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National identity and media system dependency in Belize

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National identity and media system dependency in Belize
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Elliott, Larry S., 1949-
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National identity ( jstor )
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Dissertations, Academic -- Journalism and Communications -- UF
Journalism and Communications thesis, Ph. D
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1995.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 257-268).
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Larry S. Elliott.

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NATIONAL IDENTITY AND MEDIA SYSTEM DEPENDENCY
IN BELIZE















By

LARRY S. ELLIOTT

















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1995






























Copyright 1995

by

Larry S. Elliott














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of my

dissertation committee. Each brought a special talent to

this project that proved especially helpful. I thank my

co-chairs, Dr. John Wright and Dr. Michael Leslie, for their

patience, research suggestions, proofreading, and continued

encouragement. Dr. Paul Smeyak's dissertation on Guyana

provided a useful guide for many of the issues facing a mass

media researcher working in another country.

Dr. Kim Walsh-Childers offered insightful advice on

research among adolescents, delivered rapid and detailed

editing, and clarified several data analysis questions. Dr.

Terry McCoy encouraged an interest in Central America and

gave me a look at how a truly excellent teacher operates in

the classroom. His Latin American expertise led to the wise

warning that a study of national identity is a trip up a

slippery slope, but he went along anyway.

I also acknowledge the help of my fellow doctoral

student David Halpern, who was always there to discuss data

analysis techniques. He greatly assisted in the process of

learning by doing. Without his time and effort, the

finished product would have been much more frustrating and

time consuming.








I am very grateful for the help of the people of

Belize, especially the Ministry of Education. The

cooperation of the government of Belize and the fine young

people who are the future of their nation made the work

there much easier.

Finally, I owe a special debt of gratitude to my wife

Toni Elliott, who brought me into the computer age three

years ago and provided the support that made this work

possible. From her computer assistance in Texas to handing

out questionnaires in Belize, to her dissertation help in

Florida, she has continued to be my most important source of

support and my best friend.

This dissertation is dedicated to my mother, Bailey

Elliott, my first teacher, who worked to instill a love of

words, learning and excellence.














TABLE OF CONTENTS





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................................ iii

ABSTRACT....... ....... ...... ............................ ix

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION .................................... 1

Statement of the Problem ........................ 3
The Arrival of Belize Television................. 5
Belize's "Television Generation"................. 8
Rationale for the Study ......................... 11
Summary ......................................... 14

2 BELIZE MEDIA .................................... 17

The Influence of National Independence........... 18
Press Theory and Belize ......................... 20
The Media Climate in Belize ..................... 22
Summary ......................................... 43

3 LITERATURE REVIEW ............................... 46

National Identity as Communications Strategy.... 47
National Identity and Young People............... 59
Media Dependency Theory ......................... 64
International Mass Media Studies ................ 77
Summary ......................................... 97
The Research Question ........................... 98
The Research Hypotheses ......................... 99

4 METHOD .......................................... 103

Survey Design ................................... 103
The Survey Sample ................................. 106
Instrumentation................................. .. 115
Procedures ...................................... 127
Data Analysis ................................... 132
Summary ......................................... 137














5 RESULTS ......................................... 139

General Sample Description ...................... 140
Media Access and Exposure ....................... 145
Media Dependency Measures ....................... 159
The National Identity Index ..................... 162
Additional Identity and Dependency Measures..... 165
Program Preferences............................. 174
Program Ideas..................................... 176
Tests of Hypotheses ............................. 179
Additional Analyses............................. 194
Summary ......................................... 207

6 DISCUSSION ...................................... 212
Summary of Main Findings ........................ 213
Implications of the Findings..................... 232
Conclusion ...................................... 236
Future Research................................. 241

APPENDICES

A PERMISSION FORM ................................. 245
B STUDENT ASSENT SCRIPT ........................... 247
C QUESTIONNAIRE ................................... 248
D MAP OF BELIZE ................................... 255
E MAP OF CENTRAL AMERICA .......................... 256

REFERENCES ............................................ 257

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................... 269















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1 Belize radio stations--1995 .................... 35

2 Belize television stations--1995............... 41

3 Belize ethnic groups ......................... 108

4 Ethnic composition of the survey region........ 109

5 Population distribution by district............. 141

6 Survey sample ethnicity ....................... 142

7 Sample distribution and characteristics........ 144

8 Electronic media access and exposure............ 146

9 Print media use................................ 152

10 Radio and television content interests......... 156

11 Radio and television news preferences.......... 158

12 Dependency on mass media and other sources.... 160

13 Reactions to the loss of information sources.. 162

14 National identity index mean scores............. 163

15 Quality of life............................... .. 167

16 Desire to seek opportunities outside Belize... 169

17 National and global identity .................. 172

18 Television preferences by country of origin... 173

19 Favorite television programs .................. 175

20 T-Tests of lifestyle opportunity choices....... 192

21 Regression model predicting identity........... 196

vii














22 A media dependency model predicting identity.. 202

23 Media source factor loadings................... 205














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

NATIONAL IDENTITY AND MEDIA SYSTEM DEPENDENCY
IN BELIZE

By

Larry S. Elliott

August, 1995

Chair: John Wright
Cochair: Michael Leslie
Major Department: Journalism and Communications

This research, based on media dependency theory,

examined associations between media exposure--dependency and

feelings of national identity among young people in Belize,

Central America. The researcher used a cross-sectional

survey design to collect data from 424 students at six

secondary schools. The survey measured exposure to and

dependency on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and

interpersonal sources of information.

Belize was chosen to test relationships between media

and national identity because national independence and

satellite-delivered U.S. television arrived almost

simultaneously in 1981. The former British colony, where

English is the official language, had no television industry

at the time. The survey sample represented the first

"television generation" in Belize.

ix








Survey participants reported watching about four hours

of U.S. television daily, but data analysis found no

significant correlations between their television exposure

and feelings of national identity.

Correlation analysis found a significant association

between exposure to Belize magazines and national identity

as measured on a 13-item "national identity index." Those

with higher exposure to magazines published in Belize also

were more likely to report stronger feelings of Belizean

national identity.

Correlation analysis indicated a statistically

significant positive relationship between strength of

national identity and frequency of contact with friends or

relatives living outside Belize. Those most likely to hear

from people in other countries were most likely to evaluate

Belize more positively, perhaps because interpersonal

sources passed along news that made Belize look good by

comparison.

A multiple regression model predicting strength of

national identity feelings indicated that a survey

participant's positive comparison of life in Belize with

life in the United States was the most likely predictor of a

strong national identity. The survey results indicate that

exposure to some media and interpersonal information sources

correlates with feelings of national identity in Belize.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION


This research examines associations between feelings of

national identity and mass media exposure and dependency in

the Central American nation of Belize. One goal is to

determine if heavy users of foreign media such as the

country's satellite-imported cable television feel less

"Belizean" than their fellow citizens who rely less on

imported television and more on local media for news and

entertainment. In an age of worldwide satellite television,

exploring some of the ways mass media may help build

"global" rather than national or local identifications can

have implications beyond the scope of this research.

In the situation described here, six key factors

indicate a possible relationship between media and national

identity: (1) Belize gained its independence from Great

Britain in 1981, the same year U.S. television arrived in

the country; (2) Belize has never had a national television

service of its own; (3) the official language of Belize is

English, the language of the U.S. programs coming into the

country; (4) many Spanish-speaking Belizeans also watch

television from Mexico; (5) "local" or Belizean television

produces very little programming in comparison with the










available Mexican and U.S. programs; and (6) government

efforts to build a "Belizean national identity" appear to

clash with a very pervasive foreign television system.

Visual media have a history of serving political

movements and building national loyalties. Leni

Reifenstahl, the director of the 1935 Nazi documentary

Triumph of the Will, said Adolph Hitler was the first

national leader to realize that visual communication is

particularly well suited to molding a "powerful national

experience" (Barnouw, 1974, p. 103). In more modern times,

a typical early goal of the organizers of a coup d'etat is a

takeover of government television and radio stations. The

belief shared by Hitler and many modern revolutionaries is

that mass media can lend legitimacy to government.

At the time of its independence from Great Britain on

September 21, 1981, the multiracial new nation of Belize was

not likely to be mistaken for the Nazi Party's vision for

Germany in 1935, but government leaders did have a clear

vision of their national identity. The People's United

Party (PUP) of Prime Minister George Price helped draft a

constitution, write a national anthem, and design a national

flag bearing the catchy Latin motto sub umbra floreo--"I

flourish in the shade"--perhaps appropriate for a sweltering

country whose main industries were timber and sugar cane.

In September, 1981, government-operated Radio Belize and the

nation's privately owned newspapers hailed independence and








3

free expression in a new Belize. The few television sets in

Belize at the time all were tuned to stations in other

countries. Belize had no national television service and no

local stations to report on the event.

The former colony of British Honduras had developed the

bare outlines of a plan for national television service as

independence approached. The People's United Party (PUP),

which would take control of the new nation, had promised

television service by the date of the next elections,

expected in 1984 (Brogdon, 1986). As promised by the PUP,

television had arrived in Belize in 1984, but not as the

government had hoped or predicted. Government plans to

provide a national television service for the country's

citizens had not materialized. The television voice of

Belize throughout the 1980s carried an American accent, and

it has remained overwhelmingly American to this day. In

1995, satellite services provided up to 54 channels--mostly

American--on cable television systems in Belize City, and

from 10 to 35 channels in most other parts of the country.

Statement of the Problem

The major goal of this study is to determine whether

young people's sense of national identity in Belize is

associated with media exposure and dependency. Belizeans

listen to very popular government-affiliated radio stations

and read a variety of heavily political weekly newspapers.

American television is just one of the factors that may










affect media exposure and dependency because it may cause

young people to spend less time with Belizean media. In

addition, media exposure and dependency may have a very low

association with national identity in Belize.

Perhaps the mere presence and popularity of U.S.

television programs does not affect the national identity of

Belizean audiences, who may enjoy U.S. programs without

feeling that they are "alternative Americans." On the other

hand, young Belizeans may become dependent upon their mostly

American programs for socialization skills, information

about their world, and an orientation to their place in the

world. For example, one Canadian study found that young

Canadians who spent more time with American television were

more likely to perceive themselves as Americans and less

likely to perceive themselves as Canadians (Barnett &

McPhail, 1980). The stated problem in this research is

measuring media exposure and dependency and determining

their relationships to feelings of unity, national loyalty,

and Belizean nationality, summed up as "national identity."

Many developing countries use the mass media to build

loyalties to government and communicate with disparate

ethnic or language groups. The history of U.S. television

programs in Belize illustrates the importance of a rapid and

responsive government policy to regulate mass media in a

developing nation. Belize did not have a clear and

enforceable television policy at the time of its










independence. The national government also could not make

full use of its own media for national identity building

because it was handicapped by a lack of money to finance a

national television network. At a time when the newly

independent nation was working to build a "Belizean"

identity during the 1980s, practically all of its television

programming was produced by a foreign country.

The Arrival of Belize Television

During the summer months of 1981, an American

expatriate living in Belize City began selling program

decoders for a television service that would rebroadcast

satellite television from the United States. The first

satellite service went out to only 24 families, but a dozen

similar businesses popped up across Belize within the next

five years (Lent, 1989). Satellite rebroadcasts of U.S.

programming could reach about 75% of the population by the

mid-1980s (Mahler, 1987). The rapid spread of satellite

television coverage seemed to catch the government of Belize

by surprise. While the Belizean government was engaged in

nation building in the 1980s, entrepreneurs built a Central

American broadcasting system serving up U.S. television.

With satellite dishes pirating U.S. network feeds and

superstation broadcasts, young Belizeans became Chicago Cubs

fans and enjoyed Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Lakers

basketball. International television became part of the

local culture of Belize. Within a dozen years of U.S.










television's arrival, a Belizean newspaper editorial

complained that a school football match had been called off

because several players had stayed home to watch a

basketball playoff game on television (Wilk, 1993). A

national debate got underway over the benefits and problems

associated with U.S. television, and especially its

potential influence on young people. That debate has posed

some questions this research is designed to answer.

The first Prime Minister of Belize, PUP leader George

Price, believed that a feeling of national identity was

important in a new nation that included several ethnic and

language groups. During campaign appearances, the

charismatic Price evoked a "Central American destiny"

(Fernandez, 1989, p. 60). Price served two terms as Prime

Minister and lost twice to the opposition United Democratic

Party (UDP) of current Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel.

Price, who claims he has never owned a television, is

not enthusiastic about the medium's potential for improving

Belizean society. He opposed a television service in the

late 1970s, believing that television would show a world

unattainable for the average Belizean. When his party

endorsed a television service, he hoped it would be used for

development journalism, education, and other services that

would promote what he saw as the public good.

Price believes radio is an effective medium for the

kind of communication that promotes nation building. He has










said he reads local newspapers and listens to radio to find

out about national affairs (G. C. Price, personal

communication, January 7, 1992). If Belizeans shared

Price's dream of what their country should be, they might

reject foreign television in favor of media products with a

more nationalistic flavor, but Belizeans seem to enjoy both

their national radio service and the window on the world

provided by U.S. television. With an estimated television

penetration of 75% by 1987, most Belizeans enjoyed daily

U.S. television as well as the ubiquitous accents of Radio

Belize in English, Spanish, and Creole.

National radio and television broadcasting give a

country a "national voice" even if that voice includes a

variety of ethnic and language programs, as Belizean

national radio does. The two main sources of program

material for television in Belize are the United States and

Mexico, although Belizean material is beginning to be used.

In 1995, some Belizean viewers could choose between two

locally produced, half-hour evening newscasts reporting on

events from around Belize.

Just how many Belizeans see these programs is not

known, not even by the people who produce them. Audience

survey techniques are quite unsophisticated in Belize. One

television station's managing director who said he had done

some public opinion polling in Belize reported having a

"good idea" of how far his station's tower transmits










programs to the immediate area around Belize City, but no

highly accurate estimates of total viewers (S. Krohn,

personal communication, January 18, 1995).

Despite some increases in locally originated programs,

the relatively small amount of television material produced

within Belize represents a national television "voice" that

at present is little more than a whisper. Channel 5 and

Channel 7 in Belize City present daily half-hour newscasts,

so the presence of "national" television is growing, but

these newscasts cannot be received in all parts of Belize.

Television is widely available, but the thousands of hours

Belizean teenagers have spent watching television have been

largely a journey outside their country and culture. Among

the questions asked by this research is whether spending a

great amount of time with foreign television weakens

feelings of national identity by creating a "television

identity" or cultural identity with another country.

Belize's "Television Generation"

Young people were chosen for this research because they

are the first "television generation" in Belize as well as

the first generation of post-colonial Belizeans. In this

research, young people are defined as those between the ages

of 12 and 21. Individuals in this age group face a decision

about whether to stay in Belize or migrate to another

country after completing their education because Belize










lacks a four-year, liberal arts university system and

suffers from high unemployment among young people.

It is no exaggeration to state that this "television

generation" will shape the future of Belize; an estimated

70% of the country's population in 1985 was younger than 24

(Central Statistical Office, 1985). Most young people in

Belize have been exposed to a decade or more of American

television. Their exposure occurred during government

efforts to build a grassroots sense of national identity and

pride in "being Belizean." The larger, more immediate, and

perhaps more vivid world opened up by television may

interfere with the process of identification with their own

nation.

A strong sense of national identity has been a

foundation of powerful states throughout history. As the

historian Will Durant (1944) explained in his study of the

lengthy lifespan of the Roman Republic (508-49 B.C.):

"Perhaps it endured because of the proud patriotism

formed in the home, the school, the temple, the army, the

Assembly, and the Senate. Devotion to the state marked the

zenith of the Republic (p. 35).

Of course, the Romans of the Republic had no television

to interfere with their devotion to the state. In more

modern times, those who hope to shape or change conceptions

of national identity also hope to control all the elements

of how national identity is portrayed, including media








10

portrayals of national life. Egypt's Minister of Education

reports that Islamic fundamentalists are trying to promote a

pan-Islamic identity by barring students from singing the

Egyptian national anthem and preventing them from saluting

the Egyptian flag. According to the minister, Dr. Hussein

Kamel Baha Al-Din, the fundamentalists disapprove of drama,

media, the theater and the arts. "There was to be no

[Egyptian] national identity--only an Islamic one," the

minister said of the continuing fundamentalist pressure on

national traditions in the 1990s (Weaver, 1995, p. 64).

The same type of concerns about media impacts on

national identity have been heard for many years in Belize.

Influential Belizeans have said that television is a

powerful source of foreign influence with a possibly

negative impact on Belizean life. In the 1980s, Said Musa,

the Belizean minister of Education, Sports and Culture,

worried about the influence of U.S. television as he

addressed a UNESCO conference:

Today we experience the phenomenon of having
direct U.S. satellite TV broadcasts in our homes
24 hours a day. This explosion of television
and its cultural implications is thrusting upon
Belizeans an awareness of the opportunities
presented while at the same time challenging us
with an urgent responsibility to ensure the
integrity of our culture. (Bolland, 1986, p. 63)

Musa's statement indicates a belief in television's

power to portray opportunities not available to many

Belizean viewers. Foreign television pictures of the world

beyond Belize often show the attractive opportunities the








11

minister worried about in the 1980s as a threat to Belizean

national culture. The object of this research was to

collect information from Belizean young people about their

media exposure, media preferences for information, and media

dependencies in an effort to assess the impact of their

media use on feelings of national identity.

Rationale for the Study

The rationale for this study was to develop a better

understanding of the relationship between media--foreign

media in particular--and national identity among young

people in a developing country. It was necessary to always

keep in mind that local and national media also play a role

in socialization and that the measurable personal influences

of all mass media may be weak and subject to varying

interpretations depending on the variables measured (Potter,

1994). Despite these challenges, research on mass media and

national identity relationships in a developing country

offers a productive examination of communication theories

such as media imperialism in former colonial countries

(e.g., Schiller, 1989).

If nothing else, global television may teach young

people a visual language every viewer must learn to gain

meaning from television (Altheide & Snow, 1979). How much

audiences learn from foreign television and how foreign

messages influence individual viewers are questions many

leaders in developing nations would like to have answered.










For instance, the great populations of China, India, and

Bangladesh are seeing increasing amounts of foreign

television content in the 1990s, especially from the United

States (Auletta, 1993; Foote, 1993).

One anthropologist who has studied Central America for

more than 20 years believes television has made the world

outside Belize accessible in a way that Belize Radio and the

nation's weekly newspapers have not. According to his

research, satellite television created a sense of real time

participation in many events beyond the borders of Belize

and a sense of citizenship in what may be called the "global

television world."

The growing popularity of foreign television has some

Belizeans claiming that "our national identity is

disappearing" (Wilk, 1989, p. 10). According to this view

of media use, Belizeans enjoy only the option of turning

their televisions on or off; all other media choices already

are media-supplied. This conclusion by some Belizeans seems

difficult to support in a country where local radio is

extremely popular and newspaper sales are high in relation

to most developed countries. For example, one survey found

that 96% of young people reported that Belize radio stations

were their favorite radio sources (Elliott, 1992).

The true impact of foreign television in Belize is

unknown. Media research in Belize has ignored the issue of

television's interaction with national identity creation and










maintenance. Studies of Belizean public opinion about

television have not included national identity as a key

dependent variable although a few studies measured

constructs such as desire to buy foreign products or to

emigrate to the United States (Oliveira, 1986; Roser,

Snyder, & Chaffee, 1986).

The time spent with television may create a more

attractive picture of the rest of the world and a less

attractive picture of Belize and its culture. On the other

hand, television may give young people in Belize a view of a

much more dangerous and frightening world when compared with

the relatively peaceful life they share in Belize. Still

another possibility is that young Belizeans may use

television to build an even stronger sense of national

identity by sharing and discussing information they have

seen on television and comparing it with their own

experiences. Without empirical evidence, assuming that

television is a positive or negative force in national

identity is only speculation.

To examine these issues, the key variables measured in

this study are (1) the amounts of individual exposure to and

dependency on newspaper, magazine, radio, television, and

interpersonal sources of information both from within Belize

and from outside the country, and (2) the strength of a

sense of national identity, the criterion variable for this

study. Measuring exposure and dependency patterns for both










Belize and foreign media creates an opportunity to compare

the media relationships of young people who are locally

oriented versus those who may see themselves as globally

oriented.

Summary

Foreign television, especially the U.S. programs that

are pervasive in Belize, may weaken the national identity of

young Belizeans by offering a rosy portrayal of life

elsewhere. On The Cosby Show, for example, a middle-class

black family enjoys a very comfortable and materialistic

life that some Belizean young people may believe is the

prevailing standard in the United States. On the other

hand, television may portray a more dangerous and

frightening world outside Belize that strengthens young

people's positive feelings about their country.

Negative information about the United States may arrive

in the form of either television news or entertainment

programs. As an example, the very popular and highly rated

television series Roots portrayed the struggle of a black

family enslaved by whites, emphasizing the historic conflict

between black and white people in the American South. U.S.

movies such as In the Heat of the Night also focus on racial

conflicts between white and black Americans. Even the daily

news broadcasts to Belize of the O.J. Simpson trial

emphasized present day U.S. racial conflicts.








15

American television entertainment programs present both

a positive and negative picture of ethnic conflict rather

than the cooperative ethnic policy stressed by the Belizean

national government and written into the constitution of

Belize. U.S. television news broadcasts also present a

variety of pictures of economic and educational

opportunities in the United States. Which picture of life

outside Belize are Belizean young people most likely to

accept and how do information sources, both interpersonal

and mass media sources, correlate with feelings of national

or "global" identity?

In this research, very positive feelings of national

identity are expected to reflect greater commonality with

Belize than with other countries. Stronger feelings of

"being Belizean" are expected from those who rely heavily on

Belize radio and newspapers for information than from those

who are heavily television reliant. It is important to

remember that foreign television programs do not operate in

a vacuum in Belize. Other media and interpersonal sources

of information also play key roles in shaping national

identity.

Viewers in the northern part of the country can receive

television programs from Mexico, while some viewers in

southern Belize can receive programs from Guatemala and

Honduras. Young people also read U.S. newspapers and

magazines and publications from neighboring Central American








16

countries. They also communicate with relatives and friends

in these countries, including the United States.

This research will measure the media exposure, media

uses, media dependencies, and feelings of national identity

among young people in Belize. The survey respondents have

spent their lives watching mostly U.S. television, while

growing up in the new nation of Belize, listening to Belize

radio, and reading newspapers from Belize. The object of

this research is to compare the associations between both

foreign and national media and feelings of national

identity.














CHAPTER 2
BELIZE MEDIA


An outline of the media climate in Belize at the time

of this research provides a basis for understanding the

hypothesized relationships between media and national

identity that will be proposed later. Predictor, or

independent, variables in this research include individual

exposure to and dependency on newspapers, magazines, radio,

television, and interpersonal sources of information from

within and outside of Belize. The criterion variable of

national identity is defined and discussed thoroughly in the

review of literature that follows this chapter.

This section is not intended as a complete history of

the media in Belize, but as a guide to the regulatory

climate and media mix leading up to 1995. Belizean media

did not arrive overnight, so some discussion of the

development of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television

is necessary to give context to this research. An

examination of events leading up to the Belize Broadcasting

and Television Act of 1983 seems particularly important in

understanding how U.S. television programs quickly dominated

Belize broadcasting.










Even the casual observer of broadcast regulation can

appreciate how the writing of a regulatory framework for

television two years after the arrival of foreign programs

exemplifies government reaction rather than carefully

planned action. The rapid spread of television around the

country before regulations could be written demonstrates how

developing countries can be overwhelmed by what has been

called a "global American electronic invasion" (Schiller,

1970, p. 79).

The Influence of National Independence

The Belizean government's slow reaction to the sudden

appearance of television can be explained in part by the

near simultaneous arrival of independence and foreign

programming. The new government had to deal with a wide

range of important issues; broadcast regulation was not in

the forefront of the national consciousness when

independence came in 1981. Government inaction in

regulating television service appeared to give a silent

blessing to private entrepreneurs who continued to buy

equipment and expand cable services in the early 1980s

(Brogdon, 1986). By the time the Belizean government got

involved in broadcast regulation aimed at television, the

idea of a government-operated television service along the

lines of Radio Belize had all but ceased to exist.

Understanding the Belize media climate in 1995 also

requires an appreciation of the popularity and pervasiveness










of radio, especially government-operated Radio Belize and

Friends FM. Radio Belize became a national institution in a

country with no national newspaper, no daily newspapers, and

a poor network of roads that made internal travel difficult.

Radio was an obvious and inexpensive solution to many mass

communication problems. In the 29 years between its

beginnings and the arrival of national independence, Radio

Belize provided emergency information for people in remote

areas, announced deaths and personal messages across the

country, and provided news, music, and entertainment in

English, Spanish, Creole, and Mayan dialects. By the early

1970s, the number of radios in Belize was greater than the

number of households and radio was a very popular national

voice (Setzekorn, 1981).

Finally, the rapid arrival of satellite television from

the United States, combined with the unchecked expansion of

local cable systems in an unregulated market, added a very

popular and exotically foreign flavor to the media mix in

Belize. The modern forces of technology and private

enterprise moved into a country with a culture steeped in

tradition and top-down colonial rule. The arrival of

American satellite television in a nation with poor

infrastructure, many isolated villages, and a largely

colonial culture brought along the clash of modern and

traditional values commonly observed in developing countries

around the world.








20
In a nation where neither radio nor newspapers used any

of the world's major newswire services, television threw

open a sharply visual window to major world events. The

young people of Belize began to share the same television

programs and visual culture as their contemporaries in the

United States. Evidence of a change in taste toward

American popular culture is found among Belizean high school

students in 1995 who enjoy Chicago Bulls games on cable

television and ask American visitors about the progress of

the O.J. Simpson trial.

Press Theory and Belize

Press theories commonly include perspectives on how

national media reflect the social and political systems in

place within the country under study (Altachull, 1984;

Lowenstein & Merrill, 1990; Picard, 1983; Siebert, Peterson,

& Schramm, 1956; Sussman, 1983). One of the earliest media

theory systems classified media as either authoritarian,

libertarian, social responsibility, or Soviet Communist

(Siebert et al., 1956). Belize fits within the libertarian

tradition of private ownership of a press with its rights

guaranteed by law. The same statement could have been made

at the time of Belizean independence.

Oliveira (1990) said the climate of laissez-faire

relations between government and the press in Belize

suggests a combination of the libertarian and social

responsibility models described by Seibert et al. (1956),










but he concluded that the libertarian model best fits the

media in Belize. Long before independence in 1981, Belize

followed a democratic, constitutional path, with the

introduction of universal adult suffrage in 1954 and a

ministerial system in 1960 (Fernandez, 1989). The country

formally adopted an internal self-government constitution in

1964, followed by independence 17 years later.

Belize in 1995 was a constitutional monarchy, with the

British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, serving as head of

state. The queen is represented by a governor-general who

appoints a prime minister from within the House of

Representatives. The governor-general appoints the prime

minister on the basis of that person's ability to command a

majority of the members of the House, but in practice the

prime minister is the leader of the majority party.

With a government consisting of a popularly elected

House of Representatives and a relatively balanced two-party

system, Belize represents stable democratic traditions in an

area where democracies have a somewhat checkered history.

Central America reflects a tradition of coups, military

leadership, and great disparities between rich and poor, but

Belize presents a picture of stability (Fernandez, 1989).

The constitutional guarantees of free expression, assembly,

and association in Belize are among the criteria used to

assess the strength of democracy in Latin American countries

(Johnson & Kelly, 1986). Belize measures up very well as a










democratic country according to these criteria, which also

include the relative freedom of Belizean mass media.

