The historical development of the Mongolian media landscape : media ecology approach to the development of the Mongolian media from the 1200s to the new millennium, recognizing community radio as a sign of a new era of participatory communication
This media ecology thesis assesses the cultural impacts of communication technologies in Mongolia. Acknowledging the interconnectedness of media, its content, and human beings, it shows how changes in Mongolia's media have taken it through phases of orality, craft literacy, literacy, and into secondary orality. The research shows how Mongolia's media has developed over the centuries, how the social and media transformation in the USSR affected the development of Mongolia's media, and finally, to what degree and in what ways the aspects of oral and literate history, societal history and the media landscape relate to the popularity of participatory community radio in Ulaanbaatar. The background of the thesis rises from Mongolia’s long history viewed from its beginnings in the12th century. The media transitions in developmental stages from speech to writing, from writing to printing, and from print to electronics, but at the same time all these stages are shown as being present in Mongolia today. The importance of history derives from two sources – on one hand, media history and how media, defined in a comprehensive manner, has developed over the centuries in Mongolia. On the other hand there lies the importance of the role of history as is emphasized by Paulo Freire, and his views about the role that acknowledging your own history plays in the conscientization of a human being, or a group of people. In addition the thesis recognizes the Mongolian media sphere and it's mirroring of Soviet media theory up to the 1900s. The empirical analysis is based on a Ulaanbaatar media survey conducted in 2002, and subsequent focus groups discussions in the Bayanzurkh ger area. The media survey depicts, on a large scale, the Ulaanbaatar media scenery in the midst of societal change, and it shows the popular standing of a community radio station. The focus group discussions show the citizens expect community radio to orient to their needs rather than just provide information. The ger area residents consider the community radio as functioning to facilitate the democratic process by giving them a voice and a channel for them to communicate with the government. Citizen journalism is seen, in this study, from a participatory point of view; meaning that the citizens create the community topics they would like the media, in this case community radio, to deal with. Citizens see community radio as a platform to showcase both the talents of individuals within the community and as a vehicle to deal with the problems of the community. The citizens want not only to participate in producing and presenting the programming, but they also expect radio, along with other NGOs to facilitate the communities’ development. This type of participatory communication perspective from the audience was missing during the Soviet dominated era of Mongolian history, and it makes possible the way forward to establish a positive indigenous media development alternative in Mongolia. ...
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