Defining Culture – Impacting Our World

Special Editions


March 2023

Edited by Huib Wursten


Huib Wursten,

Eric Alexander DeGroot,


                     Table of content Culture and Media Literacy:

Editorial : Huib Wursten

Cultural values and beliefs can in a significant way affect the way people interpret media messages and the types of media they are exposed to. For example, in some cultures, there may be a greater emphasis on individualism, while in others there may be a greater emphasis on collectivism. Additionally, cultural norms and expectations can influence the way media is created and disseminated. Certain cultural practices and beliefs may be more or less represented in media depending on the culture it is being created for or consumed in. For example, some cultural practices and beliefs may be more accepting of certain human rights violations, such as discrimination based on gender, religion, or sexual orientation. In these cases, the media may be more likely to perpetuate harmful stereotypes and prejudices, rather than promoting and protecting the human rights of marginalized groups. On the other hand, some cultural values and beliefs may be more supportive of human rights and equality, and the media in these cultures may be more likely to promote and defend the rights of all individuals.

Overall, culture plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s media literacy and understanding of media messages. It is important for individuals to be aware of their own cultural backgrounds and biases, and to consider the cultural context in which media is created and consumed when evaluating and interpreting media messages.

The authors in this special are approaching media literacy in totally different ways. Carpinschi shows the dangers of political propaganda. Budwani encourages to add a Gandhian call for peaceful solutions in media messages. Wursten analyzes the recent tendency to polarize and the difference between purposeful lying in the media and “BS”, just trying to create a bad image and annoy people with ideas you don’t like.

Anton Carpinschi, The Russian-Ukrainian war and media literacy. Thoughts and memories of an East-European 

The emotions caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war stimulated thoughts by the author about Soviet-Russian propaganda and the acute need for media literacy. The author approaches this through the memories of a childhood under the Soviet occupation and the experiences lived in the communist regime in Romania.

It is a plea for reformative political solutions in a spiritual-religious climate freed from the dominance of the what the author calls the troika of post-Soviet power:  the autocratic-oligarchic-ecclesiastical state

For full article click:

Dr Vedabhyas Kundu: Intertwining Nonviolent Communication in Media and Cultural Literacy programmes

Today’s generation is much more sensitive; the more the exposure, the more they are forced to critically think, reflect and react. So young people who acquire communication and media literacy skills are in a position to use these dexterously and contribute to the culture of peace and nonviolence in a greater way. Also by developing capacities to use different forms of media especially the new media, young people can connect with other youth in different communities and globally and initiate dialogue. – Syeda Rumana Mehdi (Kundu, 2016)

Rumana stress on how young people with skills in media literacy can connect with other young people from communities across the world thereby contributing towards dialogues and culture of peace and nonviolence. It is a marker on the intrinsic link between media literacy, deep understanding of different cultures and use of nonviolent communication for dialogues. She further notes (Kundu, 2016), “The problem arises when young people are not exposed to the efficacies of positive and nonviolent communication. It is then the cultural differences, the deep-rooted stereotypes and lack of understanding of each other’s practices takes primacy and sows seeds of conflict.”

The integration of nonviolent communication in media literacy education can provide the wherewithal to avoid cultural stereotypes and promote effective dialogues across cultures.

For full article click:

Huib WurstenCulture and Media Literacy. Truth, BS and shibboleths

Next to the necessity to fight deliberate attempts to mislead people by spreading misinformation, media literacy also means understanding the cultural context of communication.

The following issues are discussed:

How does culture affect media literacy?: Culture can play a significant role in shaping an individual’s understanding and interpretation of media messages. It can influence how people perceive and respond to media content, the types of media they consume and the values and beliefs they hold about media and its role in society. Example: Hofstede on Vietnamese schools and American schools.

Truth: Truth as a cultural construct. An earlier paper explored how the different culture clusters relate to the concept of truth. (Wursten 2015) Different “sayings “used by the dominant culture clusters illustrate and reflect how truth is perceived.