The press in Belize has a history of partisanship, but

it is free to criticize the government. Publishers seem to

enjoy excoriating government figures, even at the risk of

appearing biased to their readers (Harmon, 1988). Radio has

been dominated by the government-operated Broadcasting

Corporation of Belize, but a few privately owned stations

began to appear in the 1990s. Television began as a

freewheeling entrepreneurial activity operating with few

government restrictions and ineffective enforcement of

existing rules (Weaver, 1993). On the whole, very few

restrictions on media ownership exist, and media in Belize

function within the libertarian press tradition.

The Media Climate in Belize

In 1995, Belize offered a media-rich environment to a

highly literate audience. National literacy was estimated

at 93% (World Almanac, 1995) and most Belizeans enjoyed easy

access to television, radio, newspapers, and a few Belizean

magazines. In a developing country with a relatively low

annual per capital gross domestic product of $1,635 (U.S.),

the average Belizean was not wealthy when compared with the

typical citizen in neighboring Mexico, where economic

conditions were somewhat better ($3,600 annual GDP).

However, the typical Belizean could take pride in being

slightly better off than a citizen living across the western










border in Guatemala ($1,300 annual GDP), or a few miles to

the south in nearby Honduras ($1,090 annual GDP).

Despite this apparent poverty and a weak national

economy, Belize had at least 18 television and cable

services by the late 1980s, an average of one television

station for every 9,000 viewers, and one of the highest

rates of VCR ownership in the Western Hemisphere (Lent,

1990, 1991). In 1990, the nation's 209,000 citizens owned

an estimated 109,000 radios and 31,000 televisions, about

one television for every seven Belizeans (Europa World Year

Book, 1994). In 1994, Belize had nearly 21,000 telephones,

an average of one telephone for every 10 people, an INTELSAT

satellite earth station capable of receiving messages from

around the world, a shortwave station, six AM radio

stations, five PM stations, and a Voice of America relay

station broadcasting in both Spanish and English (CIA World

Factbook, 1994; Europa World Year Book, 1994).

No daily newspapers were published in Belize in 1995,

but citizens had access to several privately owned weeklies.

The weekly papers usually lined up either for or against one

of Belize's political parties. Magazines were less

plentiful than newspapers. Magazines about Belize typically

were published either by the government or by private

interests in the United States. Some American magazines

such as Time and Cosmopolitan could be found, but only after

some searching. Newsstands in Belize were rare; the weekly








24

papers were distributed by street vendors or sold over the

counter in stores that stocked only one or two stacks of

papers.

Newspapers

Modern day media development in Belize began with the

foundation of the weekly newspaper Belize Billboard in 1947

by George Price, who later became the nation's first Prime

Minister. Price used the newspaper as a platform to attack

colonial policies, promote his General Workers Union (GWU)

and assist in his political campaigns; he was first elected

to the Belize City Council in 1947 (Bolland, 1986). The

Belize Billboard began a tradition of extremely aggressive

partisan newspapers that continues in the newspapers

published today. The Belize Billboard became a daily in

1950 and an outspoken voice for the People's United Party

(PUP), emphasizing pro-American, pro-free enterprise, and

strongly anti-colonial policies (Oliveira, 1990).

The Belize Billboard ceased its association with the

PUP in 1956 and served as a critic of PUP policies until it

stopped publishing in 1973. The People's United Party soon

established a successor to the Belize Billboard, called The

Belize Times, in 1959. During the 1980s, the number of

weekly newspapers fluctuated between five and seven at any

given time, but these papers covered events from sharply

differing political viewpoints, serving mainly as political

organs (Barry, 1989). The Reporter claimed to be








25

independent, but generally supported positions of the PUP's

main opposition, the United Democratic Party (UDP) while

Amandala served as the voice of the Black Power Movement in

Belize (Oliveira, 1990).

Each paper has a history of holding to a strongly

political viewpoint, engaging in shrill name calling and

personal attacks. As an example, the British governor

ordered the arrest of the editors of The Sentinel in 1978

after the paper named him "asshole of the month" (Lent,

1989, p. 16). The seemingly unrestrained political rhetoric

has resulted in low press credibility among readers (Harmon,

1988).

By the 1980s, one public opinion survey of media use

and trust found newspapers were the least trusted

communication medium in Belize. Only 6% of respondents said

they trusted newspapers most, as compared with 25% who said

they trusted radio most and 54% who said they trusted

television most. Belize newspapers were named the least

trusted medium by 71% of respondents, as compared with 8%

for radio, 6% for magazines, and 5% for television (Harmon,

1988).

Despite their partisan stance, the newspapers of Belize

appear to serve as a force for building national identity

because they follow politics very closely and maintain a

consistent editorial stance, in much the same manner as

early newspapers during the American colonial period.








26

Because newspapers follow a party viewpoint with a partisan

voice, they function as checks on the party in power.

Readers jarred by the sharply political and often nakedly

subjective news angles found on front pages of Belizean

newspapers may compare them with colonial American

newspapers like Sam Adams' Independent Advertiser, which

regularly attacked the ruling British colonial government in

the mid-1700s as a "prerogative party" with an "itch for

riding the Beasts of the People" (Unger, 1992, p. 108).

The lead sentence of a 1995 front page story in The

Belize Times gives the flavor of the modern-day Belizean

press. As the voice of the PUP, The Belise Times misses few

opportunities to criticize the ruling United Democratic

Party of Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel. Under the

headline, "Speaker assaults Ms Ali," the lead sentence read:

"The Speaker of the House of Representatives, BQ Pitts, who

was attorney for one of the accused drug dealers in the

biggest cocaine haul in Belize, on Friday, January 13,

physically assaulted and abused BELIZE TIMES photographer

Marion Ali" ("Speaker assaults," 1995).

The "black power" newspaper Amandala also gave similar

front-page coverage to the House Speaker's alleged attack on

the photographer, calling it "an embarrassing, ugly

incident" ("Black Friday reshuffle," 1995). In contrast,

the pro-UDP newspaper The People's Pulse used its front page

to cover a restructuring of Prime Minister Esquivel's










cabinet and the opening of the 1995 Supreme Court session.

No mention of the alleged photographer assault appeared in

The People's Pulse, which bills itself as "the heartbeat of

Belize."

Belizeans who want a break from the heavily political

content of their weekly papers can buy the international

edition of The Miami Herald, flown in each morning from

Florida. The Herald's international edition is available in

Belize City and in many resort areas only hours after it is

printed in Miami. Despite its same-day publication

schedule, the newspaper is not available throughout the

country. Citizens in far western Belize might go for months

at a time without seeing a foreign newspaper.

The content of Belizean and foreign newspapers is very

different. While most Belize newspapers covered political

wrangling over their House Speaker's actions in mid-January,

1995, the Herald headlined rising interest rates in the

U.S., an earthquake in Japan, and the O.J. Simpson trial,

complete with a front page picture of Simpson and one of his

jury consultants. The Herald used wire service reports from

many other countries, while the typical Belize newspaper's

coverage of international events was very limited.

Belizean weekly papers published in 1995 included

Amandala, The Belize Times, The People's Pulse, Reporter,

The Alliance, and the government's press offering,

Government Gazette. News in all the papers published in








28

Belize carried a local slant. Historically, Belize papers

have not used stories from the international newswires

because of the cost of the service (Oliveira, 1990).

International news coverage rarely appears, although some

stories are reprinted from The Miami Herald's international

edition or occasionally from other large U.S. papers such as

The New York Times.

Magazines

While Americans may choose from dozens of magazine

titles found in almost any convenience market or bookstore,

the situation is far different in Belize. Locally produced

general circulation news and feature magazines simply do not

exist in Belize. Government publications such as Belize

Today are read mostly by other journalists as a source of

statistical data for news reports (Oliveira, 1990). A

survey of media use by Harmon (1988) found that Belizeans

got most of their news from television (48%) and radio

(34%); only 2% reported getting most of their news from

magazines.

Magazines published in Belize provide a negligible

portion in the nation's popular media mix. The Belize

Information Service prints Belize Today, a monthly

government publication mailed free of charge to a large

number of journalists and other interested subscribers.

Belize Review ($4.50 BZ), a privately owned slick-cover

monthly, leans heavily toward environmental features,










billing itself as dedicated to "environmental education,

conservation and ecotourism." The magazine, published in

Belize City, appears to target an international audience,

with maps of tourist destinations and articles on parks,

wildlife, and biological diversity.

The monthly Belise Currents ($3.95 BZ) publishes not in

Belize, but in Memphis, Tennessee. Its content focuses on

government information and features about business, trade,

and commerce in Belise, hardly topics of popular interest to

a general audience. The quarterly Belise Magazine ($4.95

BZ) publishes from Nashville, Tennessee, with editorial

offices in Pensacola, Florida. Both Belize Currents and

Belize Magazine feature lavish, full-color photo layouts

promoting diving, hiking, and ecotourism. Both are filled

with advertisements for resorts, banks, lodges, and travel

companies.

The lack of general-interest Belizean magazines,

combined with a partisan press low in objectivity, appears

to discourage many citizens from reading Belize newspapers

and periodicals. In two separate surveys during a two-year

period, Harmon (1988) found that 27X and 35% of respondents

in Belize said they had read no newspapers or magazines

during the preceding week, an indication of low interest in

locally produced print media. Young people appeared to

follow the national trend of low interest in most newspapers

and magazines. Elliott (1992) found that only half of high










school age respondents reported reading a newspaper during

the past week. Only 16X said they read a newspaper from

another country during a typical week.

Newspaper circulation rates historically hovered

between 3,500 and 5,000 (Lent, 1989; Oliveira, 1990), but by

1995, the circulation of Amandala had grown to 8,500

(Willings Press Guide, 1994). Most papers do not report

their circulation figures, but Asandala's 8,500 copies in a

nation of just over 200,000 people is remarkable. The

largest U.S. newspapers publish about 2 million copies

daily; an American circulation similar to that of Amandala

would require a press run of about 11 million copies. With

one of the highest literacy rates in the Third World, the

Belizean print media command public attention, but from a

very discriminating audience. Some followed the print media

very closely, carefully scrutinizing stories by topic; some

ignored newspapers and magazines altogether.

Radio

For most of its history, government-operated Radio

Belize enjoyed a virtual monopoly on broadcasting inside the

country. Belizeans could pick up some AM signals and

shortwave broadcasts from outside their borders, but within

Belize, no other choices existed. The national radio

service began in 1952 as British Honduras Broadcasting,

using a British financial grant, equipment, and personnel

(Lent, 1989). During the 1960s, the station switched to a










semi-commercial operational structure supervised by the

Broadcasting Corporation of Belize (BCB) and airing paid

advertising. During the 1970s Radio Belize continued to

function as an AM-only service, on the air from 6 a.m. to 11

p.m., playing music that ranged from classic American

popular songs to reggae selections.

At the time of national independence, Radio Belize

broadcast from 5 a.m. until 12 p.m., mostly in English and

Spanish, offering a diversity of programs that gave a

multicultural flavor to its schedule (Oliveira, 1990).

Radio announcers often showed off a fluency in English,

Spanish and Creole, mixing Mexican music with U.S. hits and

a variety of song styles from the West Indies. Radio Belize

in 1995 moved seamlessly from English to Spanish to Creole,

from music to talk shows, from rap to religion, including

weather, obituaries, and local announcements in a potpourri

of styles. The station has maintained a strong emphasis on

grassroots programming that includes agricultural

information, local news, and public affairs.

For financial reasons, Radio Belize never has

subscribed to outside newswire services, which are

considered too costly. The station has depended on the

British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of America

for its news and actualities about international events.

This agreement allows the BCB to air rewritten reports from

the BBC and the VOA under a mutual use agreement (Oliveira,








32

1990; Patrick Jones, personal communication, June 26, 1995).

The lack of ties to international wire services creates an

emphasis on local and national radio news. At Radio Belize,

station personnel produce a number of nationally oriented

programs such as A Current Affair that include a mix of

music, information about government, and advice on styles

and fashions. The radio "voice" of Belize also carries a

distinctly local tone in its newscasts.

Radio service expanded at the time of independence and

the introduction of foreign television, adding FM

broadcasting to the existing AM service and delivering

stereo FM in some areas (Lent, 1989). The old Radio Belize

split into "Friends FM" and "Radio One" on the AM band.

After independence, the programming seemed to fit more than

ever in the mold that American broadcasting consultants

often call "news you can use." Correspondents in each of

the country's six districts contributed agricultural news,

personal messages, and general interest news, from changes

in bus schedules to soccer matches, political gatherings,

and dances (Oliveira, 1990).

After satellite-based television began to expand, the

radio service responded by placing an even stronger emphasis

on local content. Lent (1991) reported that Radio One, the

government's AM radio service, reacted to foreign television

by making 75% of all shows local and by programming 60%

Caribbean and Central American music. Radio One also










carried programs for a variety of cultural and ethnic

groups. By the late 1980s, Radio One included programs like

The Ketchi Show, Mopan Maya Show, and The Garifuna Show in

its weekly schedule (Belize Radio One Programme Supplement,

1988). The Ketchi, Mopan, and Garifuna are among the many

indigenous groups in Belize.

The Bahai Viewpoint, What's New at the Zoo, The Top Ten

in Spanish, Al Habla con la Gente del Campo, Death

Announcements, Showers of Blessings, and Reggae Uprising

illustrate the variety of radio programming available. Most

of the programs on the two government-operated radio

stations in the 1990s continued to emphasize music, but many

of the popular songs from the United States were replaced by

a more indigenous sound, including reggae and rap music in

both Spanish and English. Many of the records played on the

AM station in 1995, which had changed its name once again

from Radio One back to Radio Belize, were simply cover

versions of American songs done by Caribbean and Central

American singers. Despite the lack of originality in the

music, the American accents on the records were replaced by

Central American and Caribbean accents for a more "local"

sound.

The emphasis on locally originated radio in the 1990s

included a lengthy BCB series of live broadcasts from around

Belize to spotlight local culture. The series, called

Village Life, included broadcasts originating from points as










distant as the village of Big Falls in southern Belize and

tiny Progresso in northern Belize. The live broadcasts

focused on people, culture, traditions and customs in the

villages of Belize (P. E. Jones, personal communication,

January 18, 1995). The Village Life programs, which have

been popular in the past, based their appeal on the same

kind of traditions and folklore of Belize that may be

disappearing in the age of global communication.

Competition from commercial stations in the 1990s has

added to the pressure on Radio Belize and Friends PM to

deliver a popular product. The monopoly position of the

government-owned radio services is gone (Table 1). A list

of radio broadcasters obtained from the Belize Broadcasting

Authority included several privately owned stations that now

compete for audiences with the Broadcasting Corporation of

Belize.

The number of radio stations in Belize fluctuates as

private owners get into the broadcasting business and

sometimes leave quickly. One television station manager

said all Belizean broadcasters face a struggle for limited

advertising dollars; Belize has few businesses that can

afford broadcast advertising (Marie Hoare, telephone

interview, June 10, 1994). The privately owned radio

stations face an uphill battle to change the habits of

Belizeans who grew up listening to Radio Belize.











Table 1. Belize Radio Stations--1995.

Name Location Assignment

Radio Belize (AM) Belize City 830 khz

Radio Belize (AM) Punta Gorda 910 khz

Friends FM Belize City 88.9 Mhz

Estereo Amor (FM) Belize City 97.9 Mhz

FM 2000 Belize City 90.5 Mhz

Love FM Orange Walk 107.1 Mhz

My Refuge (FM) Belmopan 93.7 Mhz

Radio KREM (FM) Belize City 96.5 Mhz

South 103.3 (FM) Punta Gorda 103.3 Mhz

(Sources: Belize Broadcasting Authority, Belize City;
Belize Public Information Office, Belmopan)



A 1991 BCB survey of listeners in Belise City and

outlying areas indicated that two-thirds of the respondents

preferred Friends FM over other stations and 92% were

satisfied with the music variety provided by Radio Belize

and Friends FM. In addition, 70% of those polled said they

were satisfied with local news provided by BCB (Broadcasting

Corporation of Belize Survey, 1991). While a BCB survey

reporting satisfaction with BCB news and programming may be

somewhat suspect, radio is extremely popular in Belize, and

the BCB stations have a long history of popularity with

local audiences. In 1995, Radio Belize and Friends FM

continued to dominate radio broadcasting in Belize.










Television

At the time of its independence in 1981, Belize

reluctantly nurtured an infant television industry based on

pirated American programs. The first seeds of television

development were planted in 1978, when an American named

Robert Landis began selling videocassette recorders to a few

Belizeans and mailing them a selection of tapes from Miami.

American expatriate Emory King launched the next step toward

broadcast television in Belize by buying an earth station,

taping U.S. television programs, and renting out the tapes

to VCR owners (Lent, 1989). King applied to the government

of Belize for permission to telecast his programs, but was

turned down.

Television broadcasting began in 1981, when American

expatriate Arthur Hoare built the second earth station in

Belize and rebroadcast U.S. programs without the license

mandated by the Belize Telecommunication Authority Ordinance

of 1972. Hoare also built a 110-foot tower and began

broadcasting to two dozen families who had paid $4,000 BZ

($2,000 U.S.) for a lifetime of television (Brogdon, 1986).

Hoare's success in defying the law requiring a license to

broadcast is credited to the bureaucratic inefficiency

caused by the pressures of dealing with independence,

Hoare's potentially important friends in government,

uncertainty about whether the laws of Belise actually

applied to the receptions of broadcast satellite







37

transmissions, and government apathy toward a situation that

involved only a few wealthy families (Lent, 1989).

When a clever Belize City television technician figured

out how to tune in Hoare's over-the-air signals without

paying for them, the Pandora's box of television in Belize

was opened, never to be closed. Soon, Belize City

television owners were paying a bargain fee to have their

televisions adjusted to pick up Hoare's signal, and the

rapid spread of television began (Oliveira, 1990). Once it

became affordable to have a television set up to receive the

broadcast signals going out over Belize City, more Beliseans

saw a practical reason to invest in televisions.

The Belizean government, dominated at the time by the

People's United Party (PUP), had promised in a 1979

manifesto to deliver television before the next national

election, set for 1984 (Brogdon, 1986). Because national

independence was a top priority, nothing had been done to

provide television when receiving antennas began popping up

around Belize City in 1982. The government had no

legislation to regulate the importation of satellite

television, but considered the importation and sale of

satellite signals illegal. To fill the legal gap, the PUP

Cabinet drafted the Broadcasting and Television Act of 1983,

creating a seven-member Belize Broadcasting Authority (BBA),

composed of industry representatives, journalists, and

citizens.










The legislation required both radio and television

stations to apply to the BBA for a license. The BBA would

pass license applications on to a minister of

communications. Failure to comply with broadcast

regulations could bring a fine of $5,000 and up to 12 months

in prison (Broadcasting and Television Act, 1983).

When the Broadcasting and Television Act was passed, many

Belizeans seemed to believe that they might soon have a

national television industry that would compete with

imported television from the United States.

"We just don't have funds for local television," the

Attorney General of Belize said in 1984. "That does not

mean that we will just let the satellite services take our

place" (Brogdon, 1986, p. 119). While private satellite

television services continued to grow, the government

television presence failed to materialize, even when the

strongly pro-television United Democratic Party (UDP) won

the 1984 elections and took over from the PUP. Many UDP

members felt that the PUP had dominated broadcasting through

control of Radio Belize and feared government control of a

television station, which might cost $1 million to launch.

"The best they can do is try to intersperse local

programs with the satellite programs," representative Philip

Goldson said in 1984 (Brogdon, 1986, p. 122). Goldson

turned out to be a prophet. Belize television in 1995

followed the pattern Goldson predicted, with local










programming slipped in between long intervals of foreign

content. No national television presence in the mold of

Radio Belize seems likely to appear.

The government's lack of planning and enthusiasm for

television, the stresses of independence, a lack of public

funds, and a non-existent regulatory framework for satellite

signals allowed a privately owned system of television

broadcasting in Belize. Some stations had been operating

for several years by the time they were licensed in 1986.

By 1987, at least 12 Belizean earth stations pirated United

States television for transmission around the country and

television continued to grow in popularity among the

population (Lent, 1989).

As to the legality of pirating U.S. television

programs, the Belizeans who imported American satellite

television in Belize had reasons to believe they were doing

nothing wrong. One of the pioneers of satellite television

in Belize wrote to a number of U.S. broadcasters to explain

that he was recording their programs on videocassettes and

renting them out. He was told that under the terms of the

INTELSAT treaty, of which the U.S. was a signatory, member

countries could not sell their programming outside national

borders (Weaver, 1993). Another television pioneer said the

Belizean government knew he was importing a television

broadcasting tower and other equipment. By allowing him to

accept the import duties on the equipment that would be used








40

to bring foreign programming into Belize, a tacit government

approval of his operation appeared to be given (Brogdon,

1986).

In 1986, the Belize Broadcasting Authority called for

licensed television stations to air at least 1% locally

produced programming, but the requirement was not enforced

because stations claimed the programming was not available

(Lent, 1989). Since that time, local production and

audience access to local programming have improved. Several

private channels were on the air by the early 1990s,

including Channel 7 (Tropical Vision), Channel 9 (CTV),

Channel 13 (religious), Channel 5 (Great Belize Television),

and Channel 3, a short-lived government television operation

(Weaver, 1993).

In 1995, some Belizeans could choose from two competing

evening newscasts on Channel 5 and Channel 7. A handful of

locally produced talk shows such as Lauren Da Nite, which

spotlighted Belizean culture, and One On One With Dickie

Bradley also aired regularly. News operations at the

government's television effort, BCB-operated Channel 3, had

been suspended in 1994, a casualty of faulty equipment and

high costs (Trevor Jeffries, telephone interview, June 10,

1994). Some cable outlets carried programming produced in

Belize City, or even short programs produced and edited for

cable use only. The Belize Broadcasting Authority listed 12










television stations authorized to operate as of January,

1995 (Table 2).

Television in Belize continued to present an

overwhelmingly American influence in 1995, but local

production had made great strides since the arrival of U.S.

programs in an unregulated atmosphere 14 years earlier. The

availability of competing local newscasts in the nation's

capital, the beginnings of locally produced programming, and

the growth of cable outlets to carry the programming hint at


Table 2. Belize Television Stations--1995.


Name

Baymen Broadcasting Network

Tropical Vision Ltd.

Good News Covenant

Great Belize Television

Broadcasting Corp. of Belize

Centaur Communications Corp.

Northern Broadcasting System

Tropical Vision Ltd.

SEN

San Pedro Television Ltd.

Valley Vision TV Ltd.

SBS Television


Location

Belize City

Belize City

Belize City

Belize City

Belize City

Orange Walk

Orange Walk

Belmopan

San Ignacio

Ambergris Caye

Stann Creek

Corozal


(Source: Belize Broadcasting Authority, Belize City)


Assignment

Ch. 9 & 13

Ch. 7

Ch. 11

Ch. 5

Ch. 3

Ch. 3

Ch. 8 & 10

Ch. 12

Ch. 8

Ch. 2 & 4

Ch. 12

Ch. 2 & 13










an increased local television presence in years to come.

Despite the challenges of competing against the slick

production and special effects, professional actors, and the

much larger budgets characteristic of both U.S. and Mexican

television, programming in Belize was making progress in the

1990s.

Like station managers everywhere, those in Belize must

balance the income they can count on against the costs of

providing more attractions. In Belize, this situation is

exacerbated by a very limited advertiser base and extremely

strong competition. Despite the financial pinch, Channel

5's management planned to expand the reach of the station's

signal from the area around Belize City to most parts of the

country through a system of towers and cable system access:

We keep in pretty close touch with the community.
People watch our programming. We try to get more
and better local shows without stretching our
resources, and technically it will take less than
a year to reach a nationwide audience.
(Stewart Krohn, Channel 5 managing director,
personal communication, January 18, 1995)

Channel 7, the closest competitor to Channel 5, also

produces some local programs. The station's office manager

said her staff had produced several local programs in the

past year, including a show videotaped in a prison. She

said local material can compete successfully with television

from the United States because it provides content that is

of local interest and unavailable elsewhere (Hazel Vasquez,

personal communication, January 18, 1995).










Summary

The libertarian press model at work in Belize began

with a press centered on political movements and partisan

commentary, much like the colonial American press of the

1700s before U.S. independence. Just like the American

press, the Belizean press took root in a colonial society

ruled by the British Empire. Newspapers in Belize have

developed a different interpretation of journalistic

objectivity than that found in the United States, but they

also have a goal of serving as a watchdog over government.

Belize newspapers continue to be very partisan and privately

owned. The very few magazines published in Belize have

limited circulation. One is published by the government.

Radio in Belize followed a social responsibility model,

set up under British rule with government sponsorship and

operated under government supervision. The tradition of

government help and sponsorship continued after

independence, although radio did accept advertising and

operate in a semi-commercial manner. Radio Belize combined

a development journalism model with the strong popular

appeal of programs targeted to the many ethnic and language

groups in the country. The government also allowed

competition, even though it might have succeeded in barring

private ownership of radio or making such ownership

financially unsuccessful.








44

The libertarian tradition appears most strongly in the

development of television in Belize. Although the

government had plans to develop its own television service,

it never acted to halt private television broadcasting, even

when many Cabinet ministers felt that satellite television

without licensing was illegal. The laissez-faire attitude

toward the press in Belize allowed private television

ownership to make public television financially untenable

and politically unpopular.

Today, television in Belize is changing very slowly

from its almost totally foreign content to more locally

produced material, but the change has more to do with market

forces than government regulation. Government has taken no

responsibility for helping Belize television operators

succeed against foreign competitors. When the government's

own television operation could not succeed, it simply closed

down, perhaps a classic case of how a libertarian press may

function in a developing country.

In summary, Belize newspapers and magazines carry

almost exclusively local content. Radio in Belize maintains

a tradition of exhaustive coverage of local and national

affairs, with little news of international events.

Television, by contrast, presents a powerful emphasis on

international news through channels such as CNN and other

U.S. networks, and practically non-existent coverage of

Belizean affairs. Some local television content has








45

appeared, and that content appears to be growing, but it is

still a weak national voice.

For these reasons, Belizeans who spend a lot of time

with satellite-imported television at the expense of other

national media such as radio and magazines may have a

different world view than those who spend most of their time

with Belize media. The imported television view is expected

to be generally "global" in nature. The Belize media view

is expected to lean toward the local. The relationship of

these media trends to feelings of national identity forms

the basis for this research study.














CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW


A focus on associations between national identity and

media exposure and dependency requires conceptualizations of

how national identity is formed, how it is defined, and how

media dependency theory has been operationalised. Previous

studies of the effects of media use and dependency in

cultures around the world also are relevant to the questions

addressed here. The literature reviewed in this chapter

covers (1) national identity formation and maintenance, (2)

individual media system dependency theory, and (3) previous

studies of media influence and effects.

The working assumption of this literature review is

that television's role in national identity formation and

maintenance in Belize has not been covered in previous

research. For this reason, the literature review is

accompanied by explanations of how the materials covered

apply to specific situations within Belize. A second

assumption is that the research results might be

generalizable to other countries dealing with the influences

of global mass media, especially television. A third

assumption is that the arrival of foreign television and

national independence in Belize at virtually the same time










created a model situation in which to study national

development and media development simultaneously.

The first conceptual approach examines some of the ways

national identity is communicated within a country.

Conceptualizing national identity formation as a

communications process follows the reasoning that people in

a new nation must learn in some way "who we are now."

Answers to citizen questions about who they really are and

how they may be expected to behave must be communicated. A

sense of national identity develops from that dialogue.

National Identity as Communications Strategy

A conceptual approach to national identity formation

developed by Atal (1985) emphasizes the role of all

communication from within and from outside national borders.

This approach views the basic issue facing nations emerging

from the colonial era as a communication problem. For

example, a new nation like Belize builds a stronger sense of

nationalism through a communications system of "apertures"

and "insulators," which allows both inflows and outflows

through a political system that functions as a membrane

(Atal, 1985, p. 6).

