The globalization of communication has made local communities aware that there is a global sort of consciousness, but that does not necessarily lead to the diminishing power of the nation-state. While global and local productions of mass media have started to grow significantly in the past few decades, the nation-state still has the final say of what communication crosses its borders. The nation-state is still very much a protector of it’s citizens, as seen in the social contract by Hobbes. With more communications and mass media flowing into the digital world, there are new forms of defense needed from a nation-state to keep its citizens secure.
There are varying degrees of how much a nation-state regulates, or deregulates, the information that is shared throughout its borders. Since the nation-state still holds the power of what global information enters its borders, we see an increase of the state’s role as an international actor. How strictly information is regulated is the thin-line that nation-states seem to walk with their citizens. We see from Powers and Jablonski (2015) that varying degrees in which nation-states decide to regulate informational sovereignty can cause a number of different reactions from their citizens.
Many nation-states, even the U.S., see its role in restricting some access to the internet and media outlets as a way of maintaining security. The question that has evolved in this information sharing age seems to be, how do you differentiate when a state is defending the security of its nation or when it is trying to keep a power hold over its citizens? China seems to have a regulation over informational sovereignty that works well with its citizens. In the case of Egypt, the complete shutdown of the internet and communication systems in 2011 caused the citizens to become closer and more driven towards revolt.
Due to globalization, local cultures are starting to have a new sort of awareness of the global world. The expectancy levels of being connected on a global scale have been heightened through the mass media due to cultural, economic, and political reasons. The nation-state that has highly restrictive informational control is where we start to see a sense of relative deprivation from the citizens who live in that state – which is usually followed by some sort of social protest.
The role of the nation-state has turned into a kind of gatekeeper for what international communication is allowed across its borders. In today’s globalized world local problems tend to require local solutions formulated within global frameworks, and global problems are needing to be locally contextualized. The nation-state works as an international actor/medium to bring the global sphere into a local context. There is still the question of how a state rationalizes its restrictiveness of communication – is it for security purposes or self preservation?
Today’s globalized world helps citizens “see behind the curtain” of what is really going on with their government. Even if communication is restricted, it is easier for citizens to figure out that they are not being given the same opportunities as other people around the world. While self preservation may be the first topic on a nation-state’s agenda, it has two other roles to factor in to its concerns. The first role is playing the international role of connecting the global to the local, which involves allowing some sort of flow of communication inside its border. The second role is maintaing security for its citizens, while balancing their demands. The former does not mean completely open borders of communication, and the latter does not mean strict restrictions. Working as an international actor will help the nation-state keep some sort of balance between the global and the local within its community.