Most studies, and indeed understanding, of media is centered around media production, distribution, and reception in North America, Britain, and Australia. This creates a discourse about media that universalises the structures, practices, content, and uses of mass media from these regions. This is at the expense of ignoring mass media in other regions, despite the emergence of many of the world’s largest film, television, music and print industries. For instance, in Asia terrestrial and satellite television has become politically and culturally crucial from Japan and China to Indonesia, India and through the Middle East.
To illustrate this point consider a prestigious annual lecture delivered by a respected British journalist at a leading UK university. Charting the decline of the traditional newsmedia, particularly the notion of national newspapers, he pointed out that one of their options lay in going truly local and cited the example of some creative leadership in this direction in the US. Clearly he had not heard of the way Eenadu in Andhra Pradesh, India had localised its newspapers way back in the 80s.
Examples such as these dot the academic and professional landscape of western discourse.
- There is a discourse that is created about the media and audiences, particularly by academic elites
- There is a discourse created by the media, about the world and itself.
The preoccupation with the domestic concerns of the British and American media industries disguises the realities of our existense in a multi-centred world, in ways which media studies fails to address.
Subaltern Media fill this gap by highlighting, challenging, debating, discussing issues relating to media production, distribution, and reception in South Asia.