Insulators block out messages, ideas, and people.

Apertures control and regulate the inward flow of outside

influences. Tightening or restricting communications

apertures theoretically increases the interaction of

individuals and groups inside the political system by










reducing communication from outside the system. National

governments strive to find the proper balance of

communication within the country and from outside its

borders. Communication may be thought of as any interchange

of people, products, or ideas.

Atal classified language and ethnicity as effective

insulators within a political system. Language and

ethnicity can divide and insulate groups within a nation.

In a new nation, language and ethnicity differences may

follow a pattern of insularity encouraged by past colonial

governments to keep feelings of unity low. New nations must

use communications to break down patterns of insularity

within the country.

Atal (1985) coined the term "sandwich cultures" (p. 9)

to describe problems in nation building caused by groups

that may have migrated into an area, or who have carefully

maintained their culture, language, and ethos. India, for

example, is a culture of many sects and groups characterized

by low interaction. People from one caste may be forbidden

to speak to members of another caste. In Belize, the

Garifuna people from the Caribbean Islands and certain Maya

groups who moved into Belize after Mexico's Caste War in the

mid-1800s are examples of sandwich cultures with very

specialized customs (Foster, 1987). They have maintained

their language and many ancient customs into the space age.










The task of creating a nation is made easier when its

citizens already feel a sense of belonging together. If no

feeling of commonality exists, unity must become an

important national issue after a nation is formed (Weiner,

1972). A nation can be classified as the largest community

that commands a citizen's loyalty, the end product or outer

limits of a sense of solidarity between individuals

(Emerson, 1972).

Belize was culturally and ethnically very diverse at

the time of independence. Government leaders wanted to

create a stronger sense of unity and build national

solidarity. At independence in 1981, the Belizean

population was about 40% Creole; 33% Mestizo; 8% Garifuna,

often referred to as Black Caribs; 7% Maya; 4% white; with a

remainder made up of indigenous groups, East Indians,

Chinese, Syrians and others (Bolland, 1986). Creole and

Spanish were important languages, although an estimated 80%

of the population could speak English. Like many countries

emerging from colonialism, Belize was a multicultural,

multi-ethnic society.

Conceptualizing Communication

The conceptual approach of apertures and insulators can

be applied to the arrival of Belizean independence.

According to Atal (1985), apertures and insulators operate

on both internal and external communications. For Belize,

national independence increased contacts with many nations,










but worsened relations with neighboring Guatemala, which

shared the longest border with Belize. Guatemala also held

a claim of sovereignty over Belize that dated back to 18th

century treaties between the British and Spanish empires

(Dobson, 1973). Guatemalan maps showed Belize as a part of

Guatemala and invasions were threatened on several

occasions. The Guatemalan claim served as an insulator

because Guatemala was the only nation not to recognize

Belizean independence. The two nations had no diplomatic

relations until 1991 (Europa World Year Book, 1994).

Independence continued the Belisean isolation from what

could have been its most important neighbor, Guatemala, and

increased outward contacts with more distant countries such

as the United States. Americans in particular sought

advantageous business opportunities in the new nation. For

example, two Houston businessmen and Coca-Cola subsidiary

Minute Maid orange juice bought into a 686,000-acre tract of

Belizean land in 1985 when the owner encountered tax

problems. The land sale involved about one-eighth of the

total land area of Belize (Petch, 1986). The transfer of

control of one-eighth of the nation's land area to American

businessmen obviously functioned as an "aperture" to outside

interests.

Isolated externally from Central America by its use of

English and internally by a rough terrain with few roads,

Belize was saddled with poor communications. For many








51

years, it had looked to Great Britain and the United States

for trade and external assistance (Barry, 1989). One

historian said that in cultural terms, Belize was really a

displaced part of the Caribbean and a part of Central

America "in only a geographic sense" (Bolland, 1986, p. xi).

Like many former colonial countries, Belize had to build a

national identity after colonialism, from determining

foreign policy to designing a flag. A major government task

was communicating to Belizeans and to the rest of the world

what the new nation was all about.

Defining the National Identity Process

Assessing whether individual media exposure and

dependency is related to the national identity of Belizeans

requires an operational definition of national identity.

Dictionaries define the word national as "representative of

the nation as a whole," and identity as "the state of being

identical." Such definitions are problematic in

characterizing the national identity of Belize, where

individuals represent many ethnic and language groups. The

"nation as a whole" is a nation of diversity, not dominated

by any particular ethnic group.

A dictionary definition of nationality covers "a body

of people having the same traditions, language, or ethnic

origin, and forming a nation." Again, this straightforward

definition of nationality applies to the problem at hand

only in the "nation forming" sense, the idea that a Belizean








52

is someone who lives in Belize. Even though Belizeans may

not share the same language or ethnic origins, they can be

said to have formed a nation. Thus, the dictionary

definition of what constitutes nationality moves closer to

defining national identity in Belize.

In a very thorough discussion of identification theory,

Bloom (1990) emphasized that national identity is more than

an identification by others that a certain nation exists.

Instead, a sense of national identity requires a

psychological process that produces a general identification

with a nation:

National identity describes that condition in
which a mass of people have made the same
identification with national symbols--have
internalized the symbols of the nation--so that
they may act as one psychological group when
there is a threat to, or the possibility of
enhancement of, those symbols of national
identity. (Bloom, 1990, p. 52)

Bloom asserted that his operational definition of

national identity as a psychological process provided a

clear methodological base for predicting that a mass of

individuals will act as a unit in a situation of shared

identity. Bloom's definition creates doubt about whether

Belizeans have gone through a condition of mass

identification with national symbols.

Using the United States as an example, some historians

have argued that U.S. citizens did not develop a truly

"American" identity until after the Civil War, more than 90








53

years after proclaiming national independence (e.g., Unger,

1992). Belize has faced few national threats during its

short period of national independence. It has experienced

no wars, revolutions, major civil disturbances, or great

national victories over foreign or domestic threats. The

lingering threat to national sovereignty posed by

Guatemala's claim to Belize never has materialized and

appears to have been settled by negotiations in 1991,

although some disagreements remain. Elections have been

peaceful, and democratic changes in national leadership have

been smooth.

Unlike the United States or the former Soviet Union,

Belize was not forged in a revolution won by force of arms.

In a new nation with several ethnic groups and languages and

a rather peaceful history, national identity may be quite

low. Citizens may identify with their town, their ethnic

group, their region, or their country of origin in the case

of immigrants, rather than with the nation of Belize. One

Belizean writing about the sense of nationalism and identity

in her country said the feeling differs from the "melting

pot" emphasis found in American history. Instead of the

"melting pot," Belizeans adopt a sense of belonging to a

nation while maintaining their ethnic background, diversity,

and cultural traditions (Heusner, 1987).

In new nations, the psychological process of identity

develops a national consciousness that slowly evolves into a










"sense of oneness which comes from a community of

aspiration, response and action" (Constantino, 1978, p. 25).

While the process is going on, citizens can have nationality

with little national identity because many new nations were

created by colonial powers who simply drew map boundaries

for political or military reasons. The people inside the

boundaries may have little in common beyond their

nationality.

Emerson (1972) mapped out a series of steps along the

road to nationalism, political unification, assimilation,

and identity. A brief summary of his main points outlines

some steps in the psychological journey toward unity:

1. Subjection to a common government.
2. The growth of a single communications network.
3. An educational system based on a common body
of ideas.
4. A single common language used by government.
5. A common body of law and a common
administrative system.
6. Consolidation of the political system to build
an integrated economy.
7. A government that reflects a common cultural
pattern brought to bear on all people.
(p. 78)

The steps Emerson outlined in the process toward

national unity generally apply to Belize, although a single

communications network may not be in place at this time if

the mass media are included. The Belizean postal,

telephone, telegraph and radio systems fit the criteria, but

the television system does not. Belizean television exists,

but it is not yet nationwide, and local material is in short

supply. Belizean television has a national character, but








55

does not have a national audience at this time because many

homes cannot receive it. The television system has remained

overwhelmingly American.

Belize has taken the other steps Emerson listed,

including the use of English as a common government

language. Only in the case of Emerson's seventh step, a

government that reflects a common cultural pattern brought

to bear on all people, can it be argued that the

psychological journey toward unity clearly is incomplete.

As a country not yet 15 years old, Belize seems to have no

common national cultural pattern.

Foreign Media and Communication

Atal (1985) theorized that mass media opened apertures

for information to conservative, isolated groups like the

"sandwich cultures" that were outside the national

mainstream--groups like the rural Maya or the Garifuna of

southern Belize. The arrival of television in Belize

theoretically had that effect. Through their satellite dish

aperture, Belizeans saw a world much wealthier than the one

they knew, one their first Prime Minister worried might

create unhappiness at home (Brogdon, 1986).

Television offered an important mass medium for

Belizeans. The language of the broadcasts was English, the

official language of Belize. Foreign television provided an

expensive service the government admittedly could not afford

(Brogdon, 1986). Conceptually, foreign television in Belize










may be seen as a vehicle for increased communication from

the outside world and as a possible means of lessening

language divisions within Belize. Realistically, it was not

the vehicle the government of Belize would have chosen for

improving communication and language skills.

The government favored slower development of a national

television system, a development that would have been

limited by the great expense of television and the small

amount of funding available. These financial limitations

would have produced a different television system than that

in place today. Rather than developing television at some

future time, the government allowed a "free" but foreign

system to spread throughout the country.

Conservative institutions such as schools, churches,

government, community organizations, and universities

provide socialization in traditional societies. In Belize,

schools helped create feelings of nationality, teaching

students their history, and training them to respect

national symbols such as the Belizean flag. In 1980, some

92% of the adult population of Belize was literate, and 85%

of school age children attended primary school (Bolland,

1986).

Churches also provided support for national identity

through assistance to education. More than half the

nation's primary schools are managed by church

representatives, including Catholics, Anglicans, and








57

Methodists. The remaining schools are government-operated,

but all receive some government support.

Despite the importance of conservative institutions,

media can play a key role in political socialization within

emerging nations. One study of 18 countries in Africa found

that the mass media ranked first on a list of what were

termed "cultural structures," with radio as the most

important medium (N'Diaye, 1981, p. 27). The study's author

found that cultural structures such as media, universities,

museums, and national archives were intimately bound up with

language.

Language allows citizens to "seize, understand and

interpret the genius of a people by way of its philosophy,

religion and its psychological and moral characteristics"

(N'Diaye, 1981, p. 14). Thus, the language of a country's

mass media is very important in creating or maintaining

identity because mass media can promote a national language.

N'Diaye wrote that the role of cultural structures is to

promote national identity by encouraging the use of a shared

national language.

The African study of cultural development found that a

national university was the second most important cultural

structure after the mass media (N'Diaye, 1981). This

finding applies to a study of media and national identity in

Belize because for many years, higher education meant

sending students out of the country. Belize now has a










teachers' college, an agriculture college, a technical

college, and the University College of Belize for the

training of some teachers and health care workers, but no

liberal arts universities. Many students still have to

leave Belize to seek a degree in their chosen field.

Without the cultural competition of a national

university or a national television system, the foreign

television structure in Belize was free to operate in a way

that has been characterized in other nations as a

"counterweight to the established authorities" (Pool, 1979,

p. 124). Shortly after the first television broadcasting

began, the Belizean government declared satellite

broadcasting illegal, but failed to act to prevent it

(Brogdon, 1986; Weaver, 1993). While government inaction

continued, television entered a period of expansion.

Television broadcasting, with or without the Belizean

government's blessing, continued to operate alongside the

government's radio service, public schools, and churches as

an important cultural structure in Belise.

Some communication scholars would argue that

television environments like that of Belize offer evidence

of violations of national sovereignty by the United States

(Nordenstreng & Schiller, 1979). U.S. laws also failed to

cover the importation of satellite signals that was going on

in Belize (Weaver, 1993). The sovereignty question could

have been answered by the new Belizean government through










stronger action to control imported television signals and

satellite broadcasting, but effective action was not taken.

Under a different type of government, the early

satellite entrepreneurs in Belize might have been shut down,

but the constitution guaranteed free expression. Perhaps

the Belizean constitution and system of government also can

be classified as apertures that created openings in the

political system. In summary, looking at the search for

national identity in Belize as a communication problem

offers a helpful conceptual approach to issues of mass media

and national identity.

National Identity and Young People

Conceptualizing national identity formation as a

communication process is particularly applicable to young

people, the audience chosen for this research. Through

their many hours in school and the active influences of

peers, parents, teachers, churches, and the media, young

people are more intensely involved than adults in

socialization processes. The teenage years are a time for

examining ideas about the world through social institutions

such as the public schools. Teenagers also struggle to

achieve and prioritize an assortment of individual needs.

The Need for Identity

According to Maslow's (1954) hierarchy of needs, the

primary human need is (1) physiological, followed by (2)

safety needs, (3) love needs, (4) self-esteem needs, and (5)










self-actualization needs. The need for safety includes a

longing for the absence of physical threats as well as a

need for a predictable world. A feeling of national

identity meets some of the requirements for living in a safe

and predictable world.

A safe world also creates the opportunity to fulfill

additional needs for self-esteem and self-actualization.

National identity construction builds on a variety of

factors included in the need for safety and security. The

influences of institutions in society help build national

identity through a process broadly characterized as

political socialization.

A major point in much of the political socialization

literature involving young people is their search for

stability in the social system through companionship and

social organizations (e.g., Yogev & Shapira, 1990). Renshon

(1977) has argued that political socialization can begin at

a very early age, although he criticized the lack of

longitudinal studies to illustrate children's opinion change

over time. Along with family, schools, and peer groups, the

mass media play a role in acquainting young people with the

operations, norms, and mores of their world (Chaffee, Ward,

& Tipton, 1970).

National Identity and Personal Identity

The writings of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, the first

to popularize the phrase "identity crisis," addressed the








61

need for stability during adolescence. Erikson (1968) found

adolescence a time when individuals integrate expectations

of society with personal needs as they pass through an

"identity crisis" and realize the demands society will place

on them as adults:

The final identity, then, as fixed at the end of
adolescence is superordinated to any single
identification with individuals of the past: it
includes all significant identifications, but it
also alters to make a unique and a reasonably
coherent whole of them. (pp. 112-113)

Erickson's point supports the idea that identity

construction is a problem of communication. Young people

form a picture of themselves, a final identity, in

adolescence. The picture includes their view of themselves,

their place in society and in their country, their

opportunities, and their potential place in the world.

For many Belizeans, deciding what "being Belizean"

means is not clear in the 1990s. By the late 1980s, an

estimated 50,000 to 65,000 Belizeans, one of every five

citizens, were living in the United States (Barry, 1989).

In addition, about 25,000 people from neighboring countries

entered Belize in the first three years after independence,

one of the largest inflows of population in the history of

Belize. Government statements indicate that the twin

pressures of immigration from Central America and emigration

to the United States have muddled the definition of what

being Belizean means ("Immigration issue," 1987).










Identification theory proposes that as life

circumstances change, individuals may create new

identifications for themselves (Bloom, 1990). Young

Belizeans preparing to go out into the world face changing

life circumstances. They may create new identifications

with what they see as their future. On the other hand,

existing feelings of Belizean identity may be difficult to

change because individuals seek to protect and enhance their

identity.

As Erikson (1968) points out, identity maintenance

depends on the support a young person receives "from the

collective sense of identity characterizing the social

groups significant to him: his class, his nation, his

culture" (p. 89). The drive to enhance and protect

identifications can strengthen ties either inside or outside

a person's country. Satellite-delivered television offers

one example of how adolescents can identify with a lifestyle

outside Belize. A poem written by a 16-year-old Belizean

illustrates the way some teenagers see life in the United

States:

Have you ever sat down and watch T.V.
Well, it has happened to me.
I don't smoke weed
but I get a natural high
watching the Jeffersons
get a piece of the pie.
Do you know that it's ABC
getting addicted to watching T.V.
("Television," by Karl Burgess,
cited in Wilk, 1993, p. 229).








63

This Belizean teenager's poem hints at how the process

of identification with people outside national borders may

operate. With about 29% of the population of Belize now

classified as Creole (Central Statistical Office, 1991), it

is possible for young blacks in Belize to cheer when black

Americans get "a piece of the pie" on U.S. television.

Identification theory addresses the issue of

identification with cultural symbols such as a common

language or observance of cultural customs such as holidays.

This process may include almost anything that promotes a

common psychological bond (Bloom, 1990). For example,

sharing a common language with friends and relatives in

Mexico or the United States can be a powerful factor in

identification for young people in Belize. Because locally

produced Belizean television and imported U.S. programs

share the same language, American programs are well

received. Spanish-speaking Belizeans also enjoy radio and

television programs from neighboring Mexico.

In the relative absence of Belizean national symbols on

television, young people may find symbols of success and

stability in the foreign television characters they identify

with. Television's Jeffersons may be identified with

relatives who have gone to the United States. One survey of

Belizean high school students reported that 59% said they

got "most" of their information about the United States from

television (Elliott, 1992). Characters on U.S. television










programs may act as symbols of successful young people in

the United States, a country Belizeans can "adopt" through

television.

Determining whether media can and do influence

individual perceptions of national identity demands more

than simply knowing that American television exists in

Belize and presents content unlike Belizean media. The

relationships between individual viewers, radio listeners,

and readers in Belize and the media content they use can

help answer questions about influence. Dependency theory

provides a framework for studying and attempting to measure

media influence on individuals.

Media Dependency Theory

Individual media system dependency theory provides the

theoretical basis for this project (Ball-Rokeach, 1985;

Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976; DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989).

Media dependency theory originally defined "a relationship

in which the satisfaction of needs or the attainment of

goals by one party is contingent upon the resources of

another party" (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976, p. 6).

The theory focused at first on audiences, hypothesizing that

demand for information grows along with the level of

conflict and change in society. The theory also proposed

that the need for information goes beyond simple media use;

audiences come to depend on specialized media for

specialized information.










Ball-Rokeach and DeFleur (1976) argued that many

researchers had failed to determine if media had widespread

effects or very little influence because of faulty

conceptualizations of causes and effects. According to

their view, other researchers had not accounted for the

complex relationships between media, audiences, and society.

In a complex and difficult society, audiences might depend

on media to define situations, construct social reality,

help form attitudes, determine agendas, and expand and alter

beliefs and values.

Dependency theory soon recognized the individual's role

more clearly. Theory refinements reflected a focus on

individual media dependency, the perspective that guides

this research. The newer emphasis lay with the individual's

desire for social understanding and efforts to gain

information about the social environment by using a "message

dissemination resource" (Ball-Rokeach, 1985, p. 487). Media

dependency theory hypothesized that individuals expose

themselves to messages based on expectations about these

messages' relevance and utility. Relevance and utility

perceptions were influenced by the media themselves and by

interpersonal networks (Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, & Grube,

1984).

The media promote perceptions of message utility by

advertising the content of their messages in advance. For

example, a television station may promote its weather,










sports, or stock market coverage to appeal to specialized

audience segments. Interpersonal influences on perceptions

of message utility occur when individuals or social groups

place a high value on message content. For example, young

people might find that watching television shows about the

dating behavior and customs of other young people would be

quite relevant to their own lives. They might be influenced

in this decision by interpersonal networking with other

young people who found such information useful.

Media dependency relationships are based on individual

goals and the resources available in a society. DeFleur and

Ball-Rokeach (1989) list media system resources as

information gathering, information processing, and

information dissemination. The information may be news or

entertainment. More recent statements of the theory

emphasize the complex nature of media effects, which may be

the result of particular media content, individual

predispositions to attend to certain messages, or the result

of cumulative exposure to a wide variety of media (DeFleur &

Ball-Rokeach, 1989)

By controlling information gathering, processing, and

dissemination, a media system operates from a position of

power over resources, while media users operate from a

position of dependency on media to fulfill their information

goals. Media dependency theory hypothesizes that the more










functions a medium serves in a society, the greater the

individual and societal needs for that medium.

Defining the relationship between the individual and

that person's media dependencies is critical, according to

DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989). Media dependency theory

outlines specific ways to measure individual relationships

with media. For individuals, media systems meet three broad

goals: (1) understanding of both self and the social world;

(2) orientation, which includes learning about styles of

dress and interactions such as handling situations with

others; and (3) play, including self-entertainment and

social activities.

A person may use a variety of media to learn about

tomorrow's weather, for example, but probably depends on a

single source for a decision to either carry an umbrella or

leave the umbrella at home. This single source for weather

information may be the page of a newspaper showing a weather

map. The newspaper weather map may be chosen even after the

person has heard and seen several national and local weather

reports on radio and television. In this example, the

information depended on for a decision about a specific

behavior came from a single source, the newspaper.

As society becomes more complex, mass media serve more

information functions that can be very behavior specific.

Dependency theory hypothesized that dependency on a medium

increases as the medium's important functions increase.










Certain "situational contingencies" (Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach,

& Grube, 1984, p. 12) such as the number of media that

fulfill the same function can affect message exposure, but

where these factors do not interfere, perceptions of

relevance and utility will prevail.

Other researchers who have examined studies based on

media dependency theory have found that they deal with a

variety of dependent variables that are not clearly

comparable. McLeod and McDonald (1985) advised researchers

to note how much time was spent with various media, what

particular content was chosen, the amount of reliance on

specific media, and the motivations for media use (p. 6).

The present study attempts to follow this approach.

By focusing on individual information goals, the early

dependency theorists acknowledged that most people follow a

problem-solving strategy for media use and that they can

articulate rational reasons for their media use patterns

(Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, & Grube, 1984, p. 6). The belief

that media use is based on problem-solving motivations that

are understood and can be explained is a key point for this

research, which used a survey instrument to gather such data

from young people. The young people questioned in this

research were asked about which media they used to

accomplish certain goals, and which media they depended on

for entertainment, or for local, national, and international

information.










Dependency Theory Refinements

After more than a decade of refinements and testing of

media dependency theory, the authors described it as an

"ecological" theory which could explain a wide variety of

media behaviors at all levels of society. Dependency theory

continued to examine three sources of media influence: (1)

society and the media, (2) the media and the audience, and

(3) society and the audience (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1989,

p. 303). The original emphasis on media functions remained

the same; the media served to gather or create information,

process the information, and disseminate it to audience

members. The greatest change in the theory was its focus on

the way individuals--rather than audiences--form media

dependency patterns which may lead to media effects.

The theory explained relationships between individuals

and large media systems, or with parts of the system such as

radio, newspapers, or television by stating that it is the

"relationship that carries the burden of the explanation" of

varying media effects (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p.

303). In other words, one person may be very radio

dependent, while another person's goals lead to heavy

dependence on several media forms. For example, Hemingway's

solitary fisherman in The Old Man and the Sea followed his

beloved American baseball teams through the newspaper. In

contrast, a modern-day stockbroker may depend on a variety

of information sources during different parts of the day, or










the stockbroker may consult several very different

information sources during a single hour.

The relationship of the person to each media source

within the media system defines the expected exposure to and

dependency on messages and the expected effects of those

messages. By extension, dependency theory can be applied to

specific content carried by a medium. Some people may

depend on television news, television entertainment,

newspaper horoscopes, or popular music shows on local radio

to fill varying information needs. For example, some young

people in Mexico said they learned useful information about

how to dress for a date and how to ask someone for a date by

watching the U.S. television program Beverly Hills 90210

(Elliott, 1994).

Media Dependency and Effects

While this research is a study of associations between

media and identity and not a media effects study, some

dependency literature focusing on effects provides useful

information for this project. DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach

(1989) hypothesize varying media dependency relationships

according to the goals of the individual viewer. This

distinction in media dependency relationships guides the

present research in Belize.

As an example of differential dependency, a person who

watches television primarily for entertainment or "play" may

look for and receive a message very different from someone








71

who watches the same program with a goal of "understanding"

(DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p. 311). The goal of

understanding also may encourage different media use

according to individual desires for understanding specific

information. Thus, a young Belizean who plans to seek a

university education in the United States may report media

exposure and dependency patterns that are quite different

from another survey participant who plans to attend a

technical college in Belize.

Dependency researchers hypothesize different media

effects according to the goals of individual media use. For

this reason, different relationships between media

dependency and national identity are expected according to

individual goals. This theoretical approach is similar to

the functional approach that classifies mass media functions

as (1) surveying the environment, (2) correlating events

within the environment, (3) transmitting culture or social

heritage, and (4) entertainment (Anderson & Meyer, 1975).

DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989) also take a somewhat

functional approach to media effects, hypothesizing a

different degree of effects for active media selectors and

casual observers. Some individuals use media to achieve

understanding, orientation, or play goals, while others

encounter media messages only incidentally. Those more

intensely involved with media are more likely to show

cognitive effects on perceptions, attitudes, knowledge, or










values. DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989) caution that the

way individual audience members think and feel about media

messages--as measured by cognitive and affective change--may

not be linked to behavioral change, but high media

dependency does increase the probability of behavioral

effects.

Other researchers support the claim for differential

effects according to observable media use patterns,

classifying viewers as either goal-directed "instrumental"

active audience members or "ritual" passive viewers (Kippax

& Murray, 1980; Rubin, 1984). In general, researchers have

hypothesized that the stronger the individual dependency on

a given communication medium, the greater the likelihood

that the medium will affect cognitions or understanding of

the social world through a model of exposure, arousal or

interest, and involvement, followed by measurable effects

(DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989; Rubin & Windahl, 1986).

Media system dependency theory proposes a relationship

between the effects of a particular message or a specific

medium and the perceived utility of the message or medium.

This approach to media system influence is used in the

present study of media exposure and dependency among young

people in Belize. The rapid expansion of television in

Belize indicates an audience appreciation for its utility.

The presence of television, its high audience

penetration, and the audience acceptance of Belizean










television's foreign, typically American, content seem to

indicate a powerfully felt need for information about the

world beyond Belize. Whether the relevance and utility of

the Belizean viewer's exposure and dependency can be

characterized as a need for information--instrumental

viewing--or the simple escapism of "ritual" viewing (Rubin,

1984) is not known. The characterization of dependency as

"a relationship in which the satisfaction of needs or the

attainment of goals by one party is contingent upon the

resources of another party" (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976,

p. 6) seems particularly appropriate to Belize, where

foreign television filled a local media vacuum.

This research seeks to determine if identity with

Belize correlates with media use and media dependency. The

answers to these questions offer the possibility of a new

perspective on national identity formation in the almost 100

new nations created after World War II (Nordenstreng &

Schiller, 1979). Because it often is true that "the media

are American," (Tunstall, 1977) many of the world's people

may identify more closely with a "psychic America" or with

some form of "global citizenship" than with their own

country. In a new nation such as Belize, personal

identifications as "global citizens" or "television

Americans" are expected to be more prevalent than in nations

with a longer history. Young Belizeans may identify with

other places through television and other foreign media.










Applying Dependency Theory Within Belize

Correlating specific media exposure and dependency

behaviors with individual goals, and especially with

feelings of national identity, is the approach used in the

present study in Belize. This research attempts to

determine how and in what situations media and interpersonal

systems are used for either information or entertainment.

These functions are especially important to young people who

are forming their ideas about the world and orienting

themselves to the society in which they live.

As applied to Belize, dependency on media may help

young people understand the social world outside the

country, the social world within Belize, or to create an

entertainment and fantasy world to escape to. In general,

the greater the need for media information, the greater the

probability that the information supplied will change a

person's knowledge, attitudes, or behavior.

Media dependency theory places the individual media

user in the forefront for data analysis. The individual

approach suggested by media dependency theory will be

followed in this research. Other scholars have found that a

focus on individual viewers can be very productive. After

analyzing television's impact in Europe, Paterson (1993)

suggested a "bottom up" (p. 4) approach to television

studies related to national identity questions, analyzing

the ways individuals determine their place in society by








75

learning from specific media sources. This project uses the

bottom up approach, focusing on individual relationships to

media systems. The unit of analysis is the individual media

user and that person's relationship to each medium of

communication.