BS:  The cultural dimension “Masculinity”, polarization and “bullshitting”.                                                                                            An influential and important book published in 2005 by Harry Frankfurt shows that  Bullshit is not the same as lying. Both misrepresent the truth but with entirely different intentions. A liar is “someone who deliberately promulgates a falsehood”. He or she knows the truth or could communicate it – but they aren’t giving it to you. The “bullshitter”, on the other hand, “does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.” They just want a story. The intent is not to refer to facts or truths. The intent is to discredit “the other side” and to enrage the other side in the meantime.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shibboleths: Special attention will be given to Shibboleths. In the media, some words or concepts that are basically cultural work as a Shibboleth, a watchword to distinguish the good ones (people like us) from the others. If such a watchword is used, there is no need to listen further. Example: words like “Woke”, “wokeism”, or even worse, “socialism” It is not about knowing the right facts. It distinguishes the good guys from the others

The Common Good and culture. How does culture affect the notion of the Common good in the media

Pragmatism versus Cartesian thinking: analysis of a scandal: Sokols Hoax. The background of  the book “Intellectual imposters.”

For the full article click:


Amer Bital: Authority representation as a cultural discourse!

In this article I analyze how authority is represented by artists in visual arts and how it is interpreted by the targeted audience and what is the effect of national cultures in the way its represented and interpreted.
My aim is to explore how authoritarians used visual art to impose disciplinary power and to control their people’s minds; furthermore, I aim to probe the role of national culture in impacting the way authority is represented, taking examples from different cultures based on Geert Hofstede’s national culture’s dimensions.
Drawing upon Foucault’s premises that human subject and social practices are products of historically created discourses where national culture plays a powerful role in building the coding system.
To this end, it will call on visual culture studies, power of gaze and national culture to highlight how visual representative art is used to create a powerful instrument to control human minds and  to build docile bodies.

 For full article click: 

Fernando Lanzer: Culture and Media Literacy – Know Your Source

 Who exactly is the source of this information? What do you know about them? What kind of culture bias do they have?

Everyone perceives reality through a filter, as if wearing tinted glasses. This applies to you, so, be aware of your own glasses or your own culture bias as you interpret reality. Be also aware of the culture filter being used by your source when perceiving reality and again when communicating their perception to you and others.

There are at least three filtering processes involved: (1) the perception of reality by your source; (2) the way that source communicates information to you; and (3) the perception of information by yourself.

I say at least three filters because we don’t know how many filters have been used by all the links in that communication chain before the information even reached your source.

The Economist has a newsletter they have named “Drum Tower – What the world makes of China—and what China makes of the world.” It is a worthy effort at face value, but we must first of all realize that this is all being perceived and communicated through a double British filter. The newsletter actually describes how the British think that the world perceives China; and what the British think that China thinks about the world. Never forget that you are not reading material produced by the Chinese. Rather, you are reading British-produced material about the Chinese. If the same newsletter was edited by German professionals, for instance, or by Vietnamese journalists, the content might be totally different.

The main issue here is that we are constantly consuming English-language content produced mostly by Contest culture media. There is a lot of filtering going on, with a high probability of distortion—not only purely cultural, but also because there are vested interests at stake.

So, what are the typical distortion filters at work in different cultures regarding how media perceive and broadcast information to the world?

For full article click: 


Martin Karaffa: True to whom?

 In 2023, we hear the phrase “fake news” on many lips.  But depending on how the question is asked, concern over fake news can vary. 

Is the objective truth of what is reported in the media, or shared in the social media, a concern of individualistic, low-context cultures?  One might easily jump to that conclusion.  In such cultures, communications often focus on the simple, factual content of a message.  Does the risk of fake news rise when the lens of social context is removed from the discourse—when we pay less attention to the source, or character of the speaker? 

 To that end, the article examines the relationships among several sources of data on the perceived risk of fake news, and looks for cultural factors which affect the audiences relationship to trust in the media.   The author uses such robust psychological and cultural measures as Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Cultural Difference, the OCEAN model of personality, and the Mediacom/Hofstede Insights Consumer Culture Intelligence tool.  He compares these scores with data from renowned studies as the Edelman Trust Barometer, the Gallup World Risk Survey, and recent studies from the Pew Research Centre. 

For full article click: 




Huib Wursten,

Eric Alexander DeGroot,