OPINION

‘Cloned’ television

Television, which since its inception has promoted the globalization of cultural values, is now gradually succumbing to a sweeping expression of this very tendency. This no longer takes place through the export of ready-made television programs from the US and some major European countries to the rest of the world, but rather through the export of «concepts» that are reproduced in different countries. The world is full of variations of «Big Brother,» of «Who Wants to be a Millionaire?», of «The Weakest Link,» and so on. Regardless of the quality of these shows, the essence is that there is an increasing homogenization in recreational and news programs with total disregard for cultural diversity across the world. The task of preserving – let alone developing – the national cultural characteristics of each population is hence getting increasingly difficult, at least via the crucial means of television. The indiscriminate invasion of such globalized programs takes the major share of commercial-based revenues and puts intense pressure on television channels to reproduce these programs, hence shrinking the funds that can be allocated for programs intended to promote the national culture of each country. Furthermore, this insidious process is gradually shaping public tastes, which then ignore or reject any television product that diverges from these globalized patterns. The original stage marked by the massive inflow of low-quality American television sub-products in order to meet the needs of private networks was successfully overcome when private television realized that it had to invest huge sums to produce local programs in the face of public satiety. Now the threat is ever greater. Foreign ideas are veiled under a deceitful native cloak and squeeze any cultural criteria, for this is the only way to find a common denominator for dozens of countries, namely when people’s lowest instincts are flattered. Television is a powerful means for promoting contact and understanding between peoples and cultures. It can exert decisive influence and elevate the cultural level of populations across the world. It is tragic that it becomes an object of manipulation in a way that clones the sole aim of producing profitable commercial sub-products.