Adolescents and Media Use

Television seems to influence some young viewers toward

a stronger sense of global awareness, a central focus of

this research (Granzberg, 1982). One reason for

television's power to increase global awareness may be that

a great many television programs originate from outside

national borders, giving viewers a window on the world.

Young people in other countries may be influenced by the

content carried by American television, especially when they

use English in daily conversation (Tan, Tan, & Tan, 1987).

Because of the international focus of satellite

television, young Belizeans are expected to use foreign

television for information about educational or job

opportunities outside their country. They also may use

television to share common experiences with relatives and

friends living in the United States. Another television use

might be to learn about the behavior and customs of other

young people around the world.

In general, young people are very motivated media

users, among the most likely viewers to watch more than one

television channel at once, "zap" out of commercials, and










rent VCR tapes to control the content of their viewing

(Greenberg, 1988). Young viewers in Belize are expected to

be very active in searching for content, using television as

a surveillance mechanism for learning about world events,

behaviors, styles, customs, and events affecting relatives

or friends who live in other countries.

Mass media researchers typically consider young people

among the population groups most vulnerable to the influence

of television because it is assumed that many of their ideas

about the world are not fully formed and are thus subject to

change after exposure to television portrayals of life

(Gerbner & Gross, 1976; Huston, et al., 1992). Young

people, for example, may choose to watch only television

programs that feature young actors or information about

teenagers in other countries to learn about how their roles

are performed by other peer groups. Teenagers often search

for role models in style, dress, and behavior in the foreign

cultures portrayed on television (McClellan, 1994).

Young people who have the highest exposure to and

dependency on television may feel that they are part of a

"global youth society," and register lower scores on ratings

of national identity than light viewers. In this research,

television exposure and dependency are considered along with

a number of interpersonal communication and media use

measures. Learning how young Belizeans use their

information sources provides a test of how dependency theory










may explain correlations between "global" or "national"

identities. One criticism of many media studies is that

they examine reliance on only one or two media systems such

as television or radio. A comparison of other media and

interpersonal information use and reliance should offer a

broader base for dependency theory conclusions (J.

Straubhaar, personal communication, April 8, 1995).

In summary, young audience members who are heavily

dependent on Belize radio, local newspapers, and magazines

about Belize are expected to be more locally oriented in

their media use, less global in their interests, and

strongly associated with a "Belizean" identity. Those who

are dependent on foreign media--especially satellite

television--are expected to be more "global" in outlook and

to report national identity measures that are somewhat lower

than their peers. Research in other countries provides

support for these assumptions.

International Mass Media Studies

Studies of mass media influence in countries around the

world offer a solid basis for the present research questions

addressed in Belize. Such studies are particularly

applicable where countries share a common language with the

United States, or where nations have been heavily exposed to

American mass media. Because the United States is the

world's largest exporter of television content, studies that

focus on U.S. television influence are abundant and diverse








78

(Dunnett, 1990). The studies cited here center on the issue

of mass media--especially television--as a force for either

national or global identity, a central question of this

research.

Research Trends

Mass media researchers note two general trends

involving national identity issues and television. First,

researchers argue that television influence supports an

identity beyond national borders, creating a kind of global

citizen who is conversant with a common technical, visual

effects language (Snow, 1983). This global language is one

of pictures more than words, freeing viewers from many of

the constraints of separation by language. Hand-held video

games are an example of visual communication that does not

depend on language.

Other research views television as a reinforcement

for resurgent ethnic, language, tribal, or religious

identifications (e.g., McLuhan & Powers, 1989). McQuail

(1987) has written at length about this key theory issue,

concluding that one of the major communication questions

still to be settled is whether media act as a force for

social unity or fragmentation. Media can promote

decentralization and fragmentation, or operate as a force

for unity, "nation-building, modernization, [and] political

strength" (McQuail, 1987, p. 304).










Studying global television reveals a clash of

theoretical models involving social unity or fragmentation.

Improved communications and increased access to television

around the world bring the Western model of national

identity based on law and rights into conflict with other

models dominated by language, ethnicity, and customs

(Paterson, 1993). The global message flow adds some

pressure for people in developing societies to change

traditional behaviors and attitudes (Inkeles, 1969).

Changes in identity may result from certain traumatic

developments that upset basic cultural elements and ideas of

collective destiny (Smith, 1991). These traumatic

developments can stem from a variety of sources, from the

sudden restructuring of Cold War alignments and East-West

spheres of influence to the slower passage from traditional

to more modern societies (Lerner, 1958). Global television

messages are one source of information about other nations

and about new ways of expressing personal identity.

Individual country studies indicate that different

media have different influences on feelings of national

identity. Some media may promote a more global or outwardly

directed point of view than others (Barnett & McPhail, 1980;

Martin-Barbero, 1988; Odhiambo, 1991; Subervi-Velez, 1986).

In general, radio and newspapers carry a heavier local

emphasis, while television and films tend to be more global

in emphasis. Government regulatory policies also influence








80

how media function to support national identity. Research

into audience receptivity to imported programming offers

models for additional regulatory guidelines in countries

where foreign television is now arriving or where foreign

media flows are increasing.

Television in the Developing World

Large parts of the Asian market, which includes about

one-third of the world's 1.4 billion television sets, were

opened to Western television programming only recently

(Auletta, 1993). Television penetration continues to grow

among India's population of 882 million, where the

government has experimented with combinations of imported

and domestically produced programming (Singhal & Rogers,

1988). China struggles to maintain control of its

television marketplace as millions of Chinese in search of

program diversity buy satellite dishes which the government

has sought to ban (Sharma, 1993).

In Africa, one of the greatest challenges in a very

large continent with diverse ethnic groups is finding a way

to finance television programming that affords at least some

representation of actual audience interests (Martin, 1991;

Odhiambo, 1991). In much of the Arab world, television

content that challenges national priorities must be tailored

to fit the cultural sensitivities of politically

conservative governments (Boyd, 1993). In all these

situations, the conflict between global television flows and










national priorities plays a role in how governments deal

with the television broadcasts their citizens are allowed to

receive.

Research in countries where foreign television,

particularly U.S. television, has become a national issue

shows how governments deal with messages from outside their

borders. Different government regulatory strategies can

produce a variety of media outcomes. In addition, the

audience and media interactions in each of the countries

studied provide comparisons with the goals of this research.

Canada

Canada has a history of exposure to American television

and a pattern of U.S. program penetration that almost rivals

that of Belize, although Canada has long enjoyed its own

national television system. Following a socialization

perspective, Barnett and McPhail (1980), studied the

relationship between U.S. television and national identity

among university students in Ottawa, Canada. The Canadian

study found that the more U.S. television young Canadians

watched, the less they perceived themselves as Canadian and

the more they perceived themselves as American.

Barnett and McPhail (1980) used metric multidimensional

scaling (MMDS), a data collection method that converts the

perceived distances between items such as "Canada and

yourself" (p. 228) into a series of loadings on several

dimensions. The dimensions examined were students'










attitudes toward Canada, the United States, the Canadian

media, the U.S. media, and the students' sense of national

identity. The students reported watching more Canadian than

U.S. television, but found American programs more

entertaining. Students who watched U.S. television most

frequently and who watched a high percentage of American

shows saw themselves as significantly more American than

Canadian, while the opposite was true for those who watched

more Canadian television.

The significance of the relationship between American

television use and a sense of American identity among

Canadian college students may be confounded by the study

location. Ottawa is only 60 miles from the U.S. border and

just a few hours' drive from Buffalo and Rochester, New

York, and Detroit, Michigan. Barnett and McPhail

acknowledged that other factors may have accounted for at

least part of the apparent influence of television.

Interpersonal communication, visits to the United States,

and conversations with American visitors to Canada were

among the factors that reportedly influenced perceptions

about the United States.

The authors reported that 47% of the prime-time

programming available in the survey city of Ottawa was

produced in the United States. They suggested that Canada

might consider limiting the amount of U.S. television to

counter its influence on national identity. In the years










since the Barnett and McPhail (1980) study, the Canadian

government has acted to limit U.S. television programming.

The 1994 Canadian television schedule carried the greatest

amount of Canadian-produced programming in the country's

history. Canadian shows made up 90% of the nationwide prime

time schedule. Only five American shows aired during prime

time in Canada in 1994 (Harris, 1994).

Also in Canada, some relatively powerful cultural

effects were recorded when television arrived in the remote

Hudson Bay area in the early 1970s. The research in Canada

by Granzberg (1982) involved a situation that can be

compared with the sudden arrival of U.S. television in

Belize. After exposure to television, members of the

Algonkian Indian tribes in Canada were more likely than

other Canadians to believe that television accurately

portrayed the "real" world.

Young people exposed to television were more likely to

reduce their use of the native Cree language at home and

more likely to act violently during play (Gransberg, 1982).

The author reported that some young Algonkians adopted

phrases such as "sit on it" that were made popular by the

television character Fonzie in the American series "Happy

Days." Other children reportedly tried to copy actions and

behaviors learned from television and often were addressed

by other children as though they were characters on the

"Happy Days" television show.










Mexico

Government regulatory policies also can require an

emphasis on national identity, as is the case in Mexico. In

contrast with the arrival of television in Belize, Mexican

television began with a burst of nationalism. Television

arrived in Mexico on August 31, 1950, and broadcast the

Mexican president's state of the union speech the next day

(Alisky, 1988). By the 1970s, the Mexican government was

funding television stations for some universities and

operating a nationwide television network. Mexico's

broadcast law includes a specific charge to broadcasters to

"contribute to the raising of the cultural level of the

people, conserving national characteristics, customs of the

nation and traditions, and exalting the values of Mexican

nationality" (Alisky, 1988, p. 216).

Mexico followed the United States model of allowing

private entrepreneurs to create television services because

of the enormous expense of creating a television network,

but reserved the right to demand up to 12.5% of all airtime

from all stations to broadcast what the government called

public service messages. Mexican television also produced a

series of development-oriented television soap operas in the

late 1970s that featured family planning and adult literacy

messages (Singhal & Rogers, 1988).

Despite the public service emphasis written into

Mexican broadcast law, government efforts to ensure a










television service that reflected national values and

national identity never have been successful in Mexico.

American influence over Mexican mass media has remained a

problem for the Mexican government. Entrepreneurs took

advantage of inexpensive but popular American television

shows, airing large amounts of U.S. programming for many

years (Tunstall, 1977). Even in the 1990s, American

stations broadcasting in English outnumbered Mexican

stations on cable outlets in some Mexican television markets

(Elliott, 1994).

Guyana and the Caribbean

Instead of following the Mexican example of requiring

an emphasis on national identity through television, Belize

seemed to parallel the example of television development

that occurred in Guyana. As the only English-speaking

country in South America and a former British colony, Guyana

shared a South American status similar to that of Belize in

Central America. After proclaiming the country a republic

in 1970, the Guyanan government took control of radio

broadcasting and planned to build a television service based

on a development journalism model.

By the early 1980s, the government of Guyana had not

developed a television service, but wealthy citizens had

begun to buy television sets and VCRs set to North American

technical standards. In 1982, just after television arrived

in Belize, satellite rebroadcasting of pirated American










signals began in Guyana at a time when the country had no

broadcast legislation (Sidel, 1990).

The Guyanese government did not begin broadcasting its

own programs until 1988 and then aired only 10-minute

newscasts of local affairs. Locally produced programming

filled only about two hours a week in 1988; the rest of the

schedule was dominated by U.S. programs the government of

Guyana had tried to avoid (Sidel, 1990). Guyana is an

example of a country that allowed market forces to dominate

national television broadcasting by failing to make

decisions. Belize repeated Guyana's television experience

during the same decade for roughly the same reasons.

Surveys in a number of Caribbean nations show that U.S.

television operates as a window on the world that overwhelms

competition from locally owned stations with a weak economic

base (Lent, 1991). Quite often, the result is a decrease in

local programming and increases up to almost 100% in the

American programming content of some Caribbean island

television. The foreign programs may contribute to

increased curiosity about countries like the United States,

feelings of a need for change, unfavorable comparisons

between the home country and wealthy nations, and a greater

awareness of and attraction for customs, consumer products,

and cultural artifacts that originate beyond national

borders (Skinner, 1984).








87

Increasingly, national leaders realize that television

programs created and produced in the national language are

an important means of maintaining cultural sovereignty in

the face of exposure to the global television system.

Locally produced programming carrying accepted national

themes competes very well against imported programs (Cohen,

1988). Where nations develop strong broadcasting systems

that offer local entertainment and news programming,

imported programs and foreign content can be relegated

quickly to less-watched hours or pushed off the air (Kottak,

1991). Some Latin American countries once dominated by

American programs have created strong television industries.

Latin America

The television system in Brazil offers an example of

what can be done by an ambitious and well-funded local

broadcasting industry. A tightly written government media

policy has enabled Rede Globo, the national network of

Brazil, to dominate the Brazilian television market. Rede

Globo holds a nightly audience of up to 80 million viewers.

Audience surveys indicate that all of the favorite shows are

native productions (Kottak, 1991). Although Brazilian

television is highly commercial, the broadcasting laws also

mandate some information and education programming in the

weekly schedule (Oliveira, 1988).

The popularity of Brazil's programming follows a

pattern found in countries around the world; where










nationally produced programs are available in sufficient

supply, the American programming presence usually diminishes

(Head, 1985). Television pictures and messages portray a

part of each country's national culture, and in almost every

culture studied, programming with a strong indigenous appeal

will outperform imported content (Luyken, 1991).

On occasion, governments take steps to ensure that

their indigenous content is able to compete equally with

imported programming. Where that happens, as in Mexico or

Canada, or where national advertisers can provide equal

competition, as in Brazil, foreign programs enjoy no real

advantage and local culture takes precedence. Where

governments provide no regulation, or do not enforce

existing television regulations, the competition between

imported programs and locally produced content can be quite

different. The economy of scale enjoyed by television

program producers in developed countries who can sell at or

below the production costs in other nations may overwhelm

local competition and replace local programming (Collins,

1988; Dunnett, 1990).

Scotland

A study of media and national identity in Scotland

suggests some of the comparisons between local and national

media that may apply in Belize. Like Belize, which has a

heavy "Belizean" influence in its radio programming and

newspapers, "Scottishness" characterizes Scottish radio










(Meech & Kilborn, 1992). Researchers have found that

television and films have much more of an English flavor.

Meech and Kilborn offered no quantitative results in

their analysis of Scottish media, but made several

instructive points: (1) researchers should use caution in

attributing too decisive a role to media; (2) some factors

involved in the complex issue of national identity pre-date

the modern era of mass communication; and (3) in smaller

countries, radio and newspapers are more likely than

television or films to focus on issues of national identity

because of budget constraints in the larger and more costly

media.

In Scotland, the British Broadcasting Corporation

allowed regional radio services such as Radio Clyde to enjoy

enormous audience popularity by featuring announcers with

Scottish accents and programs that focused on distinctly

Scottish affairs. Moray Firth Radio, operating in

Scotland's far north, can be compared to Radio Belize. It

emphasizes community affairs, agricultural information, and

rural news, reporting for an audience of about 200,000

widely scattered listeners.

Meech and Kilborn reported that Scottish television

failed to match the local emphasis provided by radio. Few

programs are produced in Scotland by either the BBC or

Scottish television companies. Additional research supports

the claim that Scottish radio audiences differ from








90

television-oriented audiences that may lack a strong sense

of national identity (Caughie, 1982). Many Scottish

television broadcasts are generally perceived as "English"

rather than Scottish (Meech & Kilborn, 1992).

Scottish weekly newspapers are very popular, with

household penetration rates of more than 80%. Some

newspapers capitalize on their "Scottishness," just as

newspapers in Belize promote their nationalistic tone. As

these categories of Scottish media illustrate, consumers

have access to a variety of media products. In measuring

media dependency and its interactions with national

identity, researchers need to look at each media type and

its source, being careful not to lump "media" together under

a single heading.

Belize

Studies of the influence of locally oriented mass media

such as radio versus the globally oriented focus of

television are especially appropriate to Belize, where no

national television broadcasting structure exists. As an

English-speaking microstate in a Central American

environment of Spanish-speaking countries, Belize has a

history of looking to England and the United States for

trade and aid. The arrival in 1981 of satellite-transmitted

television from the United States was another step in a long

history of close relations between Belize and the U.S. that

have influenced Belizean life.




Full Text
128
Ministrys central office to coordinate contacts with school
principals.
Questionnaires were collected from upper-level students
in the third or fourth form, the equivalent of junior and
senior students in an American high school. At one school
in San Ignacio, some younger students were included in the
sample because of class scheduling conflicts that involved
most upper-level students. The time required for completing
the questionnaire averaged 20-25 minutes. Students had few
questions about how to fill out the questionnaire.
Survey Protocol
Initial permission for the survey was obtained from the
Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education six
months in advance of the survey. The Ministry also
cooperated with the pretest which was given three months
before the full survey. Ministry of Education personnel
made the initial contacts with school principals to secure
permission for data collection at individual schools.
Student samples from mixed-sex secondary schools
assured fairly equal numbers of males and females divided
into groups by grade levels that corresponded with age.
Using a student sample concentrated age along a narrow
educational range and minimized the impact of commonly used
independent variables such as occupation and income.
Another reason for using a student sample is that
schools provide the most efficient way to collect data from


184
expected--that those who were dependent on newspapers for
information and entertainment also were likely to miss
newspapers if they were not available. The highest number
of newspaper information uses correlated negatively with the
lowest "would miss media" choice, which was (1) "lost
without" newspapers.
H3: (a) There will be a positive correlation between
exposure to Belizean magazines and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis showed a fairly strong and
significant positive correlation between respondents
exposure to Belize magazines and their feelings of national
identity (r = .143, p = .003).
This hypothesis was based on an assumption that
increasing levels of monthly exposure to magazines from
Belize would be associated with stronger feelings of
national identity as measured by the national identity
index. Magazine exposure was recorded as interval data,
measured by how many times survey participants reported
reading a Belize magazine within the last month.
Mean readership of magazines was 2.4 times a month,
although a large number of survey participants said they did
not read a magazine published in Belize during a typical
month (N = 125, 29.5%). However, those who did read a
Belize magazine two or more times monthly also were more
likely to report higher measures of national identity. This


58
teachers college, an agriculture college, a technical
college, and the University College of Belize for the
training of some teachers and health care workers, but no
liberal arts universities. Many students still have to
leave Belize to seek a degree in their chosen field.
Without the cultural competition of a national
university or a national television system, the foreign
television structure in Belize was free to operate in a way
that has been characterized in other nations as a
"counterweight to the established authorities" (Pool, 1979,
p. 124). Shortly after the first television broadcasting
began, the Belizean government declared satellite
broadcasting illegal, but failed to act to prevent it
(Brogdon, 1986; Weaver, 1993). While government inaction
continued, television entered a period of expansion.
Television broadcasting, with or without the Belizean
governments blessing, continued to operate alongside the
governments radio service, public schools, and churches as
an important cultural structure in Belize.
Some communication scholars would argue that
television environments like that of Belize offer evidence
of violations of national sovereignty by the United States
(Nordenstreng & Schiller, 1979). U.S. laws also failed to
cover the importation of satellite signals that was going on
in Belize (Weaver, 1993). The sovereignty question could
have been answered by the new Belizean government through


117
(1980) stressed the difference between media entertainment
and information uses, while Gaziano recommended a series of
source choices to indicate media dependence.
Instrument Pretesting
Basing the instrument on previously tested measurement
items helped avoid many of the threats to validity and
reliability that can occur in a self-designed survey
instrument (Miller, 1983). The next step in the research,
pretesting the survey instrument in Belize, was intended to
avoid problems mentioned in the literature, especially those
involving wording of what Skinner (1984) called "sensitive
questions" (p. 98) asking for comparisons of cultures.
For example, the instrument used in this research
included a series of questions asking young Belizeans to
compare life in Belize with neighboring countries such as
Guatemala and Mexico and to indicate whether Belizean life
was better, worse, or about the same (Appendix C, Q33-37).
A review of the survey instrument by a Belizean foreign
exchange student living in the United States indicated that
none of the questions would be disturbing to the typical
Belizean.
To prepare for the on-site instrument pretest, a
release form was designed, to be signed by one or both
parents (Appendix A). A "student assent script" was
prepared and read by the researcher in each classroom at
each survey site (Appendix B). The student assent script


131
principals, the three main subject concentrations in Belize
high schools are academics, technical-vocational subjects,
and business. This school sample included two religious
schools, two technical-vocational schools, and two academic
schools. The schools represented the variety of educational
opportunities available to secondary school students in
Belize.
During the 1992-93 school year, 14 of the secondary
schools in Belize were classified as government or
government-assisted schools. Twelve other schools were
denominational, two were "specially assisted" and the
remaining two were private schools (Belize: Education
Statistical Digest, 1993). For many years, all schools were
funded and managed by religious institutions. Today, all
schools receive some government support, but many continue
to be managed by religious denominations, including some of
the most elite secondary schools in the country.
While the schools sampled did not deliver a
representative sample of all young people in Belize, the
survey participants reflected a population of young people
continually exposed to political socialization and national
identity messages through the school system of Belize.
Using a student sample rather than a broader cross-section
of the population that includes school dropouts assured a
sample that continues to receive political socialization


157
Because news is an important source of information
about Belize and other countries, respondents were asked
what specific content they looked for in both radio and
television news. In general, radio was used as a source of
news about events in Belize, while television was used to
find out about events in the rest of the world. When asked
whether they were most interested in news about Belize, news
about other Central American countries outside Belize, or
news about the world outside Central America, radio
listeners found news about Belize most interesting.
Television viewers looked for news about the world outside
Belize (Table 11).
While the survey responses indicate a clear choice of
radio over television for news about Belize, that choice is
helped along by the countrys media structure. Radio in
Belize gives local and national news more prominence than
news from the rest of the world. National radio stations
"know their market" and offer national and local newscasts
many times a day.
Local television news in Belize also knows its market,
but usually has access to that market only once a day for a
30-minute newscast that may be repeated in a later time
slot. The "global" television newscasts such as CNN that
are carried by Belize cable services have little reason to
report any news from the microstate of Belize. Belize is
all but invisible on international television newscasts.


APPENDIX B
STUDENT ASSENT SCRIPT
TODAY THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN A PUBLIC
OPINION SURVEY WILL ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS. THESE QUESTIONS
ARE ABOUT YOUR USE OF RADIO AND TELEVISION, NEWSPAPERS AND
MAGAZINES, AND SOME OTHER OPINIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT LIFE IN
BELIZE.
NO ONE HAS TO ANSWER ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS. YOUR
PARTICIPATION IS VOLUNTARY. I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO RAISE
YOUR HAND IF YOUR PARENTS TOLD YOU I WOULD BE HERE TODAY TO
GIVE THE SURVEY. IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE, JUST
TURN IN THE FORM BLANK. THANK YOU.
247


155
Foreign magazines, though not widely available, offer a
much more varied content, slicker production, and formats
that may have more appeal to young readers. As a
comparison, a winter issue of Belize Review featured a
report on the importance of marine biological diversity. A
summer issue of Belize Today had a cover story on
"Modernizing the Old Capital. A young reader choosing
between those magazines and Newsweek, Playboy, or
Cosmopolitan may find the foreign competition in magazines
overwhelmingly attractive.
Specific Content Exposure
Survey participants reported their main use of media
was for entertainment, watching movies on television and
listening to music on the radio. When asked what part of
the daily radio schedule was of most interest, 72% said
music was the most interesting, although 18% preferred news.
When watching television, 43% found movies the most
interesting part of the schedule, although viewers also
liked sports, comedies, and cartoons. Only 5% said news was
the most interesting program on television (Table 10).
Both radio and television were used as sources for
news, but radio was a clear favorite, especially for local
news. More than 60% of the students listened to news on the
radio at least five days a week; 39% listened to radio news
every day. For radio listeners, news clearly was an
important part of the daily broadcast schedule.


42
an increased local television presence in years to come.
Despite the challenges of competing against the slick
production and special effects, professional actors, and the
much larger budgets characteristic of both U.S. and Mexican
television, programming in Belize was making progress in the
1990s.
Like station managers everywhere, those in Belize must
balance the income they can count on against the costs of
providing more attractions. In Belize, this situation is
exacerbated by a very limited advertiser base and extremely
strong competition. Despite the financial pinch, Channel
5s management planned to expand the reach of the stations
signal from the area around Belize City to most parts of the
country through a system of towers and cable system access:
We keep in pretty close touch with the community.
People watch our programming. We try to get more
and better local shows without stretching our
resources, and technically it will take less than
a year to reach a nationwide audience.
(Stewart Krohn, Channel 5 managing director,
personal communication, January 18, 1995)
Channel 7, the closest competitor to Channel 5, also
produces some local programs. The stations office manager
said her staff had produced several local programs in the
past year, including a show videotaped in a prison. She
said local material can compete successfully with television
from the United States because it provides content that is
of local interest and unavailable elsewhere (Hazel Vasquez,
personal communication, January 18, 1995).


