This post is written to cover my last competency aim, namely to analyze the role of some English- language media in the international society.
Media play a big part in influencing people. Whether the goal is to sell a product, impart an important case or set the standards in today’s society, they function as the fourth estate, meaning that their power is immense. Still, media written in certain languages have more power than others. The question is therefore, what role has the English- language media in this maze of languages and cultures we know as the international society?
In the world of media there is especially one language that stands out, and that is English. It is the native language for approximately 360 million people and the second language for about 430 million people, giving newspapers and magazines, let alone articles on the internet, a broad audience. (Wikipedia) It is, therefore, natural that most information will be found in English and that the different media have more penetrating power than, for instance, Norwegian- language media. An example of that are articles written on subjects like medicine. Today, all the most influential medical journals are written in English, and English has become the language of choice at international conferences. Where the medical terms were in former times derived from Latin or Greek, English has now become the joint language. (Medical English). The focus in today’s society has shifted from using different languages, towards having a joint language one can communicate with, namely English. That gives the English- language media a central role transmitting information.
However, there are other examples which are more pressing when showing the role English- language media has in the international society. Even though it can be wrong to pin the responsibility of today’s expectations regarding looks on only one language, the magazines in English are central in developing an international standard. Despite the fashion industry doing what they want, magazines have the choice not to publish pictures of thin models and stop retouch images. As English is an important language in the fashion industry, and the magazines written in English have a big audience, they help communicating images which can hurt their readers’ self-image. Furthermore, TV-shows in English and films from Hollywood often help contributing to the focus on looks and appearance. Films, TV-shows and magazines in English are, therefore, important when it comes to setting an international standard on how people should look and act.
To conclude, English- language media play a very central role in the international society, probably the most central, as it is read on a global scale and reach a bigger audience than most other languages. Consequently, it is important for the media to be aware that power and not misuse it.
Have a nice day!