Changing discourses in U.S. international information-communication policy: From free flow to competitive advantage?

By Ann Hollifield - 2008

Since the end of World War I, advocacy of the free flow of information across international borders has been the central element of United States' international information- communication policy, with the U.S. arguing for free flow on the grounds that access to information is a necessary condition for human self-determination. Analysis of the U.S.'s major policy statements on international information-communication issues between 1980 and 1994 shows that, during that period, the U.S.'s discourse shifted from its historical focus on the political and social benefits of international information-communication flows to a heavy emphasis on the economic benefits of such access. This article examines the global politico-economic changes that laid the groundwork for the new discourse during the 1970s, and the resulting emergence in the early 1980s of the epistemic community of U.S. information-communication policy makers who brought the new discourse to the fore. The article also examines the implications of the U.S.'s new economic focus on information-communication issues in light of on-going discussions about construction of a Global Information Infrastructure.

International Communication Gazette, vol. 54 no. 2 121-143.

By Ann Hollifield| 2008
Categories:  Communication Policy


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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