130
Selecting the survey locations involved an examination
of each schools church or government support, the gender
and ethnic makeup, the curriculumacademic, technical, or
business oriented--and the school principals willingness to
participate in the survey. In most cases, school principals
were very willing to assist with the survey and were
familiar with survey procedures and student selection
methods.
The researcher sought a sample of schools that would
provide both government and church schools, rural and urban
schools, and schools that differed in emphasis from academic
to technical. After discussing these criteria with the
Chief Education Officer and agreeing on target schools, a
Ministry of Education staff member was assigned to assist
with the survey by contacting school principals and offering
advice and problem-solving services.
One-third of the schools chosen for the survey were
church schools, and two-thirds were government schools. The
two church schools were Anglican Cathedral College in Belize
City and Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio. Among the
four public schools, one was a vocational-technical or
"trade" school--Mopan Technical High in Benque Viejoand
one concentrated on technical subjectsGwen Lizarraga, in
Belize City.
The two remaining public schools were what may be
classified as "academic" schools. As explained by school


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as
a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
~T^ ^
Terry McCoy
Professor of Latin American Studies
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Journalism and Communications and to the
Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
August, 1995
an, College t/f J
Dean
Communications
Journalism and
Dean, Graduate School


258
Barnett, G. A., & McPhail, T. L. (1980). An examination of
the relationship of United States television and
Canadian identity. International Journal of
Intercultural Relations. 4(2), 219-232.
Barnett, G. A., Oliveira, O. S., & Johnson, J. D. (1989).
Multilingual language use and television exposure and
preferences: The case of Belize. Communication
Quarterly. .37(4), 248-261.
Barnouw, E. (1974). Documentary: A history of the
non-fiction film. New York: Oxford University Press.
Barry, T. (1989). Belize: A country guide. Albuquerque:
Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Center.
Belize: Education statistical digest (1993). Belmopan:
Planning Unit, Ministry of Education.
Belize Radio One programme supplement. (1988, December).
Belize Today, p. 17.
Black Friday reshuffle causes Esquivel-Elrington faceoff.
(1995, January 20). Amandala. p. 1.
Bloom, W. (1990). Personal identity, national identity and
international relations. Cambridge: University Press.
Bolland, 0. N. (1986). Belize: a new nation in Central
America. Boulder: Westview Press.
Boyd, D. A. (1993). Broadcasting in the Arab world (2nd
ed.), Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.
Broadcasting and Television Act (1983). Belmopan, Belize:
Act No. 11 of 1983, gazetted 27 August, 1983.
[Broadcasting Corporation of Belize survey] (1991).
Unpublished raw data.
Brogdon, L. R. (1986). Development of television policy in
Belize. A Third World case study (Doctoral
dissertation, Ohio University). Dissertation
Abstracts International. 47., 03A-06A.
Brown, J. D., Walsh-Childers, K., Bauman, K. E., & Koch, G.
G. (1990). The influence of new media and family
structure on young adolescents television and radio
use. Communication Research. 17.(1 ), 65-82.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Larry S. Elliott was born in Matador, Texas, on July
26, 1949. He worked as a writer and reporter for
newspapers, magazines, and television for 14 years,
including two years as a television news director. He
received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Texas
Tech University in 1978, graduating with honors, and a
Master of Arts degree in mass communication in 1992, also
from Texas Tech. In 1995, he received the Ph.D. in mass
communication from the University of Florida, with an
advanced graduate certificate in Latin American Studies. He
joined the faculty at Bradley University in Peoria,
Illinois, as an assistant professor of telecommunication in
1995.
269


105
home (Elliott, 1992). By 1994, there was one television set
for every seven people in Belize (Europa World Year Book,
1994).
The survey design must deal with intercorrelations
between media exposure and dependency across a number of
variables. The survey design also must take into account
the common research finding that associations between media
exposure and media effects are rarely very powerful and that
the magnitude of the relationship depends heavily on the
dependent measures (Potter, 1994; Ware & Dupagne, 1995).
In addition to these potential problems, any survey in
Belize will encounter country-specific research concerns
such as selecting a reasonably representative sample,
dealing with cultural barriers, and accounting for
linguistic variations (Finney, 1985). As a developing
country, Belize presents significant problems in gaining
access to accurate data on all citizens. The Central
Statistical Office in the capital of Belmopan can provide
data on ethnicity, gender and age distributions, and some
other information, but selecting a reasonably representative
sample of young people is very challenging.
Many homes in Belize have no addresses. A telephone
survey would encounter serious problems with sample
representativeness because of the nations estimated
telephone ownership rate of one phone for every 10 people
(Europa World Year Book, 1994). Another major problem with


200
to Belize media and high dependency on people within Belize
for information and entertainment, and (2) those who
reported heavy exposure to foreign media and outside
contacts for information and entertainment. This was done
by using an SPSS-X procedure that converts this interval
data into ratios.
Television exposure, for example, was converted into a
ratio of the time spent with spent with Belizean versus
foreign television. Other ratios were computed for exposure
to Belize radio and foreign radio, Belize and foreign
newspapers, and Belize and foreign magazines. Measures of
(1) information dependency on other people within Belize and
(2) monthly contacts with friends and relatives outside
Belize were converted to standardized z-scores. The two
resulting z-scores were compared as ratios of interpersonal
information dependence on sources from within and outside of
Belize. Placing all the computed ratios of "national"
versus "global" information sources in a regression equation
was expected to heighten the influence of media in
predicting national identity because it polarized the
extremes of information dependency.
The new regression equation included the independent
variables of age, sex, and cable television access, along
with the media use and dependency ratios, comparisons of
life in Belize with life in other countries, and desire to
seek "lifestyle opportunities" in other countries. The


118
repeated the release form information that survey
participation was voluntary and that students were free to
answer all or none of the questions.
The next step was a complete pretest of the 76-item
questionnaire. The pretest was conducted in November 1994,
using a sample of 20 high school students attending
Ecumenical College in Dangriga, Belize. Ecumenical College
was selected because it was not one of the schools that
would be sampled during the full-scale survey, a common
strategy for assuring that survey participants will not have
been previously sensitized to the questions they are asked
to answer (Shoemaker & McCombs, 1989).
An American anthropology student who had lived in
Dangriga for several months and was very well acquainted
with Belize, the aims of the survey, and the survey
instrument conducted the pretest, suggested minor changes,
and offered advice about available media. For example, she
suggested that both "novelas" and "soap operas" should be
included in the list of favorite television program choices
because young viewers often discussed which genre they liked
best (D. Bonner, personal communication, November 11, 1994).
This change was made in the revised questionnaire. She also
pointed out that few magazines are available in Belize, a
topic that is discussed thoroughly throughout this research.
The pretest used all the materials developed for the
full survey, including the student permission form signed by


254
Please write in the names of your 3 favorite TV shows or
programs in the spaces below; list your favorite show first.
75.
76.
77.
Thank you for your help!


229
90% said they had relatives or friends living outside
Belize. Many of these relatives and friends lived in the
United States and contacted the students frequently. Nearly
half had visited another country within the past year, and
about three out of four had heard from someone living
outside the country during the past month.
The significant positive correlation between national
identity and contacts outside Belize suggests that some of
the messages coming from friends and relatives overseas help
improve assessments of life in Belize. For example, many
Belizeans living in the United States have settled in Los
Angeles, where street crime is prevalent and feelings toward
immigrants are becoming more negative. As Snyder et al.
(1991) speculated, exposure to negative news reports from
other countries may lead young people in Belize to ask their
interpersonal contacts for confirmation of negative reports.
Friends and relatives living in Los Angeles, for example,
are likely to confirm media reports of violence, racial
prejudice or problems with unemployment and underemployment.
Data from the respondents indicated they perceive some
problems with life in the United States, perhaps because of
their average of four hours of daily U.S. television
viewing. Respondents were more than nine times as likely to
report that people in Belize were happiest in comparison to
the United States, their most popular overseas destination
for college, jobs, or permanent residence. They were six


208
describing the relationships between media exposure and
national identity--magazine exposure.
H5:(b), predicting a negative correlation between
national identity and information exchange with relatives
and friends living outside Belize was not supported.
Instead, correlation analysis showed a relationship that was
significant and positive. Students who received regular
letters and telephone calls from people in other countries
recorded higher, not lower, measures of identity with Belize
(r = .089, p = .047). This relationship indicates that news
from friends and relatives living elsewhere makes Belize
look good by comparison.
No significant correlations were found between national
identity and the media dependency variables, the lifestyle
opportunity variables, or the variables measuring how much
media and interpersonal sources would be missed if they were
not available. However, a regression equation based on data
obtained by converting media use into ratios of Belizean and
foreign media exposure indicated that both radio and
television dependencies could predict national identity.
Those most likely to miss radio were expected to score
highest on Belizean national identity, while those most
dependent on television were expected to record lower
national identity scores.
This is not to say that reading Belize magazines or
depending on radio informationwhich probably originates


Copyright 1995
by
Larry S. Elliott


102
strong emphasis on local and national affairs, its
information about Belizean culture, and its promotion of
pride in "being Belizean.
H5: (a) Dependence on interpersonal sources of
information within Belize will be positively related to
measures of national identity.
(b) Exposure to information from relatives and
friends living outside Belize will be negatively related to
measures of national identity.
(c) Desire for lifestyle opportunities outside
Belize will be negatively related to measures of national
identity.
H5 tests the idea that interpersonal relationships with
friends and relatives in other countries are strong
motivational forces. Close relationships with people living
in Belize are expected to provide a "pull" from home.
Close interpersonal contact through letters and phone
calls from people living outside Belize may be the strongest
predictor of lower national identification with Belize and
higher identification with other countries (Snyder, Roser, &
Chaffee, 1991). In addition, the "pull" forces of
opportunities such as jobs, college, or a more attractive
lifestyle in other countries are expected to correlate with
lower identifications with Belize.


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
This research examines associations between feelings of
national identity and mass media exposure and dependency in
the Central American nation of Belize. One goal is to
determine if heavy users of foreign media such as the
countrys satellite-imported cable television feel less
"Belizean" than their fellow citizens who rely less on
imported television and more on local media for news and
entertainment. In an age of worldwide satellite television,
exploring some of the ways mass media may help build
"global" rather than national or local identifications can
have implications beyond the scope of this research.
In the situation described here, six key factors
indicate a possible relationship between media and national
identity: (1) Belize gained its independence from Great
Britain in 1981, the same year U.S. television arrived in
the country; (2) Belize has never had a national television
service of its own; (3) the official language of Belize is
English, the language of the U.S. programs coming into the
country; (4) many Spanish-speaking Belizeans also watch
television from Mexico; (5) "local" or Belizean television
produces very little programming in comparison with the
1


249
11. How many hours each day do you listen to radio from
Belize? hours a day.
12. How many hours each day do you listen to radio from
other countries? hours a day.
13. How many hours each day do you watch television programs
made in Belize? hours a day
14. How many hours each day do you watch television programs
made in Mexico? hours a day.
15. How many hours each day do you watch television programs
made in the U.S.A.? hours a day.
16. What part of the daily radio schedule in Belize
interests you most? (check only one)
(1) weather (2) music (3) news
(4) religion programs (5) talk shows
(6) public service messages (7) other (name the
program)
17. How many days each week do you listen to news on the
radio? (circle one answer)
01234567 (every day)
18. What kind of news on the radio interests you most?
(check one)
(1) news about Belize (2) news about other
countries in Central America (3) news about the
world outside Central America
19. What kind of news on television interests you most?
(check one)
(1) news about Belize (2) news about other
countries in Central America (3) news about the
world outside Central America
20. How many days each week do you watch television news
from Mexico?
01234567 (every day)
21. How many days each week do you watch television news
from the United States?
01234567 (every day)
22. Of all television programs, what type interests you
most? (check only one)
(1) cartoons ( 2 ) novelas ( 3 ) news
(4) movies (5) sports (6) comedies
(7) soap operas (8) other? (name
it)


138
in Belize to make it more interesting. The key independent
variables were media exposure and dependency on media in
specific information situations, such as the medium selected
for local, national, and international news. Respondents
also indicated how much they would miss information sources
that were not available.
The dependent variable was a 13-item "national identity
index," which measured pride in Belize and identity with
Belize. Data analysis focused on matching the independent
variables of exposure to mass media messages, use of mass
media messages in specific situations, and dependency on
mass media messages with the dependent variable of national
identity. The national identity index measured positive
feelings for Belize over other countries in a number of
specific "personal opinion" areas such as best government,
best culture, and best schools. The 13 question items were
selected with a focus on information areas the survey
participants would be very familiar with.


227
(1) survey participants reported very low dependence on
others for information outside their neighborhood and their
town, and (2) most participants reported that they would not
miss their friends very much as a source of information (See
Tables 12 4 13).
Respondents said they would miss radio, television, and
newspapers more than their friends, who tied with magazines
as the information source the students were least likely to
"feel lost without." The literature on homogeneity of
beliefs within groups in Belize suggests that perceived
similarities are a function of internal information flow
(Wells, 1980). In this survey sample, internal information
flow appeared to be limited to local and neighborhood
events. Respondents clearly stated that they preferred the
mass media--particularly radio and televisionfor
entertainment, and for information about events in Belize
and the rest of the world. Friends and other people were
not sources of information that were highly depended upon.
Television was the main source of entertainment and
information about the world outside Belize.
Dependency theory suggests that reliance on mass media
increases in the absence of interpersonal sources of
information (Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, 4 Grube, 1984). It
seems logical that spending more than 11 hours a day with
radio and television, as the respondents reported, would be
likely to lower interpersonal contact, decrease information


56
may be seen as a vehicle for increased communication from
the outside world and as a possible means of lessening
language divisions within Belize. Realistically, it was not
the vehicle the government of Belize would have chosen for
improving communication and language skills.
The government favored slower development of a national
television system, a development that would have been
limited by the great expense of television and the small
amount of funding available. These financial limitations
would have produced a different television system than that
in place today. Rather than developing television at some
future time, the government allowed a "free" but foreign
system to spread throughout the country.
Conservative institutions such as schools, churches,
government, community organizations, and universities
provide socialization in traditional societies. In Belize,
schools helped create feelings of nationality, teaching
students their history, and training them to respect
national symbols such as the Belizean flag. In 1980, some
92% of the adult population of Belize was literate, and 85%
of school age children attended primary school (Bolland,
1986).
Churches also provided support for national identity
through assistance to education. More than half the
nations primary schools are managed by church
representatives, including Catholics, Anglicans, and


174
programming on the air. Respondents generally agreed with
the idea of more Belizean television. When asked if they
would like to see more television programs "made in Belize,"
80% said they would. But another 12.5% said they would like
to see "about the same" amount, and nearly 6% said they
would prefer to see fewer Belize-produced television
programs. These responses indicate that nearly one-fifth of
the high-school-age Belizean audience has little or no
interest in locally produced television programs about
people in their country.
Responses were more evenly divided when the students
were asked if they would like to see "more shows about the
United States." Rather than comparing responses to Belizean
and American television productions, a category where the
U.S. is technically superior, the question wording was
designed to measure a desire to see more television
information about the United States. Just over 19% said
they would like to see less U.S. television, but nearly
twice that number (37.5%) said they would like to see more
programs about the United States.
Program Preferences
It was well established that the survey participants
preferred U.S. television programs and preferred to use
television as an entertainment medium. To find out what
specific television entertainment content they were most
interested in, respondents were asked to name their three


66
sports, or stock market coverage to appeal to specialized
audience segments. Interpersonal influences on perceptions
of message utility occur when individuals or social groups
place a high value on message content. For example, young
people might find that watching television shows about the
dating behavior and customs of other young people would be
quite relevant to their own lives. They might be influenced
in this decision by interpersonal networking with other
young people who found such information useful.
Media dependency relationships are based on individual
goals and the resources available in a society. DeFleur and
Ball-Rokeach (1989) list media system resources as
information gathering, information processing, and
information dissemination. The information may be news or
entertainment. More recent statements of the theory
emphasize the complex nature of media effects, which may be
the result of particular media content, individual
predispositions to attend to certain messages, or the result
of cumulative exposure to a wide variety of media (DeFleur &
Ball-Rokeach, 1989)
By controlling information gathering, processing, and
dissemination, a media system operates from a position of
power over resources, while media users operate from a
position of dependency on media to fulfill their information
goals. Media dependency theory hypothesizes that the more


241
paradise." Despite this praise, less than half the students
thought their country had the cleanest environment.
Perhaps the students reported feelings about
government, the honesty of others, their nations
environment, and their countrys societal problems betray a
colonial mentality, in which a formerly colonized people
have been taught that they are second-class citizens.
Perhaps, as some Americans might suggest, a lifetime of U.S.
television has created a cynical mindset that frames the
long term challenges of life in a developing country into
problem-solution capsules where quick fixes are found at the
end of a half-hour show. If either of these scenarios is
accurate, the job of nation-building in Belize is far from
over, and this research suggests the mass media can offer
little help.
Future Research
One of the accomplishments of this research was the
development of a "national identity index." Future
researchers who explore the role of mass media in national
identity should take a very critical look at the national
identity index that is described here, and the definitions
of nationality and personal identity. The major problem of
this research was an examination of the relationships
between media and national identity. The definition of
national identity and its operationalization obviously are
very critical to the data presented in this research.


115
Instrumentation
The survey instrument used in this study was developed
from a wide range of literature on cross-cultural studies of
media influence in countries where U.S. television is
prevalent, and from questions adapted from past research in
Belize (Elliott, 1992; Skinner, 1984; Snyder, Roser, &
Chaffee, 1991). The main dependent variable is a sense of
national identity, as measured by a series of items adapted
from Skinners (1984) study of U.S. television use in
Trinidad and Tobago. Skinner (1984) asked respondents to
indicate their agreement or disagreement with closed-ended
choices such as "The U.S. has the best culture," or "Japan
has the best culture." Skinner supplied six or seven
country choices for each item and respondents indicated
their agreement or disagreement on a Likert-type scale.
In this research, survey recipients were offered 13
similar items in a fill-in-the-blank format. The open-ended
format allowed respondents to select any country as their
"top choice" rather than agreeing or disagreeing with a list
limited to only half-a-dozen countries. For example,
Skinners "culture" item is stated in the questionnaire for
this research: "Of all countries, people in (blank)
have the best culture" (Appendix C, Q-35). What Skinner
(1984) referred to as "nation appreciation" or "nation
appeal" measures (p. 99) have been used as a model for a
"national identity index" in this research.


21
but he concluded that the libertarian model best fits the
media in Belize. Long before independence in 1981, Belize
followed a democratic, constitutional path, with the
introduction of universal adult suffrage in 1954 and a
ministerial system in 1960 (Fernandez, 1989). The country
formally adopted an internal self-government constitution in
1964, followed by independence 17 years later.
Belize in 1995 was a constitutional monarchy, with the
British monarch, Queen Elizabeth IX, serving as head of
state. The queen is represented by a governor-general who
appoints a prime minister from within the House of
Representatives. The governor-general appoints the prime
minister on the basis of that persons ability to command a
majority of the members of the House, but in practice the
prime minister is the leader of the majority party.
With a government consisting of a popularly elected
House of Representatives and a relatively balanced two-party
system, Belize represents stable democratic traditions in an
area where democracies have a somewhat checkered history.
Central America reflects a tradition of coups, military
leadership, and great disparities between rich and poor, but
Belize presents a picture of stability (Fernandez, 1989).
The constitutional guarantees of free expression, assembly,
and association in Belize are among the criteria used to
assess the strength of democracy in Latin American countries
(Johnson & Kelly, 1986). Belize measures up very well as a


150
type face to help viewers identify Belizean productions. A
second reason Belizeans probably know which shows are made
in Belize is because national and local news accounts for
most of the locally produced programming. Television
newscasts are read by Belizean news anchors and focus on
news from around the country. The nightly half-hour
newscast may be repeated later in the evening for a total of
one hour of Belizean television five days a week. Newscasts
do not air on weekends.
A few locally produced shows also appear weekly, such
as the 90-minute Lauren da Nite and the hour-long One on One
with Dickie Bradley, but a viewer would have to be very
attentive to the local schedule to see more than an hour of
Belizean television a day. An average viewing time of 1.4
hours a day is made even more suspect by the 21% of viewers
who reported watching no Belizean programs (Table 8).
Print Media
Other media outside radio and television were less
likely to be used daily, although newspapers were popular
and magazine readership was substantial. Teachers at
several schools where survey data were collected talked
about their use of newspapers as a teaching tool and their
efforts to encourage students to read local papers. The
teachers efforts appeared to be paying off. Readership of
newspapers from Belize averaged 3.7 times a month. Only 11%


59
stronger action to control imported television signals and
satellite broadcasting, but effective action was not taken.
Under a different type of government, the early
satellite entrepreneurs in Belize might have been shut down,
but the constitution guaranteed free expression. Perhaps
the Belizean constitution and system of government also can
be classified as apertures that created openings in the
political system. In summary, looking at the search for
national identity in Belize as a communication problem
offers a helpful conceptual approach to issues of mass media
and national identity.
National Identity and Young People
Conceptualizing national identity formation as a
communication process is particularly applicable to young
people, the audience chosen for this research. Through
their many hours in school and the active influences of
peers, parents, teachers, churches, and the media, young
people are more intensely involved than adults in
socialization processes. The teenage years are a time for
examining ideas about the world through social institutions
such as the public schools. Teenagers also struggle to
achieve and prioritize an assortment of individual needs.
The Need for Identity
According to Maslows (1954) hierarchy of needs, the
primary human need is (1) physiological, followed by (2)
safety needs, (3) love needs, (4) self-esteem needs, and (5)


194
Finally, Hypothesis 5:(b), predicting a negative
correlation between national identity and information
exchange with relatives and friends living outside Belize
was not supported. The predicted negative correlation was
significant and positive. Survey participants showed a
fairly strong relationship between letters and telephone
calls from people in other countries and their measures of
national identity (r = .19, p = .047). One conclusion might
be that news from friends and relatives in other countries
made Belize seem better in comparison to other places. If
so, feelings that Belize is better were reflected in the
responses to the national identity index items.
Belizean young people who hear from close friends and
acquaintances about problems in other countries may be more
likely to believe that Belize has the "best culture," or the
"happiest" people. Interpersonal information sources in
other countries may support some concerns raised by the
foreign media most of Belizean young people are exposed to
on a daily basis.
Additional Analyses
Other statistical tests developed a clearer picture of
associations between media use and national identity.
Multiple linear regression was used to examine the value of
media exposure and media dependency variables in predicting
national identity. The background variables of age, sex,
and ethnicity also were included in the regression equation.


74
Applying Dependency Theory Within Belize
Correlating specific media exposure and dependency
behaviors with individual goals, and especially with
feelings of national identity, is the approach used in the
present study in Belize. This research attempts to
determine how and in what situations media and interpersonal
systems are used for either information or entertainment.
These functions are especially important to young people who
are forming their ideas about the world and orienting
themselves to the society in which they live.
As applied to Belize, dependency on media may help
young people understand the social world outside the
country, the social world within Belize, or to create an
entertainment and fantasy world to escape to. In general,
the greater the need for media information, the greater the
probability that the information supplied will change a
persons knowledge, attitudes, or behavior.
Media dependency theory places the individual media
user in the forefront for data analysis. The individual
approach suggested by media dependency theory will be
followed in this research. Other scholars have found that a
focus on individual viewers can be very productive. After
analyzing televisions impact in Europe, Paterson (1993)
suggested a "bottom up" (p. 4) approach to television
studies related to national identity questions, analyzing
the ways individuals determine their place in society by


167
Table 15. Quality of Life.
Life in Belize is:
Better
Same
Worse
Totals
Compared with:
Guatemala
84.0
8.7
6.4
99.1
Honduras
78.3
15.6
5.0
98.9
Mexico
58.0
32.5
8.0
98.5
U.S.A.
52.6
25.2
19.8
97.6
Contact with Other Countries
Survey participants were well acquainted with several
other countries. They reported a great deal of contact with
people in other countries, both through personal visits and
the exchange of messages with friends and relatives who
lived elsewhere. Ninety-two percent of the respondents had
friends or relatives living outside Belize. Several said
they had lived in other countries, including the United
States.
Respondents also reported a large number of personal
visits to other countries. The relatively low average
family income in Belize did not seem to restrict travel,
especially to neighboring countries. More than 47% of
respondents said they had visited someone in another country
during the past year. Mexico was the most common
destination, visited at least once by 18% of the sample,
followed by Guatemala (17%) and the United States (11%).


2
available Mexican and U.S. programs; and (6) government
efforts to build a "Belizean national identity" appear to
clash with a very pervasive foreign television system.
Visual media have a history of serving political
movements and building national loyalties. Leni
Reifenstahl, the director of the 1935 Nazi documentary
Triumph of the Will, said Adolph Hitler was the first
national leader to realize that visual communication is
particularly well suited to molding a "powerful national
experience" (Barnouw, 1974, p. 103). In more modern times,
a typical early goal of the organizers of a coup detat is a
takeover of government television and radio stations. The
belief shared by Hitler and many modern revolutionaries is
that mass media can lend legitimacy to government.
At the time of its independence from Great Britain on
September 21, 1981, the multiracial new nation of Belize was
not likely to be mistaken for the Nazi Partys vision for
Germany in 1935, but government leaders did have a clear
vision of their national identity. The Peoples United
Party (PUP) of Prime Minister George Price helped draft a
constitution, write a national anthem, and design a national
flag bearing the catchy Latin motto sub umbra floreo"I
flourish in the shade"perhaps appropriate for a sweltering
country whose main industries were timber and sugar cane.
In September, 1981, government-operated Radio Belize and the
nations privately owned newspapers hailed independence and


236
Chapter 2, the Belizean government did not launch its own
national television service before the arrival of U.S.
television because of predicted high costs that were
estimated at more than $1 million. The government also
failed to restrict the importation of U.S. television
programming.
Now that Belizeans have access to a large number of
imported cable channels and several Belizean channels,
government television broadcasting would face very strong
competition. Two privately owned Belize television stations
provide popular nightly newscasts, and the governments
foray into television news did not succeed. A spokesman for
the Broadcasting Corporation of Belize said Channel 3, which
once provided a BCB-produced evening television newscast,
suspended operations in 1994 because of equipment and
funding problems and had no immediate plans to return to the
air (T. Jeffries, personal communication, June 10, 1994).
With privately owned Belizean television channels enjoying
popularity and planning to expand their audience reach, any
national identity building by television probably will not
be the work of the Belizean government in the foreseeable
future.
Conclusion
Researchers who seek to measure relationships between
media exposure, use, reliance, and dependency expect few if
any dramatic findings; such is the case with this research.


132
messages that may be correlated with positive feelings of
national identity.
Data Analysis
Data analysis began with a thorough study of all
frequencies and means, which were used as a basis for
conclusions about how well the questionnaire had performed
its data-gathering function. These frequencies were
compared with national census figures and school enrollment
data to establish that age, sex, and ethnicity distributions
were representative of the national and school populations.
In addition, frequency distributions offered important
information about responses to key indexes such as the
national identity index and the "lifestyle opportunity
index. Frequency data measured access to and exposure to
media sources, the frequency of use of media sources, and
preference for media sources and specific media content.
It was important to determine that the age, sex, and
ethnicity distributions were representative of the secondary
school population in Belize. Without this information, the
survey findings would be much less meaningful. It also was
important to know that the national identity index showed a
heavily Belizean influence, with the United States as the
main supplementary source of identity. Media exposure and
dependency data gained from the frequency distributions was
critical to establish the media use patterns on which the
independent variables were based.


12
For instance, the great populations of China, India, and
Bangladesh are seeing increasing amounts of foreign
television content in the 1990s, especially from the United
States (Auletta, 1993; Foote, 1993).
One anthropologist who has studied Central America for
more than 20 years believes television has made the world
outside Belize accessible in a way that Belize Radio and the
nations weekly newspapers have not. According to his
research, satellite television created a sense of real time
participation in many events beyond the borders of Belize
and a sense of citizenship in what may be called the "global
television world."
The growing popularity of foreign television has some
Belizeans claiming that "our national identity is
disappearing" (Wilk, 1989, p. 10). According to this view
of media use, Belizeans enjoy only the option of turning
their televisions on or off; all other media choices already
are media-supplied. This conclusion by some Belizeans seems
difficult to support in a country where local radio is
extremely popular and newspaper sales are high in relation
to most developed countries. For example, one survey found
that 96% of young people reported that Belize radio stations
were their favorite radio sources (Elliott, 1992).
The true impact of foreign television in Belize is
unknown. Media research in Belize has ignored the issue of
televisions interaction with national identity creation and


9
lacks a four-year, liberal arts university system and
suffers from high unemployment among young people.
It is no exaggeration to state that this "television
generation" will shape the future of Belize; an estimated
70% of the countrys population in 1985 was younger than 24
(Central Statistical Office, 1985). Most young people in
Belize have been exposed to a decade or more of American
television. Their exposure occurred during government
efforts to build a grassroots sense of national identity and
pride in "being Belizean." The larger, more immediate, and
perhaps more vivid world opened up by television may
interfere with the process of identification with their own
nation.
A strong sense of national identity has been a
foundation of powerful states throughout history. As the
historian Will Durant (1944) explained in his study of the
lengthy lifespan of the Roman Republic (508-49 B.C.):
"Perhaps it endured because of . the proud patriotism
formed in the home, the school, the temple, the army, the
Assembly, and the Senate. Devotion to the state marked the
zenith of the Republic ..." (p. 35).
Of course, the Romans of the Republic had no television
to interfere with their devotion to the state. In more
modern times, those who hope to shape or change conceptions
of national identity also hope to control all the elements
of how national identity is portrayed, including media


129
a group of young people in a country where problems with
determining exact addresses and a low number of telephones
interfere with representative sampling. Schools offer
groups of young people of the same age, fairly equally
divided by sex, and representing all the ethnic groups in
the country. Although the high number of school-age young
people who are not in school makes a student sample
unrepresentative of all the countrys young people, a
student sample solves many survey problems in Belize.
A final reason for collecting media use data from a
student sample is that many previous studies of media
influence around the world have used students, which
provides a framework for comparison. A student sample
offers comparisons across research methods. Past studies
have created a basis for measuring the concurrent validity
of findings among student populations in Belize and other
countries.
School Selection Procedures
Belize has 30 secondary schools, some of which are
designated as "government" schools, and some of which are
"church" schools funded largely by religious organizations.
The total of 30 high schools also includes two private
schools, one exclusively for males and one for females. All
schools receive some government support. Belize spends
nearly 19% of its total government budget on education
(Belize: Education Statistical Digest, 1993).


