There has been a growing intolerance of foreign culture, evidenced with increasing instances of blocking overseas TV channels. The trend is particularly potent in the developing countries and especially where the cultural hegemony of a bigger power is robust.
In 2015, the media watchdog of Lithuania blocked two Russian TV channels for allegedly spreading hatred against other nations with biased content. Some of the television programs of the Russian TV channels, NTV and RTR Planeta, have also been blocked by Lithuania’s Radio and Television Commission. Lithuania, like other small ex-Soviet republics, has been trying hard to break the shackles of Russian dominance in the region. Russian cultural and informative imperialism has been powerful in the region which is despised by the smaller ex-Soviet nations. Ukraine crisis from the Russian standpoint of view that the Russian television channels are disseminating in the neighborhood has been loathed by the local authorities and the people of those countries.
Anti-India sentiments have been ripe amongst the South Asian countries that refuse to accept the brother attitude of India in the subcontinent. In 2015, Nepalese cable TV operators blocked a number of Indian channels as a means to protest India’s blocking of unofficial goods into Nepal. However, many sees it just an alibi of a greater anti-India sentiment. Ranjit Rae, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, said, “We sense that anti-India sentiment is being used for certain objective — political or otherwise.” “We are deeply concerned with the growing anti-India sentiment. Encouraging such a sentiment is equally harmful to both India and Nepal,” he said.
Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), in 2016, blocked more than 11 Christian TV channels, which they say is because they are Indian channels being illegally run in the country. This has infuriated the Christian minorities living in Pakistan as these channels were extremely popular to the community. A Christian advocate and rights activist, Nadim Anthony, protested and accused Pakistan that they see non-Muslims as anti-Pakistan.
Most recently, in 2017, Saudi Arabia has blocked the Qatari news broadcaster, Al Jazeera for quoting Iran as an “Islamic power” and criticizing President Trump.
This kind of trends is most common among the developing countries and dictatorship or weak democratic nations. However, it’s not a one way traffic. In many countries, the media has been very bipartisan and irresponsible. They spread message of hatred and can turn days into nights. This makes the weaker powers vulnerable and insecure leading to such blockings. The change is sought both from the blocking nations to be more democratic and open and the media to be unbiased and responsible.