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The Impact of Colonization on Media Portrayal of Developing Countries

Writer: Parizad Nizam

Editor: Radhiah Auni

Graphic Designer: Pat Sevikul

Colonization has had a lasting impact on many aspects of society, including the way the media portrays developing countries. From reinforcing negative stereotypes to perpetuating power imbalances, the legacy of colonialism continues to shape the way that media outlets portray these countries.

During the colonial era, Western powers established colonies throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which were often seen as sources of raw materials and labour. The media coverage of these countries tends to focus on their economic potential rather than on their cultures, histories, and people. The narrative of the "developing country" is thus seen as a place of poverty, backwardness, and underdevelopment, which persists to this day, perpetuating negative stereotypes and reinforcing power imbalances between the developed world and developing countries.

One way that colonization affects the way media portrays developing countries is through the dominance of Western perspectives in global media. Western journalists and media outlets often have more resources and influence than their counterparts in developing countries. This can result in a one-sided portrayal that reinforces stereotypes and the idea of the developing world as a place in need of Western intervention.

Furthermore, the legacy of colonialism has also contributed to the idea of Western superiority over non-Western cultures. This sort of colonizer gaze perpetuates the idea that the West has a moral obligation to intervene and "help" non-Western countries. This results in a lack of understanding and appreciation of non-Western cultures and a lack of accountability for the negative consequences of colonialism and ongoing Western exploitation.

The colonized gaze results in a lack of representation or misrepresentation of the cultural and historical aspects of developing countries. People in developing countries are often portrayed as passive victims, lacking agency and unable to improve their own situations.

It is important to acknowledge the impact of colonization on media portrayals of developing countries and to strive for a more balanced and nuanced representation. This can be achieved by diversifying media ownership and voices, promoting local journalism, and supporting independent media outlets in developing countries.

In conclusion, the legacy of colonization has had a profound impact on the way the media portrays developing countries. By perpetuating stereotypes and power imbalances, media can reinforce the idea of the developing world as a place in need of Western intervention. To counteract this, it is important to promote a more diverse range of perspectives and support independent media outlets in developing countries.



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  • Grunspan-Jasmin, I. (2019). Colonialism in the 21st century: The media discourse on Africa and Latin America. Global Media and Communication, 15(1), 55-74.

  • Miller, T. (2007). Cultural imperialism redux: The globalization of Hollywood and the cinema of Nigeria. In T. Miller (Ed.), Global Hollywood 2 (pp. 81-107). London: British Film Institute.

  • Thussu, D. K. (2019). International communication: Continuity and change. Routledge.


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