213
became the first "television generation" in Belize. This
research explored those two relationships by examining
correlations between television exposure and dependency and
measurements of national identity.
Great Britains last colony in the Americas, where
English is the official language, appeared to present an
ideal situation for examining medianational identity
relationships, a topic that has been addressed only rarely
in the existing mass media literature. The research asked
two essential questions: whether mass media were related to
national identity, and whether differences in national
identity existed between (1) heavy users of Belize media and
(2) heavy users of foreign media, especially American
television. Those who reported heavy use of and dependency
on Belizean media were expected to report stronger
identifications with Belize than those who spent most of
their time with foreign media and depended on messages from
outside Belize for information and entertainment.
Summary of Main Findings
Five main hypotheses were proposed; four testing media
exposure and dependency relationships, and a fifth that
tested the influence of interpersonal networks both within
Belize and outside the country. These were divided into 11
sub-hypotheses examining media exposure relationships, media
dependency relationships, interpersonal relationships, and
desire for lifestyle opportunities outside Belize.


119
participants* parents and the student assent form read
before handing out the questionnaire. The pretest
administrator followed the same written instructions for
collecting the questionnaires that were later used during
the full survey in Belize in January 1995. Questionnaires
were printed in English, the official language of Belize and
the language of instruction in all public schools.
The pretest proved very helpful because data analysis
revealed results that would be confirmed later in the full
survey. For example, survey participants in Dangriga seemed
to feel very little closeness with their interpersonal
sources of information. When asked if they would miss their
friends if they did not hear from them for a long time, the
typical response was that they would "get along without
them" (Appendix C, Q28).
The pretest indicated that the students understood the
survey items, successfully answered both the multiple choice
and open-ended questions, and completed the questionnaire
within 20-30 minutes, an important consideration for school
administrators. Minor changes in question wording were made
following the pretest, coding, and data analysis. One item
was added as a supplement to a question asking survey
participants to describe how strongly they identified with
their country on a scale from 1 to 10. The added item
(Appendix C, Q68) asked respondents to describe on a scale
from 1 to 10 how strongly they identified with Belize as


203
interpersonal information sources. Results indicate that
the "U.S. life" variable, comparing the perceived quality of
life in the United States and Belize, remained the best
predictor of Belize national identity, but Belize media
dependencies assumed predictive roles. As Table 22
illustrates, media dependency patterns can predict national
identity measures if total exposure to "local" versus
"global" information sources are measured as ratios.
The positive beta coefficient for "amount that radio
would be missed" predicts that the young people most likely
to miss radio will report stronger measures of identity with
Belize. In another independent measure of media attitudes
in this survey, respondents also reported radio was the
communication medium most likely to be missed (See Table
13). The negative beta coefficient for television
dependency predicts that students with stronger television
dependencies will report lower measures of national
identity. Television dependency was measured by the number
of times participants said they would choose television for
(1) entertainment, (2) neighborhood news, (3) events around
town, (4) events in Belize, and (5) world events. Most
respondents said they used television for entertainment and
news about world events, and spent most of their time
watching American programs.
Table 22 gives a clearer picture of media dependency
relationships and national identity. Converting media


28
Belize carried a local slant. Historically, Belize papers
have not used stories from the international newswires
because of the cost of the service (Oliveira, 1990).
International news coverage rarely appears, although some
stories are reprinted from The Miami Herald's international
edition or occasionally from other large U.S. papers such as
The New York Times.
Magazines
While Americans may choose from dozens of magazine
titles found in almost any convenience market or bookstore,
the situation is far different in Belize. Locally produced
general circulation news and feature magazines simply do not
exist in Belize. Government publications such as Belize
Today are read mostly by other journalists as a source of
statistical data for news reports (Oliveira, 1990). A
survey of media use by Harmon (1988) found that Belizeans
got most of their news from television (48X) and radio
(34%); only 2% reported getting most of their news from
magazines.
Magazines published in Belize provide a negligible
portion in the nations popular media mix. The Belize
Information Service prints Belize Today, a monthly
government publication mailed free of charge to a large
number of journalists and other interested subscribers.
Belize Review ($4.50 BZ), a privately owned slick-cover
monthly, leans heavily toward environmental features,


107
unit of analysis was the individual student. The geographic
districts of Corozal, Cayo, and Belize were selected for the
survey because they contain about 57% of the national
population, but include 75% of the secondary school
population (Belize: Education Statistical Digest, 1993;
Central Statistical Office, 1991).
With three out of four secondary school students
located in the northern half of the country, the most
efficient survey research strategy was to go where the
students were located. The schools surveyed all were within
a two-hour drive of Belize City, even though they included a
school on the extreme western border and another only a few
miles south of the northern border with Mexico. As any map
of Central America clearly illustrates, Belize is not a
large country in comparison with neighboring Guatemala and
Mexico. It is only 174 miles long and 68 miles wide.
The researcher chose a quota sampling strategy to meet
a goal of sampling equal numbers of males and females and a
representative distribution of students from the major
ethnic groups in Belize. Quota sampling meant oversampling
populations in certain geographic areas and undersampling
populations in other areas to obtain accurate national
representations of ethnic groups. The distribution of
ethnic groups within Belize varies from one part of the
country to another, which presented challenges in drawing up
the sampling frame.


221
(r = .14, p = .003), consistent with the characterization by
Potter (1994) that these coefficients typically are in the
.15 range.
H3:(a), predicting a positive correlation between
exposure to Belizean magazines and measures of national
identity, was supported. The regression model to predict
national identity offered additional support for the
relationship between magazine reading and identity (See
Table 21). The model indicated that Belize magazine
exposure accounted for about 1% of the variance in national
identity scores. While slight, the variance in national
identity scores predicted by Belize magazine exposure ranked
third in predictive value in the regression model, below
(1) comparisons of life in Belize and the United States, and
(2) respondent gender.
Few magazines focus on Belize. Those that do are
published monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly; Belize has no
weekly newsmagazines or general interest feature magazines.
Magazines such as Belize Today, published by the
governments Belize Information Service, and Belize Review,
published in Belize City, maintain a focus on economic,
development, agricultural and environmental issues around
the country. Despite the somewhat dry, statistically-based
focus, these magazines are read by some young people. One
issue of Belize Review carried a letter from a student who


148
spent, and a desire to indicate approval of the small
islands of Belizean-produced television that exist in a sea
of U.S. programs.
On the other hand, the amount of daily viewing reported
may be accurate. With an average of 23 channels available
to cable homes, young people may spend many hours "channel
surfing" for programs they like. Belize television can take
the viewer from a small village to a global village inside
the home at the touch of a button. In rural San Ignacio in
far western Belize, a one-lane metal bridge spanned the
Mopan River on the edge of town, but the 12 television
channels available carried everything from Home Box Office
movies and the Disney Channel to an all Spanish-language
channel that featured bullfights and soccer.
The media variety was richer in Corozal, with 19 cable
channels, including several premium movie channels and
Spanish-language television from both Mexico and the United
States. In Belize City, the content on the 54 channels
available varied from rap videos to readings of the Koran
from a satellite signal originating in Dubai. This kind of
television variety may encourage so much channel changing
that young viewers know they are watching a lot of
television without knowing just how much and from where.
The "television source" questions did establish that
programs made in the United States were by far the most
watched shows on Belize television. Viewers said they


92
visiting the U.S. was the strongest predictor. Some 45% of
the sample said they would like to live in the United
States, but the most common reasons for emigration were to
get more education, better job opportunities, or more money,
reasons the researchers characterized as "predominantly
utilitarian and not obviously related to media content"
(Roser, Snyder & Chaffee, 1986, p. 19).
In a later version of their study of mass media and
emigration in Belize, Snyder, Roser, and Chaffee (1991)
wrote that foreign media influence is affected by a variety
of structural, social, and individual variables such as
education, sex, age, interpersonal communication and the
process of social change going on in the country under
study. The key element in a desire to leave one country for
another is friends or relatives in the country of choice.
Belizean respondents with the strongest desire to emigrate
to the United States had many interpersonal sources of
information, preferred entertainment programs on television,
and read newspapers from the United States.
Oliveira (1986) compared the influence of Mexican and
American television viewing on Belizean shopping preferences
for foreign versus traditional products. Oliveiras
theoretical framework was based on modernization theory and
the contextual influences of communication as a social
influence in the environment. His survey questioned only
bilingual speakers with access to Spanish-language Mexican


199
television for entertainment, and (3) read newspapers from
the United States (Snyder et al., 1991, p. 126).
The present research also indicated (1) a significant
relationship between outside contacts and national identity
(£ = .089, p = .047), a regression model prediction of the
role of foreign newspaper reading and national identity
measures (beta = -.160, = .02), and a reported 88X of
respondents whose favorite television content was
entertainment programming such as movies, cartoons, soap
operas and novelas (See Table 10).
These similar findings from three research projects
over a 10-year period support the conclusion that a group of
foreign-oriented young Belizeans exists within the general
population. This group exhibits certain characteristics
that have been identified, such as their program preferences
and patterns of media use and dependency. One indication of
the possible size of this group of foreign-oriented young
people is found in the 28X who identified themselves as
members of a "global society" in Table 17, choosing the
strongest "global" measure on the 10-point, Likert-type
scale of Belizean/global identity.
To examine specific relationships between media
exposure/dependency and national identity in more detail, a
second multiple regression analysis procedure was used to
recode media exposure data, separating out two distinct
groups of media users; (1) those who reported high exposure


5
independence. The national government also could not make
full use of its own media for national identity building
because it was handicapped by a lack of money to finance a
national television network. At a time when the newly
independent nation was working to build a "Belizean"
identity during the 1980s, practically all of its television
programming was produced by a foreign country.
The Arrival of Belize Television
During the summer months of 1981, an American
expatriate living in Belize City began selling program
decoders for a television service that would rebroadcast
satellite television from the United States. The first
satellite service went out to only 24 families, but a dozen
similar businesses popped up across Belize within the next
five years (Lent, 1989). Satellite rebroadcasts of U.S.
programming could reach about 75% of the population by the
mid-1980s (Mahler, 1987). The rapid spread of satellite
television coverage seemed to catch the government of Belize
by surprise. While the Belizean government was engaged in
nation building in the 1980s, entrepreneurs built a Central
American broadcasting system serving up U.S. television.
With satellite dishes pirating U.S. network feeds and
superstation broadcasts, young Belizeans became Chicago Cubs
fans and enjoyed Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Lakers
basketball. International television became part of the
local culture of Belize. Within a dozen years of U.S.


89
(Meech & Kilborn, 1992). Researchers have found that
television and films have much more of an English flavor.
Meech and Kilborn offered no quantitative results in
their analysis of Scottish media, but made several
instructive points: (1) researchers should use caution in
attributing too decisive a role to media; (2) some factors
involved in the complex issue of national identity pre-date
the modern era of mass communication; and (3) in smaller
countries, radio and newspapers are more likely than
television or films to focus on issues of national identity
because of budget constraints in the larger and more costly
media.
In Scotland, the British Broadcasting Corporation
allowed regional radio services such as Radio Clyde to enjoy
enormous audience popularity by featuring announcers with
Scottish accents and programs that focused on distinctly
Scottish affairs. Moray Firth Radio, operating in
Scotlands far north, can be compared to Radio Belize. It
emphasizes community affairs, agricultural information, and
rural news, reporting for an audience of about 200,000
widely scattered listeners.
Meech and Kilborn reported that Scottish television
failed to match the local emphasis provided by radio. Few
programs are produced in Scotland by either the BBC or
Scottish television companies. Additional research supports
the claim that Scottish radio audiences differ from


75
learning from specific media sources. This project uses the
bottom up approach, focusing on individual relationships to
media systems. The unit of analysis is the individual media
user and that person*s relationship to each medium of
communication.
Adolescents and Media Use
Television seems to influence some young viewers toward
a stronger sense of global awareness, a central focus of
this research (Granzberg, 1982). One reason for
televisions power to increase global awareness may be that
a great many television programs originate from outside
national borders, giving viewers a window on the world.
Young people in other countries may be influenced by the
content carried by American television, especially when they
use English in daily conversation (Tan, Tan, & Tan, 1987).
Because of the international focus of satellite
television, young Belizeans are expected to use foreign
television for information about educational or job
opportunities outside their country. They also may use
television to share common experiences with relatives and
friends living in the United States. Another television use
might be to learn about the behavior and customs of other
young people around the world.
In general, young people are very motivated media
users, among the most likely viewers to watch more than one
television channel at once, "zap" out of commercials, and


76
rent VCR tapes to control the content of their viewing
(Greenberg, 1988). Young viewers in Belize are expected to
be very active in searching for content, using television as
a surveillance mechanism for learning about world events,
behaviors, styles, customs, and events affecting relatives
or friends who live in other countries.
Mass media researchers typically consider young people
among the population groups most vulnerable to the influence
of television because it is assumed that many of their ideas
about the world are not fully formed and are thus subject to
change after exposure to television portrayals of life
(Gerbner & Gross, 1976; Huston, et al., 1992). Young
people, for example, may choose to watch only television
programs that feature young actors or information about
teenagers in other countries to learn about how their roles
are performed by other peer groups. Teenagers often search
for role models in style, dress, and behavior in the foreign
cultures portrayed on television (McClellan, 1994).
Young people who have the highest exposure to and
dependency on television may feel that they are part of a
"global youth society," and register lower scores on ratings
of national identity than light viewers. In this research,
television exposure and dependency are considered along with
a number of interpersonal communication and media use
measures. Learning how young Belizeans use their
information sources provides a test of how dependency theory


253
66. How do you classify yourself? (1) Creole
(2) Mestizo (3) Maya (4) Garifuna
(5) Mennonite (6) East Indian (7) Chinese
(8) Arab (9) other (please specify)
67. On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly do you identify with
your country? (circle one number)
("I dont feel Belizean" =1)
123456789 10
("I feel very Belizean" = 10)
68. On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly do you identify with
your country compared to the rest of the world? (circle
one number)
("I can only be Belizean"* 1)
123456789 10
("I am part of a global society" = 10)
69. Which countrys television programs tell you the most
about people like yourself? (1) Guatemala
(2) Honduras (3) Mexico (4) U.S.A.
(5) Belize (6) other (name the country
70. Which countrys television programs show people who are
the most like you? (1) Guatemala (2) Honduras
(3) Mexico (4) U.S.A. (5) Belize
(6) other (name the country)
71. When it comes to television programs made in Belize,
would you like to see: (1) more about Belize
(2) about the same amount
(3) less television about Belize
72. Of the shows you watch on television, would you like to
see (1) more shows about the United States
(2) about the same amount (3) fewer shows
about the United States
73. If you were in charge of television in Belize, what
would you do to make it more interesting for young
people to watch?
74.If you wrote a television show about young people in
Belize, what would your show be about?


153
reading foreign magazines more than four times a month,
perhaps in school libraries. For those who usually read
magazines three or more times a month, foreign magazines
were the most popular choice, probably because of the
limited number of magazines published in Belize and a much
larger number of foreign publications. The average monthly
readership of foreign magazines was higher than the mean for
magazines from Belize.
Media Exposure Choices
Understanding exposure to national and foreign media
sources is very important in a study of media dependency and
national identity because one assumption tested is that
foreign media serve as forces that attract people from
developing nations to developed nations. The data
summarized in Table 8 and Table 9 display the contrast
between the amount of individual exposure to local and
foreign media.
Television viewers are exposed to a medium dominated by
U.S. programming, although viewers also say they watch
significant amounts of Mexican and Belizean-produced
programs. Radio clearly speaks with a Belizean voice. The
Belizean advantage in radio listenership is at least as
strong as the U.S. advantage in television (Table 8).
The survey participants overwhelmingly chose U.S.
television programs and Belize radio as broadcast sources of
entertainment and information. In both television and


57
Methodists. The remaining schools are government-operated,
but all receive some government support.
Despite the importance of conservative institutions,
media can play a key role in political socialization within
emerging nations. One study of 18 countries in Africa found
that the mass media ranked first on a list of what were
termed "cultural structures," with radio as the most
important medium (NDiaye, 1981, p. 27). The studys author
found that cultural structures such as media, universities,
museums, and national archives were intimately bound up with
language.
Language allows citizens to "seize, understand and
interpret the genius of a people by way of its philosophy,
religion and its psychological and moral characteristics"
(NDiaye, 1981, p. 14). Thus, the language of a countrys
mass media is very important in creating or maintaining
identity because mass media can promote a national language.
NDiaye wrote that the role of cultural structures is to
promote national identity by encouraging the use of a shared
national language.
The African study of cultural development found that a
national university was the second most important cultural
structure after the mass media (NDiaye, 1981). This
finding applies to a study of media and national identity in
Belize because for many years, higher education meant
sending students out of the country. Belize now has a


83
since the Barnett and McPhail (1980) study, the Canadian
government has acted to limit U.S. television programming.
The 1994 Canadian television schedule carried the greatest
amount of Canadian-produced programming in the countrys
history. Canadian shows made up 90% of the nationwide prime
time schedule. Only five American shows aired during prime
time in Canada in 1994 (Harris, 1994).
Also in Canada, some relatively powerful cultural
effects were recorded when television arrived in the remote
Hudson Bay area in the early 1970s. The research in Canada
by Granzberg (1982) involved a situation that can be
compared with the sudden arrival of U.S. television in
Belize. After exposure to television, members of the
Algonkian Indian tribes in Canada were more likely than
other Canadians to believe that television accurately
portrayed the "real" world.
Young people exposed to television were more likely to
reduce their use of the native Cree language at home and
more likely to act violently during play (Granzberg, 1982).
The author reported that some young Algonkians adopted
phrases such as "sit on it" that were made popular by the
television character Fonzie in the American series "Happy
Days." Other children reportedly tried to copy actions and
behaviors learned from television and often were addressed
by other children as though they were characters on the
"Happy Days" television show.


145
Media Access and Exposure
Survey participants had broad access to media, with 99%
reporting they had a radio in their home and 97% saying they
had a television at home. Belize television is heavily
dependent on a satellite and cable network, and 58% of the
students said they had cable. The average number of
channels reported on home televisions was 23, so a wide
variety of programming was available. Only nine survey
participants said they had access to no television channels,
and 103 viewers, 24% of the sample, said they had access to
more than 50 channels. One Belize City cable system carries
54 channels. Table 8 displays a summary of radio and
television access and exposure.
Radio
Survey participants reported heavy exposure to both
radio and television. Mean listening time for radio
stations in Belize was 3.7 hours daily. Belize radio
stations are popular, especially the two government-owned
stations, heard around the country. Mexican radio also is
popular with young Belizeans living along the Mexican
border, but largely ignored in other parts of the country.
The mean listening time for stations from outside Belize was
an hour a day, but more than half the respondents said they
did not listen to foreign radio stations. Both geography
and language appeared to play a role in daily radio
listening habits.


168
For the 92% who had relatives and friends living
outside Belize, letters and telephone calls with information
about other countries were common. Thirty percent said they
heard from someone in another country at least once a month
and another 24% said their contacts averaged twice a month.
Nearly 75% heard from friends or relatives in other
countries each month.
Lifestyle Opportunities
The majority of survey participants were in the final
two years of their high school careers. They were expected
to be planning for a future within Belize or possibly making
plans to pursue their futures elsewhere by comparing
opportunities within and outside of Belize. Several survey
items were designed to measure correlations between national
identity and the "lifestyle opportunities" represented by
careers or jobs in another country after high school.
More than 89% said they "would like to visit another
country." The United States was overwhelmingly the country
of choice for a visit, although England, France, Mexico, and
Jamaica were named frequently (Table 16). Interest was
highest in attending a university in another country, most
likely because of a limited choice of college opportunities
at home. Belize offers post-secondary school training in
teaching, nursing, agricultural careers, a two-year "sixth
form" course, and a bachelors degree from the University
College of Belize.


79
Studying global television reveals a clash of
theoretical models involving social unity or fragmentation.
Improved communications and increased access to television
around the world bring the Western model of national
identity based on law and rights into conflict with other
models dominated by language, ethnicity, and customs
(Paterson, 1993). The global message flow adds some
pressure for people in developing societies to change
traditional behaviors and attitudes (Inkeles, 1969).
Changes in identity may result from certain traumatic
developments that upset basic cultural elements and ideas of
collective destiny (Smith, 1991). These traumatic
developments can stem from a variety of sources, from the
sudden restructuring of Cold War alignments and East-West
spheres of influence to the slower passage from traditional
to more modern societies (Lerner, 1958). Global television
messages are one source of information about other nations
and about new ways of expressing personal identity.
Individual country studies indicate that different
media have different influences on feelings of national
identity. Some media may promote a more global or outwardly
directed point of view than others (Barnett &. McPhail, 1980;
Martin-Barbero, 1988; Odhiambo, 1991; Subervi-Velez, 1986).
In general, radio and newspapers carry a heavier local
emphasis, while television and films tend to be more global
in emphasis. Government regulatory policies also influence


136
two variables have been differentiated into independent and
dependent variables, as is the case here, and independent
values are assumed to be "fixed or selected by the
investigator, rather than sampled from some population of
variables (p. 49).
In addition, the residuals from the mean value of the
dependent variable--the national identity indexare assumed
to be normally distributed with equal variances in the
population. Because the sample included population
distributions that were close representations of the sex and
ethnicity of the age group under study, the dependent
variable measurements are assumed to be normally
distributed. The multiple regression model can be violated
with "little risk of error in conclusions about the presence
or absence of a linear relationship," offering very robust
t-test and F-test validity in the face of violations of
distributions and other assumptions (Cohen & Cohen, 1975, p.
49).
In the present research, the complexity of the
relationship between media exposure and dependency, and the
measures of national identity chosen are well suited for
multiple regression analysis. Typical multiple regression
analysis usually is restricted to quantitative scales with
fairly equal intervals. In this case, multiple linear
regression is used to predict the single criterion variable
of national identity using several independent variables


175
favorite television shows. More than 200 different
responses were coded. Table 19 lists the television shows
named most often by survey participants.
Most of the favorite programs, such as Saved by the
Belli Fresh Prince of Bel Airt and Beverly Hills 90210 are
targeted to a young audience. Only one Belizean television
program appeared among the top 10 choices. The locally
produced Lauren da Nite ranked third in popularity among all
programs available on television in Belize. No Mexican
television shows appeared in the top 10, although many
participants reported heavy viewing of Mexican television.
Table 19. Favorite Television Programs.
Rank
N
%
1.
Saved by the Bell
63
15
2.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
43
10
3.
Lauren da Nite
18
4
4.
Martin
17
4
5.
Another World
14
4
5.
Family Matters
14
4
5.
Living Single
14
4
8.
Beverly Hills 90210
13
3
9.
Unsolved Mysteries
12
3
10.
DEF Comedy Jam
11
3


38
The legislation required both radio and television
stations to apply to the BBA for a license. The BBA would
pass license applications on to a minister of
communications. Failure to comply with broadcast
regulations could bring a fine of $5,000 and up to 12 months
in prison (Broadcasting and Television Act, 1983).
When the Broadcasting and Television Act was passed, many
Belizeans seemed to believe that they might soon have a
national television industry that would compete with
imported television from the United States.
"We just dont have funds for local television," the
Attorney General of Belize said in 1984. "That does not
mean that we will just let the satellite services take our
place" (Brogdon, 1986, p. 119). While private satellite
television services continued to grow, the government
television presence failed to materialize, even when the
strongly pro-television United Democratic Party (UDP) won
the 1984 elections and took over from the PUP. Many UDP
members felt that the PUP had dominated broadcasting through
control of Radio Belize and feared government control of a
television station, which might cost $1 million to launch.
"The best they can do is try to intersperse local
programs with the satellite programs, representative Philip
Goldson said in 1984 (Brogdon, 1986, p. 122). Goldson
turned out to be a prophet. Belize television in 1995
followed the pattern Goldson predicted, with local


69
Dependency Theory Refinements
After more than a decade of refinements and testing of
media dependency theory, the authors described it as an
"ecological" theory which could explain a wide variety of
media behaviors at all levels of society. Dependency theory
continued to examine three sources of media influence: (1)
society and the media, (2) the media and the audience, and
(3) society and the audience (Ball-Bokeach St DeFleur, 1989,
p. 303). The original emphasis on media functions remained
the same; the media served to gather or create information,
process the information, and disseminate it to audience
members. The greatest change in the theory was its focus on
the way individualsrather than audiencesform media
dependency patterns which may lead to media effects.
The theory explained relationships between individuals
and large media systems, or with parts of the system such as
radio, newspapers, or television by stating that it is the
"relationship that carries the burden of the explanation" of
varying media effects (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p.
303). In other words, one person may be very radio
dependent, while another persons goals lead to heavy
dependence on several media forms. For example, Hemingways
solitary fisherman in The Old Man and the Sea followed his
beloved American baseball teams through the newspaper. In
contrast, a modern-day stockbroker may depend on a variety
of information sources during different parts of the day, or


250
23. When you want to learn about events in your
neighborhood. do you: (1) ask other people
(2) read newspapers (3) read magazines
(4) listen to radio (5) watch TV
24. When you want to learn about events in your town, do
you: (1) ask other people (2) read newspapers
(3) read magazines (4) listen to radio
( 5 ) watch TV
25. When you want to learn about events around Belize. do
you: (1) ask other people (2) read newspapers
(3) read magazines (4) listen to radio
( 5 ) watch TV
26. When you want to learn about events in the world. do
you: (1) ask other people (2) read newspapers
(3) read magazines (4) listen to radio
( 5 ) watch TV
27. When you just want entertainment. which is the best
source? (1) other people (2) newspapers
(3) magazines (4) radio (5) TV
28. If you didnt hear from your friends for a long time,
how would you feel? (1) lost without them
(2) I would miss them, but get along without them
(3) I would not miss them
29. If you werent able to read a newspaper for a long
time, how would you feel? (1) Lost without it
(2) Miss it, but get along without it (3) I
would not miss it.
30. If you werent able to read any magazines for a long
time, how would you feel? (1) Lost without
them (2) Miss them, but get along without them
(3) I would not miss them
31. If you couldnt listen to radio for a long time, how
would you feel? (1) Lost without it
(2) I would miss it, but get along without it
(3) I would not miss it.
32. If you couldnt watch television for a long time, how
would you feel? (1) Lost without it (2) I would
miss it, but get along without it (3) I would not
miss it
33. Compared with Guatemala, life in Belize is: (1) worse
( 2 ) about the same ( 3 ) better


8
programs to the immediate area around Belize City, but no
highly accurate estimates of total viewers (S. Krohn,
personal communication, January 18, 1995).
Despite some increases in locally originated programs,
the relatively small amount of television material produced
within Belize represents a national television "voice that
at present is little more than a whisper. Channel 5 and
Channel 7 in Belize City present daily half-hour newscasts,
so the presence of "national" television is growing, but
these newscasts cannot be received in all parts of Belize.
Television is widely available, but the thousands of hours
Belizean teenagers have spent watching television have been
largely a journey outside their country and culture. Among
the questions asked by this research is whether spending a
great amount of time with foreign television weakens
feelings of national identity by creating a "television
identity" or cultural identity with another country.
Belizes "Television. Generation"
Young people were chosen for this research because they
are the first "television generation" in Belize as well as
the first generation of post-colonial Belizeans. In this
research, young people are defined as those between the ages
of 12 and 21. Individuals in this age group face a decision
about whether to stay in Belize or migrate to another
country after completing their education because Belize


