Abstract - The Information Society 20(3)

Language Difference and Communication Policy in the Information Age

Kenton T. Wilkinson

This study argues that language difference is an important, though often neglected, element in contemporary flows of audiovisual media and organizations’ efforts to influence them through policy. Because linguistic issues overlap a number of policy areas including trade, culture, language and communication, this study advocates for increased attention to language-related concerns within and across those areas by policymakers and researchers alike. Various developments associated with globalization have contributed to the significance of the transnational media trade, and are discussed in light of language difference. Special emphasis is given the handling of language in media by the European Union and North American Free Trade Agreement, two trade regimes that have treated language difference distinctly. The probable expansion of both trade regimes is likely to increase the salience of linguistic diversity among participant societies in the future.

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