Since the first systems of mass media and telecommunications emerged, their control and structure have been political issues. It has been well understood that the control over the means of communication is an integral aspect of political and economic power. Perhaps the most striking feature of our current age is the increase in prominence—for economics, politics, and culture—of technologically advanced systems of communication and information, that are often global in scope. Moreover, the global communication system is in the midst of a dramatic transformation that is reorganizing industries and revamping modes of regulation. Yet precisely at the historic moment that the social implications of communication appear at their greatest, the subject of how communication systems are controlled and organized and for what purposes is effectively being removed from the range of legitimate political debate, as communication is turned over to the market for profitable exploitation.
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