222
reported using the magazines information in a school
research paper on ecology.
The data in this research show a correlation between
national identity and Belize magazine exposure, and the
regression equation supports the predictive value of
magazines in determining the strength of national identity.
Despite these findings, there is no basis for asserting a
causal relationship between Belize magazine reading and
higher measures of national identity. It seems more likely
that students who already hold strong identifications with
Belize are more likely to read Belize magazines than those
who hold weak national identifications. The small number of
Belize magazines, low audience penetration, and somewhat dry
content make it unlikely that magazine exposure increases
national identity. The most likely explanation for the
relationship is a predisposition to learn more about Belize
because of a feeling of national identity.
The magazine dependency hypothesis, H3:(b), predicting
a positive correlation between national identity measures
and magazine dependency was not supported. The relationship
recorded was positive rather than negative, and not
significant. Infrequent publication of magazines precludes
the kind of habitual reading that might lead to strong
dependence on Belize magazines. Nearly a third of the
respondents did not read a Belize magazine during a typical
month. Dependency on magazines for entertainment or


202
Table 22. A Media Dependency Model Predicting Identity.
Variable
Beta
T
Sig T
R2
1.
Comparison
with U.S. life
.272
3.45
.0008
.0801
2.
Would miss
radio
.246
3.08
.0025
.0449
3.
Television
dependency
-.211
-2.64
.0142
.0433
Multiple R
.4104
Analysis of
Variance
Multiple R^
.1682
DF
SS
MS
Adjusted R^
.1496
Regression
3
205.97
68.658
F = 9.0329
Residual
234
1018.52
7.601
Signif F <
.0001
Variables not in the Equation
Age
Cable TV access
Magazine dependency
Belize/foreign TV ratio
Belize/foreign newspaper ratio
Belize/foreign magazine ratio
Would miss newspapers
Would miss television
Respondent ethnicity
Desire foreign college
Desire to emigrate
Contacts outside Belize
Guatemala visits
U.S. visits
Belize/Mexico comparison
Belize/Guatemala comparison
Sex
Newspaper dependency
Radio dependency
Belize/foreign radio ratio
Interpersonal ratio
Would miss friends
Would miss radio
Would miss magazines
Desire foreign visit
Desire foreign job
Global identity
Foreign country visits
Mexico visits
Honduras visits
Belize/Honduras comparison
To develop Table 22, data on heavy and light exposure
groups were converted to ratios of heavy and light exposure
to Belizean versus foreign media, and Belize versus foreign


234
many parts of the world such as China, the Middle Eastern
countries, and Africa, the tradition of government ownership
or control of the electronic media is an old practice that
only now is beginning to change (Martin, 1991; Ogan, 1991).
The situation is different in Belize, where radio
changed in the 1960s from a government-operated service to a
semi-commercial operation supervised by the Broadcasting
Corporation of Belize (BCB). Today, Radio Belize is no
longer a monopoly, which may have increased its credibility
now that listeners can compare the BCB service with a
handful of competing stations. Survey respondents reported
using national radio stations for news about their country,
just as they use television for news about the world.
The correlation between radio use and national identity
that was found among the young people of Belize highlights
the kind of relationship that has encouraged the leaders of
many developing countries to maintain tight control over
radio and television broadcasting. In the case of Belize,
the rather weak positive associations between radio
listening and national identity exist without government
controls. In a libertarian society such as Belize, with
liberal regulatory policies and broad public access to media
from outside the country, even a slightly pro-government
"public information" approach to radio broadcasting could be
expected to lower message credibility and drive listeners to
other stations. A loss of credibility from a government


97
American relationships, an obvious problem. Johnson,
Oliveira, and Barnett (1989) suggested additional research
into interpersonal channels, an approach already reported by
Snyder, Roser, and Chaffee (1991) as a key factor in young
peoples desire to emigrate to the U.S.
Summary
Whether television in Belize promotes a sense of
national or international identity is a question that has
not been answered. Wilk (1993) suggested that television
promotes national identity through commonly shared visual
experiences, but Barnett and McPhail (1980) found television
linked to American identity in their study of Canadian
students. Studies within Belize have offered mixed results.
Roser, Snyder, and Chaffee (1986) found that many young
people wanted to leave Belize to improve their opportunities
for economic success, but the researchers did not find the
mass media the motivating factor in such a decision.
Instead, the young people gave common sense, utilitarian
reasons for wanting to leave Belize that the researchers
said were not related to their media exposure.
Other research in Belize has identified media as a
unifying force for reasons of language. Barnett, Oliveira,
and Johnson (1989) found that young people prefer media
content in the language they use in casual conversation, but
the second largest ethnic group in Belizethe Creoleshave
little choice beyond watching television in English. In


73
televisions foreign, typically American, content seem to
indicate a powerfully felt need for information about the
world beyond Belize. Whether the relevance and utility of
the Belizean viewers exposure and dependency can be
characterized as a need for informationinstrumental
viewingor the simple escapism of "ritual" viewing (Rubin,
1984) is not known. The characterization of dependency as
"a relationship in which the satisfaction of needs or the
attainment of goals by one party is contingent upon the
resources of another party" (Ball-Rokeach 4 DeFleur, 1976,
p. 6) seems particularly appropriate to Belize, where
foreign television filled a local media vacuum.
This research seeks to determine if identity with
Belize correlates with media use and media dependency. The
answers to these questions offer the possibility of a new
perspective on national identity formation in the almost 100
new nations created after World War II (Nordenstreng &
Schiller, 1979). Because it often is true that "the media
are American," (Tunstall, 1977) many of the worlds people
may identify more closely with a "psychic America" or with
some form of "global citizenship" than with their own
country. In a new nation such as Belize, personal
identifications as "global citizens" or "television
Americans" are expected to be more prevalent than in nations
with a longer history. Young Belizeans may identify with
other places through television and other foreign media.


54
"sense of oneness which comes from a community of
aspiration, response and action" (Constantino, 1978, p. 25).
While the process is going on, citizens can have nationality
with little national identity because many new nations were
created by colonial powers who simply drew map boundaries
for political or military reasons. The people inside the
boundaries may have little in common beyond their
nationality.
Emerson (1972) mapped out a series of steps along the
road to nationalism, political unification, assimilation,
and identity. A brief summary of his main points outlines
some steps in the psychological journey toward unity:
1. Subjection to a common government.
2. The growth of a single communications network.
3. An educational system based on a common body
of ideas.
4. A single common language used by government.
5. A common body of law and a common
administrative system.
6. Consolidation of the political system to build
an integrated economy.
7. A government that reflects a common cultural
pattern brought to bear on all people.
(p. 78)
The steps Emerson outlined in the process toward
national unity generally apply to Belize, although a single
communications network may not be in place at this time if
the mass media are included. The Belizean postal,
telephone, telegraph and radio systems fit the criteria, but
the television system does not. Belizean television exists,
but it is not yet nationwide, and local material is in short
supply. Belizean television has a national character, but


163
Table 14. National
Identity Index
Mean Scores.
Percent
of answers naming:
Category:
Belize
u.s.
Other
Best
government
31.8
37.5
Best
culture
65.3
Mexico
18.9
Best
schools
21.7
53.3
Best
jobs
9.2
75.7
Most
honest
49.3
"none"
9.7
Happiest
69.8
7.5
Richest
51.7
England
10.1
Cleanest environment
42.5
Mexico
19.1
Care
most about family
56.8
12.3
Best
country to live
in
67.7
11.1
Most
like me
53.1
12.7
Best
TV shows
78.3
Mexico
8.5
Best
radio programs
48.3
30.4
Note:
each
Table 14 shows
category.
only
the top two countries named
in
Survey participants were expected to be most familiar
with their own country, and to a lesser extent, the United
States and Mexico through media exposure and personal visits
to those countries. Responses named Belize more often than
any other country, so the index seems a sound measurement of


120
compared to the rest of the world. Perhaps the greatest
benefit of the pretest was that it demonstrated that the
instrument could be independently tested by a student
following written guidelines and yield useful data with no
major problems reported.
Analysis of the pretest data also served as a test of
coding and statistical procedures that were followed during
the main survey. The pretest provided some indication of
the relationships between the media exposure and dependency
variables and the national identity index that later were
supported by data from the full survey. Procedures for
coding, entry of data, and data analysis using the SPSS-X
statistical package also revealed no problems in producing
usable and reasonably reliable information from the
questionnaire. With the survey materials and data analysis
procedures thoroughly pretested and minor problems
addressed, the completed 77-item survey instrument was ready
for testing by early January 1995.
Questionnaire
The revised questionnaire had 10 basic parts, from
demographic information to television program preferences
(Appendix C). Many of the questions asked for standard
information included in almost every media use survey,
whether conducted in the United States or another country.
Others specifically targeted a "Belizean" response. The 10


20
In a nation where neither radio nor newspapers used any
of the worlds major newswire services, television threw
open a sharply visual window to major world events. The
young people of Belize began to share the same television
programs and visual culture as their contemporaries in the
United States. Evidence of a change in taste toward
American popular culture is found among Belizean high school
students in 1995 who enjoy Chicago Bulls games on cable
television and ask American visitors about the progress of
the O.J. Simpson trial.
Press Theory and Belize
Press theories commonly include perspectives on how
national media reflect the social and political systems in
place within the country under study (Altschull, 1984;
Lowenstein & Merrill, 1990; Picard, 1983; Siebert, Peterson,
&. Schramm, 1956; Sussman, 1983). One of the earliest media
theory systems classified media as either authoritarian,
libertarian, social responsibility, or Soviet Communist
(Siebert et al., 1956). Belize fits within the libertarian
tradition of private ownership of a press with its rights
guaranteed by law. The same statement could have been made
at the time of Belizean independence.
Oliveira (1990) said the climate of laissez-faire
relations between government and the press in Belize
suggests a combination of the libertarian and social
responsibility models described by Seibert et al. (1956),


127
interpersonal sources outside the country (Snyder, Roser, &
Chaffee, 1991).
(5c) An additional set of "lifestyle opportunity" items
measured the desire to seek important lifestyle services
from outside the country. Three questions asking about a
desire to attend a university in, get a job in, or live
permanently in another country measured lifestyle
opportunity choices.
Procedures
The survey questionnaire was distributed by the
researcher and an assistant to consenting students at six
locations. The six schools surveyed were: Mopan Technical
School, Benque Viejo; Sacred Heart College, San Ignacio;
Belmopan Comprehensive School, Belmopan; Escuela Secundaria
Mexico, a rural school in the Corozal district; and Gwen
Lizarraga High School and Anglican Cathedral College, both
in Belize City. The self-administered questionnaires were
collected over a five-day period from January 16-20, 1995.
After the students returned signed consent forms
(Appendix A) and agreed to participate under the conditions
of the student assent form (Appendix B), which was read
aloud, the questionnaires were filled out under the
supervision of teachers, the researcher, or a research
assistant. The Ministry of Education in Belize cooperated
fully with the survey and assigned a person in the


156
Table 10. Radio
and
Television
Content Interests.
Belize Radio
%
All Television Sources %
Most interested
in:
Most interested in:
Weather
1.2
Cartoons
9.2
Music
72.2
Novelas
7.3
News
17.9
News
4.7
Religion programs
1.9
Movies
42.7
Talk shows
2.6
Sports
12.5
Radio PSAs
.9
Comedies
12.3
Other
1.2
Soap operas
3.5
Missing values
2.1
Other
5.4
100.0
Missing values
2.4
100.0
The students were asked how often they watched
television news from the U.S. and Mexico. Only 28% said
they watched television news from the U.S. every day and
less than half (41%) watched news on U.S. television
stations at least five days a week. Television news from
Mexico was watched very little. Only 10% watched every day
and 51% said they did not watch Mexican television news.
Survey participants were not asked how often they watched
television news from Belize because of a lack of
comparability; Belize-produced television newscasts are
available only five days a week.


154
radio, it seems more accurate to speak of audience choice
rather than preference, because much of the audience has
little choice beyond Belize radio programs and U.S.
television programs. The same lack of a broad choice is
evident in the print media available in Belize.
Belizean print media enjoy a strong audience advantage
in that few newspapers and magazines from outside the
country are widely available. Unlike television, where more
than half the audience can choose from nearly two dozen
foreign channels, foreign newspapers offer weaker
competition to the distinctly local content found in Belize
papers. Belize newspapers, which subscribe to no
international newswire services, generally serve up an
almost exclusively local news menu. Readership of
newspapers from outside Belize was confined to about one out
of four readers. More than half the sample said they did
not read another countrys newspaper during a typical month.
The audience preference for Belize print media content
is less evident when examining the magazine data in Table 9.
More than a third of the survey participants did not read a
foreign magazine during a typical month, but nearly as many
did not read a magazine from Belize. As noted earlier, no
general interest magazines are published in Belize. The
majority of the small number of magazines available carry
government and economic information or features about
political figures.


96
the coming of modernity" by giving people across regions
and provinces their first daily experience with nationhood
(Martin-Barbero, 1988, p. 455). The influence of radio in
Belize seems to have been largely overlooked by media
researchers studying the influence of foreign television.
Researchers have reported information about radio use,
usually noting that radio is pervasive in Belize (e.g.,
Snyder, Roser, & Chaffee, 1991), but have largely focused on
the influence of foreign television.
One study of communication factors within Belize
specifically examined young peoples desire for closer
international ties (Johnson, Oliveira, & Barnett, 1989).
The researchers tested a theoretical construct developed by
Rokeach and his colleagues. Rokeach wrote that individuals
and groups are attracted to each other by belief congruence,
being most attracted by groups perceived as holding beliefs
closest to their own (Rokeach, 1980). High school juniors
and seniors were asked about their exposure to Mexican and
U.S. television and their evaluations of the United States
and Belizes Latin American neighbors.
Exposure to U.S. television was related to a desire for
closer ties to the United States, but had almost no
relationship to closer ties with Belizes Latin American
neighbors. One explanation for this finding is that the
survey asked only about exposure to Mexican television,
while trying to relate Mexican television exposure to Latin


67
functions a medium serves in a society, the greater the
individual and societal needs for that medium.
Defining the relationship betVeen the individual and
that persons media dependencies is critical, according to
DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989). Media dependency theory
outlines specific ways to measure individual relationships
with media. For individuals, media systems meet three broad
goals: (1) understanding of both self and the social world;
(2) orientation, which includes learning about styles of
dress and interactions such as handling situations with
others; and (3) play, including self-entertainment and
social activities.
A person may use a variety of media to learn about
tomorrows weather, for example, but probably depends on a
single source for a decision to either carry an umbrella or
leave the umbrella at home. This single source for weather
information may be the page of a newspaper showing a weather
map. The newspaper weather map may be chosen even after the
person has heard and seen several national and local weather
reports on radio and television. In this example, the
information depended on for a decision about a specific
behavior came from a single source, the newspaper.
As society becomes more complex, mass media serve more
information functions that can be very behavior specific.
Dependency theory hypothesized that dependency on a medium
increases as the mediums important functions increase.


CHAPTER 4
METHOD
This research design used a cross-sectional survey to
gather data from high school students in Belize for
correlational analysis. The purpose was to correlate media
exposure and dependency variables with mean scores recorded
by a 13-item "national identity index." The method section
details five main components of the research: the survey
designi the sample, instrumentation, the procedures
followed, and data analysis.
Survey Design
Cross-sectional surveys are appropriate when research
aims include description of a population, explanation of
some phenomenon, or exploration of a new topic (Babbie,
1990). Looking at how young peoples media dependency
patterns in a new nation may be associated with their
feelings of national identity meets all three criteria of
description, explanation, and exploration. Surveys also are
helpful in gathering information about many variables from a
large and varied population in a realistic setting. The
researcher can collect data within a brief time span, which
avoids problems with loss of subjects during a study (Wimmer
& Dominick, 1983).
103


243
or intend to vote when they get older, if they are would
accept a government job, serve in national defense forces,
go to war to protect or defend their country, or be willing
to die for their country. These items might define national
identity more clearly than those included in the index used
in this research.
As is often the case in a new and relatively unexplored
research area, the problems of conceptualization and
operationalization provide major challenges. As
operationalized here, the national identity index showed low
correlations with media exposure and dependency. The same
relationships might prevail no matter how national identity
is defined. On the other hand, a more "patriotic"
definition of national identity might yield different
results. Media exposure measures are fairly standard in
communications research, but future researchers should
continue to refine definitions of national identity and
media dependency.
It seems difficult to believe that the media play no
role in the feelings and motivations of citizens in what was
once the Soviet Union, Croatia, Northern Ireland, Kurdestan,
Sri Lanka, Palestine, and Catalonia, to name only a few
conflicts that involve national identity. Dozens of new
nations have been formed since the end of World War II.
Some nations have disintegrated since 1945 because of
nationalistic feelings, as in the case of the former Soviet


43
Summary
The libertarian press model at work in Belize began
with a press centered on political movements and partisan
commentary, much like the colonial American press of the
1700s before U.S. independence. Just like the American
press, the Belizean press took root in a colonial society
ruled by the British Empire. Newspapers in Belize have
developed a different interpretation of journalistic
objectivity than that found in the United States, but they
also have a goal of serving as a watchdog over government.
Belize newspapers continue to be very partisan and privately
owned. The very few magazines published in Belize have
limited circulation. One is published by the government.
Radio in Belize followed a social responsibility model,
set up under British rule with government sponsorship and
operated under government supervision. The tradition of
government help and sponsorship continued after
independence, although radio did accept advertising and
operate in a semi-commercial manner. Radio Belize combined
a development journalism model with the strong popular
appeal of programs targeted to the many ethnic and language
groups in the country. The government also allowed
competition, even though it might have succeeded in barring
private ownership of radio or making such ownership
financially unsuccessful.


223
neighborhood, town, Belize, and world news among survey
participants was extremely low (See Table 12).
Hypothesis 4a, predicting a positive correlation
between Belize radio exposure and national identity
measures, was supported. The positive correlation was
fairly weak, but approached significance (z .072,
p = .087). While listeners may hold some suspicions about
government influence over the news heard on radio stations
in Belize, radio has been considered a cherished "national
institution" for many years (Oliveira, 1990, p. 120).
Radio can serve many important purposes in a developing
country such as Belize, from performing information transfer
and teaching functions (Lowry, 1970) to providing the people
of a new nation with "the birth of nationality and the
coming of modernity" (Martin-Barbero, 1988, p. 455).
Because radio is so pervasive in Belize, it would be
difficult to determine whether it helps strengthen national
identity or is attended to by those who are more likely to
identify strongly with Belize. Both relationships probably
are valid, and practically all young people, whatever their
feelings about national identity, listen to Belize radio
stations.
A visitor can walk down a street in Belize City and
hear Radio Belize pouring out of homes, passing cars, and
hand held "boom boxes." The small number of radio stations
in the country and a long tradition of listening to "the


60
self-actualization needs. The need for safety includes a
longing for the absence of physical threats as well as a
need for a predictable world. A feeling of national
identity meets some of the requirements for living in a safe
and predictable world.
A safe world also creates the opportunity to fulfill
additional needs for self-esteem and self-actualization.
National identity construction builds on a variety of
factors included in the need for safety and security. The
influences of institutions in society help build national
identity through a process broadly characterized as
political socialization.
A major point in much of the political socialization
literature involving young people is their search for
stability in the social system through companionship and
social organizations (e.g., Yogev & Shapira, 1990). Renshon
(1977) has argued that political socialization can begin at
a very early age, although he criticized the lack of
longitudinal studies to illustrate childrens opinion change
over time. Along with family, schools, and peer groups, the
mass media play a role in acquainting young people with the
operations, norms, and mores of their world (Chaffee, Ward,
& Tipton, 1970).
National Identity and Personal Identity
The writings of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, the first
to popularize the phrase "identity crisis," addressed the


88
nationally produced programs are available in sufficient
supply, the American programming presence usually diminishes
(Head, 1985). Television pictures and messages portray a
part of each countrys national culture, and in almost every
culture studied, programming with a strong indigenous appeal
will outperform imported content (Luyken, 1991).
On occasion, governments take steps to ensure that
their indigenous content is able to compete equally with
imported programming. Where that happens, as in Mexico or
Canada, or where national advertisers can provide equal
competition, as in Brazil, foreign programs enjoy no real
advantage and local culture takes precedence. Where
governments provide no regulation, or do not enforce
existing television regulations, the competition between
imported programs and locally produced content can be quite
different. The economy of scale enjoyed by television
program producers in developed countries who can sell at or
below the production costs in other nations may overwhelm
local competition and replace local programming (Collins,
1988; Dunnett, 1990).
Scotland
A study of media and national identity in Scotland
suggests some of the comparisons between local and national
media that may apply in Belize. Like Belize, which has a
heavy "Belizean" influence in its radio programming and
newspapers, "Scottishness" characterizes Scottish radio


218
Researchers acquainted with television effects studies
find few reasons to view television exposure measures as a
way of explaining associations with many cognitive,
attitudinal, and behavioral measures (McLeod & McDonald,
1985). Media dependency theory also clearly states that it
does not share the "mass society" idea that isolated
individuals are affected by powerful media forces (DeFleur &
Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p. 308). The present research suggests
that the measures of national identity used in this study
may be added to the list of variables to which television
exposure is related poorly or not at all.
Hypotheses 2a and 2b, predicting a positive correlation
between national identity and Belize newspaper exposure and
dependency also were not supported. The positive
relationship between exposure and national identity
predicted by Hypothesis 2a was found, but it was very weak
and not significant. The average readers newspaper
exposure in Belize is lower than in most developed countries
because Belizean newspapers are weeklies rather than
dailies. Daily publication would offer seven times as many
opportunities to read the paper and learn about events
around Belize, especially the political events the Belize
papers focus on. Daily exposure to news about government
events might strengthen identifications with political
leaders and encourage more interest in national affairs.


133
Zero-order correlations were used to begin the analysis
of associations between the main predictor and criterion
variables. The model for this relationship is built around
five media use and interpersonal contact variables and their
potential interactions with a single dependent variable
involving a sense of national identity. The tools used in
this analysis are described in the SPSS-X statistical
package (Hedderson, 1987; SPSS Inc., 1988). Initial
analysis simply looked at distributions of age and sex of
the survey participants and their self-classified ethnicity
to see if these numbers represented ratios approximating
national distributions.
The model used in this analysis incorporated the
background variables of age, sex, and ethnicity with the
predictor variables of media use and interpersonal
relations, and the dependent variable of "sense of national
identity." In such a model, the predictor variables are
correlated with the dependent or criterion variable. All 13
responses to questions about national identity were combined
into a "national identity index." The numerical value for
the "national identity index" was the mean number of times a
survey participant answered "Belize" to the 13 questions.
"Belize" responses were coded as 1; all other responses were
coded as 0. Data analysis was directed toward learning how
individual media use correlated with an individuals "sense
of national identity."


APPENDIX E
MAP OF CENTRAL AMERICA
256


95
differences by reducing choice. Barnett et al. (1989) did
not explore this option in their research.
Television also can be a force for ethnic and language
group assimilation. Subervi-Velez (1986) reported a number
of studies in which language, communication, and media use
played a role in the assimilation of minorities in the
United States. He wrote that most survey research studies
take the point of view that the media of the dominant
society tend to assimilate ethnic groups. Evidence of media
as both an assimilative force and a pluralistic force can be
found in Belize. Weekly newspapers take a strongly
pluralistic role, appealing to their audiences by reflecting
the positions of Belizean political parties. Radio service
in Belize is both nationalistic and pluralistic, serving a
variety of ethnic and language groups, but always
emphasizing the national ethic to "be Belizean.
According to one Belizean writer (Heusner, 1987), the
idea of "being Belizean" was popularized by Prime Minister
George Price from the 1950s onward:
His idea that everyone, regardless of race, class,
or religion was above everything else a Belizean,
and that Belizean culture was the sum total of all
the groups, suggested that there was actually a
certain commonality in diversity, (p. 4)
This concept of commonality in diversity is reflected
in Radio Belize and Friends FM. The government-sponsored
Belize radio services follow a Latin American communications
model in which radio brought "the birth of nationality and


113
population lived in the Belize district, which is 68% Creole
and 19% Mestizo (Central Statistical Office, 1991; Belize:
Education Statistical Digest, 1993).
Aiming for a total of 500 completed questionnaires
would indicate that 43% (215 students) of the survey
respondents should be selected from the Belize district,
which was 68% Creole. According to educator estimates, the
Creole population in the public schools of Belize City
actually was much higher than 68%. Distributing 215
questionnaires at two schools where school officials
estimated the Creole population at 90% meant that about 194
of the returned questionnaires probably would be filled out
by Creoles. With a national Creole population of only 30%,
the survey should target 30% of the 500 questionnaires (150)
to Creole students to obtain a representative sample. Thus,
it became apparent that Belize City schools should be
undersampled numerically to balance the national population
of Creoles. A total of 165 Belize City questionnaires was
calculated for both of the schools surveyed [165 x .90
Creole = 149; Creole target total = 150],
These same calculations were made at each of the six
schools in the three districts surveyed. Some districts
were oversampled or undersampled to provide the proper
ethnic balance, and some schools were oversampled or
undersampled. The quota sampling procedure matched (1)
national ethnicity distributions, (2) secondary school


I am very grateful for the help of the people of
Belize, especially the Ministry of Education. The
cooperation of the government of Belize and the fine young
people who are the future of their nation made the work
there much easier.
Finally, I owe a special debt of gratitude to my wife
Toni Elliott, who brought me into the computer age three
years ago and provided the support that made this work
possible. From her computer assistance in Texas to handing
out questionnaires in Belize, to her dissertation help in
Florida, she has continued to be my most important source of
support and my best friend.
This dissertation is dedicated to my mother, Bailey
Elliott, my first teacher, who worked to instill a love of
words, learning and excellence.
iv


182
participants were coded into a single variable, "dependency
on television," which showed a strong and significant
negative correlation with a sixth item asking how much
respondents would miss television if they could not watch
for a long time (r = -.213, p < .001).
The negative correlation between the two measures
indicated that those who were highly dependent on television
as an information source also would be very likely to miss
television. In this case, a high number of "television"
responses correlated negatively--as expected--with the
lowest number indicating how much television would be
missed, which was choice (1) "lost without it."
H2: (a) There will be a positive correlation between
exposure to Belize newspapers and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis showed a positive, but weak
relationship between exposure to Belize newspapers and
feelings of national identity; the relationship was not
significant (r = .055, p = .151). This hypothesis was based
on an assumption that increased readership of newspapers
from Belize would be associated with stronger feelings of
national identity as measured by the national identity
index. Exposure was recorded as interval data, measured by
how many times survey participants reported reading a Belize
newspaper within the last month.


