The recent trend toward globalization in mass communications has had a drastic effect on the world. The amount of information available to anyone at the touch of a button is astounding. Things that are taken for granted in first world countries are hardly thought of in developing nations. Common realities like the Internet, instant international exchanges, and globalization are of no consequence in the day to day struggle to survive. This will change as more people gain access to the technology. In theory, the power of globalization and the information it provides can make people's lives easier, especially those living in third world countries. One nation where such dreams have the possibility of being realized is Bhutan. A small country in Southeast Asia, it has recently opened itself to the outside world. The advent of the Internet in Bhutan has tremendous potential. What will happen is hard to predict. The combination of Bhutan's unique culture, geographical location, and long history of isolation paired with the capabilities of mass media will make for an interesting ride.
The Effects of Globalization and the Internet on the Culture of Bhutan
The history of Bhutan is like many other Asian countries. For centuries it was controlled by foreign powers, first by Britain and then by India. Bhutan gained independence from India in 1949 but still remains closely tied. The nation is now a hereditary monarchy and is governed by the king, the Council of Ministers, the National Assembly, and the Head Abbot of Bhutan's Buddhist monks (United Nations 77-78). Modernization, made difficult by the rough terrain, was begun in 1961 with the First Five Year Plan. Not until 1974 were tourists allowed into the countr...
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... living drastically. With better and more communication comes advancements in education which in turn leads to better and more communication. If the government closely regulates the system, it will of little benefit to the ordinary Bhutanese citizen. If the people retain control of the Internet and more businesses like the first cyber café spring up, the information in Bhutan will be a valuable asset and a model for other developing nations.
Amnesty International 1998 Report. "Bhutan: A Land Frozen in Time." 9 Feb, 1998.
BBC News. Online. Netscape. 4/1/00.
"Bhutan Gets Its First Internet Café." 25 March, 2000. BBC News. Online. Netscape. 4/1/00.
"Bhutan TV follows Cyber Launch." BBC News. 2 June, 1999. Online. Netscape. 4/1/00.
United Nations. Socio-Economic Profile of SAARC Countries: A Statistical Analysis. New York: United Nations, 1996.
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