This paper was prepared by the Alliance of Civilizations Secretariat for consideration by the High-level Group. The opinion expressed in this paper does not necessarily represent the views of High-level Group members. “It is time to recognize that the true tutors of our children are no longer the school teachers and university professors, but the filmmakers, advertising executives and pop culture purveyors. Disney does more than Duke, Spielberg outweighs Stanford, MTVtrumps MIT”.
Technology has made the media the most important immediate influence on opinions and understanding in the industrialized world and has significantly heightened media impact in the developing countries as well. Media has a powerful capacity to encourage global awareness thereby promoting cross-cultural understanding, tolerance and acceptance of ethnic, cultural, religious and gender differences in communities across the globe. Unfortunately, the media’s potential to be a force for good can easily backfire. By disseminating messages that create and reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate misconceptions, the media frustrates dialogue and works against mutual understanding.