Freedom of information is a principle commonly associated with the United States’ First Amendment traditions or digital-era technology boosters. Barriers Down reveals its unexpected origins in political, economic, and cultural battles over analog media in the postwar period. Diana Lemberg traces how the United States shaped media around the world after 1945 under the banner of the “free flow of information,” showing how the push for global media access acted as a vehicle for American power.
Barriers Down considers debates over civil liberties and censorship in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere alongside Americans’ efforts to circumvent foreign regulatory systems in the quest to expand markets and bring their ideas to new publics. Lemberg shows how in the decades following the Second World War American free-flow policies reshaped the world’s information landscape, though not always as intended. Through burgeoning information diplomacy and development aid, Washington diffused new media ranging from television and satellite broadcasting to global English. But these actions also spurred overseas actors to articulate alternative understandings of information freedom and of how information flows might be regulated. Bridging the historiographies of the United States in the world, human rights, decolonization and development, and media and technology, Barriers Down excavates the analog roots of digital-age debates over the politics and ethics of transnational information flows.
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Diana Lemberg is assistant professor of history at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Liberalizing Missions
1. Freedom for Every Medium, Everywhere: Information Politics in the 1940s United States
2. Quantifying and Qualifying Freedom of Information Durgaing the Early Cold War
3. Information Flows and the Conundrum of Multilingualism
4. Capacity as Freedom Durgaing the Development Decade
5. Satellites and the End of Sovereignty
6. Cultural Turns in the International Arena
7. “A Global First Amendment War”: Freedom of Information on the Verge of the Neoliberal Era
Epilogue: Free Flow Bytes Back?