State-sponsored news channels like Al-Jazeera and RT are contributing to widespread repercussions that go beyond that of the family lounge room. The question is, what are those repercussions? After all, it’s only a TV show, right?
When defending the growing budget of the State Department, United States Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proclaimed that America is in the midst of “an information war, and we are losing that war”. She specifically singled out the predominantly state-funded cable news channels Al-Jazeera, RT (Russia Today) and CCTV (China Central Television) as competitors in this war for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the masses. Within the last twenty-five years, countries that can be classified as ‘non-democratic’ have produced and disseminated cable news channels that can be broadcast across the entirety of the globe. These state-sponsored news channels are challenging traditional media organisations in breadth, prestige and influence. The implications of this steady rise in cable news channels materialising from non-democratic nation-states is both reflexive and consequential of a changing economical, political, technological and cultural environment.
The Doomsday Clock, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at three minutes to midnight, or doomsday. It has been adjusted 18 times since its creation in 1947. It has been set as close as two minutes to midnight, in 1953 when the United States tested a hydrogen bomb, and as far as 17 minutes from midnight, in 1991 as the Cold War expired.
Congratulations earthlings, as of the 23rd January 2015, we’re now only ‘three minutes’ away to literally wiping ourselves off the face of the earth! This is mostly due to the threat of nuclear annihilation (sprinkled with a bit of catastrophic climate change doom and gloom) because of our presumed inability to keep our finger off the red button. However, the big and muscly nations of the world see the whole matter differently – they’re turning back the clock, just like the very curious case that involved that Benjamin Button fellow. The great powers’ would like you to believe that their actions help it from striking midnight – and how could you not trust the sincerity of characters like Putin and Xi Jinping? That’s why they introduced the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an international treaty drawn up by the great powers’ (Nuclear Weapon States or NWS) with the advertised intention of promoting nuclear disarmament and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Nice bunch of guys just trying to protect the world, right? Well no, not really. The designated nuclear weapon states of China, France, Russia, the U.K and the U.S.A (NWS) finalised their implementation of the NPT by 1970, and continue their support in maintaining a tight control over who and ultimately who cannot attain nuclear weapons. For an example, look at all the current hoo-ha over Iran. This is in an era where everybody wants the bomb – from North Korea, to ISIS and the nice old lady next door. So I’m going to look at four main reasons why they want to keep nuclear weapons from being handed around like a pack of gum at an MDMA-fueled rave, and not all of them are as pure and altruistic as you may think. (more…)