The Big Information and Communication Groups in the World

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José Rebelo

PhD and Professor with Aggregation in Sociology at Instituto Superior
de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa.

Special envoy and permanent correspondent of newspaper Le Monde in Lisbon (1975-1991).
Honoured with the award of Commander of the Ordem da Liberdade.



Abstract

The present article addresses the form major world information and communication groups operate, based on strategies of verticalisation of activities that encompass the distinct media segments – newspapers and magazines, television and radio – and stretch to the new technologies, namely telecommunications and Internet access services. Operating through a vertical system, these groups work as a network system by establishing association or merger agreements, protocols to strengthen their commercial relations, and through interpersonal connections. Their corresponding capitals tend to disperse and their ownership is constantly changing, particularly thanks to the involvement of pension funds, which do not disregard the opportunity of alienating property whenever the profit obtained justifies it.

Both directly, thanks to the strength of their own products – “global products” that inundate the world market, and indirectly, through the influence they have on others around them, the leading information and communication groups are a decisive factor in the speeding up of the processes of naturalization, the fixing of stereotypes, and in putting on the agenda the topics that will cross through public space.

It is undeniable that the advent and massive spread of the new technologies pose a serious threat to the homogenization and the media standardization carried out by the major groups. However, there are still issues that call for moderation when analyzing this issue. Firstly, the power public authorities still detain, especially in non-democratic countries, to interrupt the circulation of contents. Secondly, the attack launched by the large information and communication groups in order to occupy online space themselves. Thirdly, the excess of information flow and the difficulty associated with the need to select and verify.


Keywords

Network; Transnationalisation; Naturalisation; Standardisation; Digitalisation


How to cite this article

Rebelo, José (2010) "The big information and communication groups in the world". JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations, N.º 1, Autumn 2010. Consulted [online] on date of last vist, janus.ual.pt/janus.net/en/arquivo_en/en_vol1_n1/en_vol1_n1_art5.html


Article received in September 2010 and accepted for publication in September 2010