
Despite the fact that the constitution of the country guarantees a right to freedom in press, there is a tight leash on the media elements of the country. The only impact globalization has brought is the initiation of internet and certain social networks (Globalization 101, 2010).
Media Marketing
The government monitors data through proxy servers and the advertising scenario has started but not well established due to minimal reach and censorship.
Penetration of Mobile Phones and Internet
Penetration of internet services in Bahrain is 90 and growing rapidly. Mobile Phone subscriptions reached a number of 2.3 million by 2013 and was bound to increase rapidly with time (Gulf Daily News, 2013).
Growth of Social Media
After the revolution of Facebook in Bahrain, there is a high amount of clarity regarding social media and blogging has been an ongoing progress nut political bloggers practice self-censorship (Karolak, 2010).
Kuwait
Media Censorship
The censorship status of Kuwait is better than Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar and the overall media outlook of Kuwait news media is critical and outspoken due to less number of interventions of government on the news media.
Digitization of Media
There are 5 state owned and 16 privately owned new channels in Kuwait which shows the progress of TV media in that region. With an increasing penetration and less limitations on content, Kuwait has a huge potential to grow in this area.
Impact of New Communication Technologies
Advancements in communication technology have led Kuwait to a higher scale of freedom for press which reflects on the content of the media outlets that are switching to digital mediums like blogs and websites (Wheeler, 2000).
Media Ownership
All newspapers are privately owned in Kuwait, which are independent in their reporting. There are both state owned and privately owned radio stations in Kuwait and satellite dishes are common.

Transnational Satellite Broadcasting
The availability of international news in Kuwait is high and most channels are accessible through satellite dishes. There is also a local bureau of Al Jazeera in Kuwait City.
Role of Media in Globalization
Activities like online job hunting have started in Kuwait along with a high level of connectivity with the other parts of the world with social media.
Media Marketing
Due to an increase in the number of advertising agencies, media marketing sector although presently small, is bound to grow.
Penetration of Mobile Phones and Internet
75% of people in Kuwait had access to the internet in the year 2013. Telecom sector is still largely managed by government and mobile phone penetration has reached 7.6 million (Freedom House, 2014).
Growth of Social Media
Facebook is the most widely used social network in Kuwait and the country also is among the top 5 countries for twitter usage in the Arab region (12.83% penetration) (Dubai School of Government, 2012).

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