Given that language, music, and images constitute the major forms of symbolic expression, they assume special significance in the sphere of culture. Both processes, media globalization and cultural imperialism, are closely connected with cultural globalization which means expansion of cultural flows across the globe.
At the beginning of the 21st century, global media interferes all parts of the world promoting and popularizing western life style and ideas. The exploding network of cultural interconnections and interdependencies in the last decades has led some commentators to suggest that cultural practices lie at the very heart of contemporary globalization (Lee 2002). Yet, cultural globalization did not start with the worldwide dissemination of rock 'n' roll, Coca-Cola, or football. Expansive civilizational exchanges are much older than modernity. Still, the volume and extent of cultural transmissions in the contemporary period have far exceeded those of earlier eras. Facilitated by the Internet and other new technologies, TV shows and mindless advertisements, these corporations increasingly shape people's identities and the structure of desires around the world (Tomlinson 88). During the last two decades, a small group of very large TNCs have come to dominate the global market for entertainment, news, television, and film. In 2000, only ten media conglomerates - AT&T, Sony, AOL/Time Warner, Bertelsmann, Liberty Media, Vivendi Universal, Viacom, General Electric, Disney, and News Corporation - accounted for more than two-thirds of the $250-275 billion in annual worldwide revenues generated by the communications industry (Tomlinson 54).
In general, cultural imperialism means promotion and spreading of one culture into another. "Cultural imperialism has been conceptualized variously as a strategy on the part of dominant countries, a local policy on the part of receiving countries, and an effect on the people and practices in the latter. Dominant nations have clear strategies concerning the export of cultural products" (Crabtree and Malhotra 364). As recently as 15 years ago, not one of the giant corporations that dominate what Benjamin Barber has appropriately called the 'infotainment telesector' existed in its present form as a media company. In 2001, nearly all of these corporations ranked among the largest 300 non-financial firms in the world. Today, most media analysts concede that the emergence of a global commercial-media market amounts to the creation of a global oligopoly similar to that of the oil and automotive industries in the early part of the 20th century (Tomlinson 74). The crucial cultural innovators of earlier decades - small, independent record labels, radio stations, movie theatres, newspapers, and book publishers - have become virtually extinct as they found themselves incapable of competing with the media giants. The negative consequences of this shotgun marriage of finance and culture are obvious. TV programs turn into global 'gossip markets', presenting viewers and readers of all ages with the vacuous details of the private lives of American celebrities like Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kobe Bryant. Evidence suggests that people all over the world - but especially