237
The history of media effects studies chronicles cause and
effect relationships stated with caution, and correlation
studies that offer conclusions perhaps more reliable than
those reached by effects studies. One review of 17
television effects studies found that the reported magnitude
of media-source relationships depended heavily on the type
of dependent measure used (Ware & Dupagne, 1994). The
findings of this research also depend heavily on the
dependent variable, the national identity index. Changing
the elements of the index can be expected to change the
correlations based on that index.
This research clearly is not an effects study.
Research on interactions between media exposure and
dependency and the dependent variable of national identity
is very sparse, so there are few specific research findings
with which to compare conclusions. In Canada, researchers
using a different theoretical approach and a different set
of measures found that Canadian young people who watched
more U.S. television were more likely to perceive themselves
as Americans (Barnett & McPhail, 1980). The same conclusion
about American television and young people in Belize is not
possible based on the data reported here.
Interactions between national identity measures and
mass media such as magazines, radio, and television in
developing nations are not clearly understood. This
research was designed to fit the purposes of population


121
questionnaire segments were designed to group responses by
the topic categories indicated below:
(1) demographic information, Ql-2;
(2) media access, Q3-6;
(3) media exposure, Q7-22;
(4) media dependency, Q23-32;
(5) national identity items, Q33-36;
(6) the national identity index, Q37-49;
(7) foreign influence items, Q50-57;
(8) lifestyle opportunities Q58-65;
(9) identity information, Q66-68; and
(10)television preferences Q69-77.
Demographic items recorded age and sex. Media access
questions covered access to radio, broadcast television, and
cable television. The media exposure section measured daily
use of and preferences for broadcast program types and
sources. The exposure section also measured exposure to
newspaper, magazine, radio, and television sources from
within and from outside Belize.
Media dependency items examined which of five
information sources--television, radio, newspapers,
magazines, and other people--were used for information about
neighborhood, local, national, and international events, or
simply for entertainment. Another set of media dependency
items measured the amount of dependency on various
information sources by asking participants how much they


244
Union, Yugoslavia, or Czechoslovakia. On the other hand,
East and West Germany have become one, partly because of
nationalistic feelings, and partlysome would saybecause
West German television portrayed a better lifestyle to the
residents of East Germany.
As resurgent conflicts involving nationalism come to
the surface around the world, the connection between media
use and national identity becomes a more important research
area. Perhaps national identity is born in the blood or
built from the land itself; perhaps it is a feeling that no
one has the ability to change. On the other hand, believing
that national identity is unaffected by societal forces
would mean denying much of what is known about learning
theory and political socialization.
The feelings the Greeks knew as patrisidentity with
the fatherlandplay an important role in the political map
of the world in the 1990s. Research into the role of media
in defining national identity addresses one of the central
questions of mass communication: whether media are a force
for unity in a "global village" or a 500-channel labyrinth
that helps divide societies into smaller and smaller
psychological communities.


225
focus, the high exposure and the feeling that listeners
would be lost without radio did not translate into strong
correlations with national identity measures.
One explanation for the relationships between national
identity and radio exposure and dependency can be found in
how the medium is used by a young audience. Radio is
primarily an entertainment medium young people use to listen
to music. Young people typically increase their radio use
during adolescence while lowering television use; one
American sample of adolescents listened to radio about five
hours a day (Brown et al., 1990). The Belizean sample also
averaged nearly five hours of radio exposure a day, and
respondents said they preferred music over all other radio
programming.
In Belize, the music on the radio includes large
numbers of American songs, from Eddy Arnold classics to
modern rap. The heavy airplay of American music may explain
why 30% of respondents said the United States had the best
radio programs. American records played on Radio Belize
give the "voice of Belize" a somewhat American sound that
may seem Belizean because it is so common. The Voice of
America also operates a 50,000 watt relay station in Belize
that broadcasts at 1530/1580 on the AM band.
Survey responses indicated that radio functions as a
"background" medium for the young audience in Belize, just
as it does for most other radio listeners. The Radio Belize


204
exposure data to ratios of Belize and foreign media before
entering the data in the regression equation produced a
different look at the role of media in national identity
than the regression model shown in Table 21, where Belize
magazines and foreign newspapers were among the predictors
of identity. Ratios can provide important information in a
fixed linear regression model because standard deviations
will change by the same factor as the original scores when
linear transformations such as ratios are computed as
z-scores (Cohen & Cohen, 1975, p. 32).
Principal Factor Analysis
A principal factor analysis with a varimax rotation was
used to partition the media exposure variables into reliable
factors to examine relationships among sources of media
messages (Table 23). This procedure was based on four
earlier data analysis findings. (1) Correlation analysis
recorded a statistically significant relationship between
Belize magazine exposure and measures of national identity,
and a relationship approaching significance between Belize
radio exposure and national identity. (2) Regression
analysis included Belize magazine exposure as a predictor of
national identity measures, but not Belize radio exposure.
(3) The regression analysis also included foreign newspapers
as a variable for predicting the strength of national
identity scores. (4) A second regression equation based on
media exposure data computed as ratios of Belize/foreign


224
voice of Belize" contribute to its continuing popularity.
In addition, the station has made a greater effort to
deliver local and national programming during the last few
years (Lent, 1989).
Radio did not appear as a predictor of national
identity in the regression model shown in Table 21.
However, when Belize radio listening was entered in a
regression equation as a ratio of total radio listening,
radio dependency became a predictor of national identity, as
shown in Table 22. The regression equation showed that
reporting that radio would be missed if it was not available
accounted for about 4% of the variance in national identity
scores.
In this research, the relationship between national
identity and Belize radio exposure can be characterized as
positive, but low-key. Radio was the media source most
depended on for information about events around Belize and
in the survey participants home towns, but H3: (b)
predicting a positive correlation between radio dependency
and national identity showed only a very weak positive
correlation that was not significant.
Radio also was the communication medium respondents
were most likely to miss; more than half said they would
feel "lost" without radio. Although Belize radio stations
emphasize news, local events, and public service
announcements where information about Belize is the primary


CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW
A focus on associations between national identity and
media exposure and dependency requires conceptualizations of
how national identity is formed, how it is defined, and how
media dependency theory has been operationalized. Previous
studies of the effects of media use and dependency in
cultures around the world also are relevant to the questions
addressed here. The literature reviewed in this chapter
covers (1) national identity formation and maintenance, (2)
individual media system dependency theory, and (3) previous
studies of media influence and effects.
The working assumption of this literature review is
that televisions role in national identity formation and
maintenance in Belize has not been covered in previous
research. For this reason, the literature review is
accompanied by explanations of how the materials covered
apply to specific situations within Belize. A second
assumption is that the research results might be
generalizable to other countries dealing with the influences
of global mass media, especially television. A third
assumption is that the arrival of foreign television and
national independence in Belize at virtually the same time
46


10
portrayals of national life. Egypts Minister of Education
reports that Islamic fundamentalists are trying to promote a
pan-Islamic identity by barring students from singing the
Egyptian national anthem and preventing them from saluting
the Egyptian flag. According to the minister, Dr. Hussein
Kamel Baha Al-Din, the fundamentalists disapprove of drama,
media, the theater and the arts. "There was to be no
[Egyptian] national identity-only an Islamic one," the
minister said of the continuing fundamentalist pressure on
national traditions in the 1990s (Weaver, 1995, p. 64).
The same type of concerns about media impacts on
national identity have been heard for many years in Belize.
Influential Belizeans have said that television is a
powerful source of foreign influence with a possibly
negative impact on Belizean life. In the 1980s, Said Musa,
the Belizean minister of Education, Sports and Culture,
worried about the influence of U.S. television as he
addressed a UNESCO conference:
Today we experience the phenomenon of having
direct U.S. satellite TV broadcasts in our homes
24 hours a day. This explosion of television
and its cultural implications is thrusting upon
Belizeans an awareness of the opportunities
presented while at the same time challenging us
with an urgent responsibility to ensure the
integrity of our culture. (Bolland, 1986, p. 63)
Musas statement indicates a belief in television's
power to portray opportunities not available to many
Belizean viewers. Foreign television pictures of the world
beyond Belize often show the attractive opportunities the


23
border in Guatemala ($1,300 annual GDP), or a few miles to
the south in nearby Honduras ($1,090 annual GDP).
Despite this apparent poverty and a weak national
economy, Belize had at least 18 television and cable
services by the late 1980s, an average of one television
station for every 9,000 viewers, and one of the highest
rates of VCR ownership in the Western Hemisphere (Lent,
1990, 1991). In 1990, the nations 209,000 citizens owned
an estimated 109,000 radios and 31,000 televisions, about
one television for every seven Belizeans (Europa World Year
Book, 1994). In 1994, Belize had nearly 21,000 telephones,
an average of one telephone for every 10 people, an INTELSAT
satellite earth station capable of receiving messages from
around the world, a shortwave station, six AM radio
stations, five FM stations, and a Voice of America relay
station broadcasting in both Spanish and English (CIA World
Factbook, 1994¡ Europa World Year Book, 1994).
No daily newspapers were published in Belize in 1995,
but citizens had access to several privately owned weeklies.
The weekly papers usually lined up either for or against one
of Belizes political parties. Magazines were less
plentiful than newspapers. Magazines about Belize typically
were published either by the government or by private
interests in the United States. Some American magazines
such as Time and Cosmopolitan could be found, but only after
some searching. Newsstands in Belize were rare; the weekly


22 A media dependency model predicting identity..
23 Media source factor loadings
202
205
viii


217
in national identity formation would be inappropriate if
based on these data. In this research, no conclusions can
be drawn about television effects on young people, even
though such effects often are assumed by people in Belize
simply because U.S. television is widely available and
widely attended to.
Effects statements require evidence of covariance
between presumed causes and effects, an establishment of
time order with cause preceding effect, the ruling out of
alternative explanations, and careful control of error
variance (Shoemaker & McCombs, 1989, p. 154). The point of
this discussion is that presumptions of television effects
must be carefully supported, but often are not. This
research found no significant correlations between the
national identity measures used and television exposure and
dependency.
Weaknesses in the research design may account for the
lack of significant television-national identity
correlations, but a more likely explanation is that mere
television exposure often is not a very useful predictor of
statistical variance, as is illustrated by this research.
One review of television effects research that measured a
wide variety of variables concluded that correlation
coefficients typically fall below .15, and that television
exposure "usually predicts less than 3% of the variance"
(Potter, 1994, p. 16).


29
billing itself as dedicated to "environmental education,
conservation and ecotourism." The magazine, published in
Belize City, appears to target an international audience,
with maps of tourist destinations and articles on parks,
wildlife, and biological diversity.
The monthly Belize Currents ($3.95 BZ) publishes not in
Belize, but in Memphis, Tennessee. Its content focuses on
government information and features about business, trade,
and commerce in Belize, hardly topics of popular interest to
a general audience. The quarterly Belize Magazine ($4.95
BZ) publishes from Nashville, Tennessee, with editorial
offices in Pensacola, Florida. Both Belize Currents and
Belize Magazine feature lavish, full-color photo layouts
promoting diving, hiking, and ecotourism. Both are filled
with advertisements for resorts, banks, lodges, and travel
companies.
The lack of general-interest Belizean magazines,
combined with a partisan press low in objectivity, appears
to discourage many citizens from reading Belize newspapers
and periodicals. In two separate surveys during a two-year
period, Harmon (1988) found that 27% and 35% of respondents
in Belize said they had read no newspapers or magazines
during the preceding week, an indication of low interest in
locally produced print media. Young people appeared to
follow the national trend of low interest in most newspapers
and magazines. Elliott (1992) found that only half of high


235
"public information" broadcasting campaign would be even
more likely now that Radio Belize is faced with private
competition.
As for magazines, which showed a positive and
significant correlation with national identity, the
government of Belize probably can add little more to its
efforts to inform the public about the countrys positive
attributes and its economic and developmental progress. The
governments Belize Information Service publishes Belize
Today, distributed free of charge to anyone who signs up for
a subscription. A spokesman said most copies of Belize
Today are mailed to foreign journalists.
The Belize Information Service also supplies the
nations newspapers with economic and technical information,
government statements, and reports from government agencies.
The same service is provided to foreign journalists and to
foreign magazines covering Belize. For example, most issues
of Belize Currents, published by Americans in Memphis,
Tennessee, are filled with information from the government
of Belize and the U.S. Embassy in Belize. Other government
magazines would compete with the existing Belize Today at a
greater cost to the Belize Information Service.
The libertarian media climate in Belize also
discourages additional investment in television, which
appears at first glance as another avenue for national
identity building through the mass media. As outlined in


134
Reliability Measures
A series of reliability measures checked exposure to
and use of newspapers, radio, magazines, and television.
The reliability analysis was designed to assess the internal
consistency of the media use and exposure items.
Correlation matrixes were developed for the use of each
medium for news about neighborhood events, events in town,
around the country, world news, and as a source of
entertainment.
A 13-item list of questions asking participants to
write in the country with the best government, best culture,
best schools and other variables was a central measure of
national identity, referred to as the "national identity
index." The researcher postulated that participants who
were most likely to name Belize as "best" would report the
strongest sense of national identity. Cronbachs alpha was
calculated for the 13-item index as a measure of internal
reliability of the items (Shoemaker & McCombs, 1989; Stamm,
1989) .
Factor Analysis
As suggested by McLeod and McDonald (1985), media
dependence can involve several dimensions such as exposure,
time spent with media, reliance on media messages, and level
of attention given to media. In the present survey, factor
analysis was used to classify media sources according to the
underlying dimensions that might account for common


135
variances in the variables under study (Kim & Mueller,
1978). These dimensions were used to supplement results
obtained from other statistical procedures such as
correlation analysis. The purpose of factor analysis in
this research is simply to look for between-media
relationships.
Print and broadcast media, for example, can be expected
to factor along different dimensions. Those who report high
exposure to newspapers also may report high exposure to
magazines and other print media. On the other hand, this
relationship may not prevail in Belize. Factor analysis can
provide another look at how media exposure and dependency
patterns in this research may intercorrelate.
For example, those who report high media use for
information about the immediate environment may use a number
of media sources to learn about their town and country.
Those sources may change when respondents seek information
about the rest of the world. Here again, factor analysis
can offer a different perspective on media and national
identity by grouping information sources by their uses.
Regression Analysis
Relationships among the variables also were explored
using multiple regression/correlation. For this research,
stepwise multiple regression was used to build a model
predicting strength of national identity. As described by
Cohen and Cohen (1975), the regression model assumes that


122
would miss these sources if they had to get along without
them for a while.
The national identity section asked survey participants
to compare life in Belize with the overall quality of life
in several other countries. A 13-item "national identity
index" asked respondents to write in the name of a specific
country that does the best job of government, providing
jobs, quality schools, and other services. Other items in
the national identity index asked which country had the
happiest people, and the people most like those of Belize.
Foreign influence items recorded information about
contacts outside Belize and the frequency of exposure to
those contacts. These items included the number of visits
to other countries during the past year and the number of
contacts with friends and relatives living outside Belize.
"Lifestyle opportunity" questions asked about the
relative balance in the survey participants aspirations
within Belize as compared with opportunities that might be
enjoyed outside Belize. For example, the students were
asked how interested they were in visiting, working in,
living in, or attending a university in another country.
Identity information asked about the respondents*
ethnic classification and how strongly they identified
themselves as "Belizeans" or members of a "global society."
Finally, nine television preference questions asked
about identification with various national sources of


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii
ABSTRACT ix
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Statement of the Problem 3
The Arrival of Belize Television 5
Belizes "Television Generation" 8
Rationale for the Study 11
Summary 4 14
2 BELIZE MEDIA 17
The Influence of National Independence 18
Press Theory and Belize 20
The Media Climate in Belize 22
Summary 43
3 LITERATURE REVIEW 46
National Identity as Communications Strategy.... 47
National Identity and Young People 59
Media Dependency Theory 64
International Mass Media Studies 77
Summary 97
The Research Question 98
The Research Hypotheses 99
4 METHOD 103
Survey Design 103
The Survey Sample 106
Instrumentation 115
Procedures 127
Data Analysis 132
Summary 137
v


4
affect media exposure and dependency because it may cause
young people to spend less time with Belizean media. In
addition, media exposure and dependency may have a very low
association with national identity in Belize.
Perhaps the mere presence and popularity of U.S.
television programs does not affect the national identity of
Belizean audiences, who may enjoy U.S. programs without
feeling that they are "alternative Americans." On the other
hand, young Belizeans may become dependent upon their mostly
American programs for socialization skills, information
about their world, and an orientation to their place in the
world. For example, one Canadian study found that young
Canadians who spent more time with American television were
more likely to perceive themselves as Americans and less
likely to perceive themselves as Canadians (Barnett &
McPhail, 1980). The stated problem in this research is
measuring media exposure and dependency and determining
their relationships to feelings of unity, national loyalty,
and Belizean nationality, summed up as "national identity."
Many developing countries use the mass media to build
loyalties to government and communicate with disparate
ethnic or language groups. The history of U.S. television
programs in Belize illustrates the importance of a rapid and
responsive government policy to regulate mass media in a
developing nation. Belize did not have a clear and
enforceable television policy at the time of its


158
Table 11. Radio and Television News
Preferences.
Radio
TV
News of most interest.
%
%
News about Belize:
81.4
33.0
Other Central American countries:
5.4
21.7
The world outside Central America:
11.3
43.4
Missing values
1.9
1.9
100.0
100.0
Table 11 reflects a broadcast news segregation by
content in Belize. Television generally covers world news;
radio generally covers local news. As hypothesized, those
who depend on radio for information are expected to show
stronger measures of national identity if media dependency
is related to identity because radio gives strong coverage
to national affairs. Belizeans who spend large amounts of
time with radio are exposed to a great deal of news about
events in their country. Those who spend significant
amounts of time with television, especially if they are
watching television news, are exposed to a lot of
information about the rest of the world.
Questions about content preferences in print media were
not included because radio and television were the media
young people spent the most time with. Survey participants
reported spending more than 11 hours a day with radio and
television combined, while total print media reading


APPENDIX D
MAP OF BELIZE
255


209
from Radio Belize--creates more positive evaluations of
Belize as a country. The expectation that dependency on
television will predict a small variance in national
identity scores also does not mean that television increases
"global identity" at the expense of national identity (See
Table 17).
Young people who are proudest of their country also are
most likely to seek out and depend on media that reinforce
their opinions of Belize as a good place to live. Those who
are most curious about the world outside Belize also are
most likely to use television as an information source,
especially when the relatively small amount of global
information on Belize radio is taken into account. No
claims of a causal relationship between media use and a
stronger sense of national identity can be made from these
data.
Two analyses using multiple linear regression found
that the main predictor of a positive Belizean national
identity among secondary school students is a feeling that
life in Belize is better than life in the United States
(beta = .217, Table 21; beta =.272, Table 22). The final
regression equation listed two media variables, the amount
radio would be missed, and the degree of television
dependency (See Table 22). Together, the two media
variables in the regression model explained about 9% of the
variance in national identity index scores.


187
Correlation analysis revealed a positive, but weak
relationship between dependency on radio and feelings of
national identity (r = .054, p = .134). This hypothesis was
based on an assumption that dependency on radio, with its
constant daily coverage of local and national events, would
be associated with a general awareness of events and culture
in Belize, and with national identity measures.
Radio dependence was measured by the number of times
respondents answered "radio" to a set of five questions
asking about which media source they used for entertainment,
or to learn about events (1) in their neighborhood, (2) in
their town, (3) around Belize, and (4) in the world. The
five responses were coded into a single "radio dependency"
variable, which showed a negative and significant
correlation with a sixth item asking how much respondents
would miss radio if they could not listen to it for a long
time (r = -.165, p < .001). Those who were most dependent
on radio also were most likely to feel "lost without it."
Other survey responses indicated that radio was the
single source of information survey participants were most
likely to report they would feel "lost without" (See Table
13). Nearly 51% of those surveyed said they would feel lost
without radio, while only 13% said they would feel lost
without their friends if they did not hear from them for a
long time. Despite the importance of radio, and a positive
correlation between both (1) radio exposure and national


259
Caughie, J. (1982). Scottish television: What would it
look like? In C. McArthur (Ed.), Scotch Reels.
London: British Film Institute.
Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook (1994).
Washington, DC: Author.
Central Statistical Office (1985). Abstract of statistics.
Belmopan, Belize: Author.
Central Statistical Office (1991). Abstract of statistics.
Belmopan, Belize: Author.
Chaffee, S. H., Ward, L. S., & Tipton, L. (1970). Mass
communication and political socialization. Journalism
Quarterly. 47(4), p. 647-659, 666.
Cohen, L. C. (1988). Conflict and consensus: Television in
Israel. In C. Schneider & B. Wallis (Eds.), Global
television (pp. 47-57). New York: Wedge Press.
Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1975). Applied multiple
regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral
sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
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consciousness White Plains, NY: M. E. Sharpe.
Collins, R. (1988). Wall-to-wall Dallas: The U.S.-U.K.
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(Eds.), Global television (pp. 79-93). New York:
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Collins, R. (1990). Culture, communication, and national
Identity: The case of Canadian television. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press.
DeFleur, M. L., & Ball-Rokeach, S. (1989). Theories of
mass communication (5th ed.). New York: Longman.
Dizard, W. (1961). The strategy of truth. Washington, DC:
Public Affairs Press.
Dobson, N. (1973). A history of Belize. New York:
Longman.
Dobos, J., & Dimmick, J. (1988). Factor analysis and
gratification constructs. Journal of Broadcasting
and Electronic Media. 32(3), 335-350.
Drew, D., & Reeves, B. (1980). Children and television
news. Journalism Quarterly. 57(1), 45-54.


27
cabinet and the opening of the 1995 Supreme Court session.
No mention of the alleged photographer assault appeared in
The Peoples Pulse, which bills itself as "the heartbeat of
Belize."
Belizeans who want a break from the heavily political
content of their weekly papers can buy the international
edition of The Miami Herald, flown in each morning from
Florida. The Heralds international edition is available in
Belize City and in many resort areas only hours after it is
printed in Miami. Despite its same-day publication
schedule, the newspaper is not available throughout the
country. Citizens in far western Belize might go for months
at a time without seeing a foreign newspaper.
The content of Belizean and foreign newspapers is very
different. While most Belize newspapers covered political
wrangling over their House Speakers actions in mid-January,
1995, the Herald headlined rising interest rates in the
U.S., an earthquake in Japan, and the O.J. Simpson trial,
complete with a front page picture of Simpson and one of his
jury consultants. The Herald used wire service reports from
many other countries, while the typical Belize newspapers
coverage of international events was very limited.
Belizean weekly papers published in 1995 included
Amandala, The Belize Times, The Peoples Pulse, Reporter,
The Alliance, and the governments press offering,
Government Gazette. News in all the papers published in


137
(Vogt, 1993). To use multiple regression in this situation,
the raw number of "Belize" answers on each questionnaire,
coded as 1, was used as a quantitative scale measure.
For example, a total of 13 answers specifying "Belize"
as the best country was scored 13. Each survey respondent
received a score between 0 and 13. Multiple regression
analysis then could be used to measure the relationships
between the independent variables and the dependent
variable, the national identity index. Coefficients for
each of the predictor variables are estimates of an
individual variables effects with the effects of other
predictor variables held constant (Vogt, 1993, p. 146).
Multiple regression can demonstrate both the combined
effects of a set of independent variables as well as the
effects of individual variables (Wimmer & Dominick, 1983).
It is most useful under circumstances where interval data
are distributed normally (Hedderson, 1987). Under
circumstances where the data are not distributed normally
with equal variances in the population, the robustness of
the multiple regression model can withstand some violations
(Cohen & Cohen, 1975).
Summary
A cross-sectional survey of secondary school students
in Belize was carried out in January, 1995. The research
questionnaire covered 77 topics, from age and sex to survey
participants* ideas about how they would change television


191
the problems in other countries. In such cases, Belizean
young people are likely to ask their contacts in those
countries about perceived problems, which can lead to at
least some negative information. The same kind of
information situation may have influenced the participants
in this survey.
H5: (c) Desire for lifestyle opportunities outside
Belize will be negatively related to measures of national
identity.
Correlation analysis revealed a weak negative
association approaching significance between three
"lifestyle opportunity" variables and measures of national
identity (r = -.080, p = .069). This hypothesis tested the
idea that high school students who planned to seek (1) a
college education in another country, (2) a job in another
country, or (3) permanent residence in another country would
register lower identifications with Belize.
A reliability analysis of the three items showed very
low internal consistency (alpha = .012), so each item was
analyzed separately, using a series of two-tailed t-tests
for independent samples. The t-tests were used to examine
differences in feelings of national identity by comparing
the mean "lifestyle opportunity" scores of three groups:
(1) those who wanted to seek a college education in another
country and those who did not; (2) those who wanted to seek
employment in another country and those who did not; and (3)


230
times as likely to answer that Belize was the best country
to live in when compared to the United States. These data
suggest that mass media, combined with interpersonal
contacts in other countries, can influence young people in
Belize to take a more positive view of their country.
Survey responses indicate that young Belizeans would
like to enjoy some of the lifestyle benefits of countries
they hear about from others or learn about through the
media. A weak correlation approaching significance offered
limited support for H5:(c), predicting that desire for
lifestyle opportunities outside Belize would be negatively
related to national identity measures. The correlation
examined desires for college, a job, or permanent residence
outside Belize. Respondents overwhelmingly preferred the
United States for college and jobs, but only about one in
four was willing to live permanently in the U.S.
T-tests for independent samples examined differences in
national identity means by comparing those who wanted to go
abroad in search of lifestyle opportunities and those who
preferred to stay in Belize. A lack of significant
differences in national identity measures between those who
would like to go elsewhere and those who preferred to stay
in Belize indicates that national identity is not
significantly affected by the desire to seek jobs, an
education, or even permanent residence elsewhere. While
respondents clearly felt that universities and jobs were


116
The independent variables measuring media exposure are
based on questions used by Elliott (1992) and Snyder, Roser,
and Chaffee (1991). For example, Snyder et al., (1991)
measured content preferences, levels of exposure to various
media, and favorite country of media origin (p. 123).
Elliott (1992) measured exposure to radio and television as
interval data in hours per day of listening or viewing, the
same technique used here.
The media dependency items are adapted from Gazianos
(1990) comparisons of individual dependence on radio,
magazines, newspapers, and television, and how much certain
news content would be missed if audience members had to do
without it (p. 4). In this research, respondents were asked
which news source they turn to when they want to learn about
events in their neighborhood, their town, their country, and
the rest of the world. Response choices included media
information sources as well as "other people." The
questionnaire included five information choices: newspapers,
magazines, radio, television, and other people.
The method used in this research also was informed by
previous research on Hispanic media uses (Subervi-Velez,
1984), by Drew and Reeves (1980) study of children and
media use, and by McLeod and McDonalds (1985) research
calling for particular attention to variables that assess
not just media exposure, but dependency, reliance, and
exposure to particular levels of content. Drew and Reeves


5 RESULTS 139
General Sample Description 140
Media Access and Exposure 145
Media Dependency Measures 159
The National Identity Index 162
Additional Identity and Dependency Measures 165
Program Preferences 174
Program Ideas 176
Tests of Hypotheses 179
Additional Analyses 194
Summary 207
6 DISCUSSION 212
Summary of Main Findings 213
Implications of the Findings 232
Conclusion 236
Future Research 241
APPENDICES
A PERMISSION FORM 245
B STUDENT ASSENT SCRIPT 247
C QUESTIONNAIRE 248
D MAP OF BELIZE 255
E MAP OF CENTRAL AMERICA 256
REFERENCES 257
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 269
vi


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257


126
(4b) Radio dependency was measured by five items
asking about media choices for entertainment and information
and a sixth item asking how much radio would be missed.
(5a) Dependency on interpersonal sources of
information was measured by responses to five questions
asking which information source was used for entertainment
or to learn about various events. The five information
source choices were other people, newspapers, magazines,
radio, and television.
A sixth item asked how much friends would be missed as
a source of information if they were unavailable. These six
items were operationalized as a total reading of dependency
on interpersonal sources of information within the country.
Those who scored highest on reliance on interpersonal
sources of information within Belize also were expected to
score highest on measures on national identity.
(5b) Exposure to information from relatives and
friends living outside Belize was measured by the number of
times per month respondents were contacted by letter or
telephone by people living in other countries. Monthly
contact by phone or letter with a friend or relative outside
Belize was recorded as interval data.
According to a previous study of "push" and "pull"
forces from within and from outside Belize, forces that push
young people out of Belize are experienced directly, while
pulling forces may be communicated by information from


262
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197
Reading foreign newspapers correlated negatively with
national identity scores, indicating that more frequent
reading of foreign newspapers would predict lower measures
of identity with Belize. The predictive value of foreign
newspaper readership is questionable, however, because 54%
of respondents said they did not read a newspaper from
another country during a typical month. Together, the two
print media exposure variables--Belize magazines and foreign
newspapersaccounted for about 3.5% of the variation in
national identity scores. Foreign newspaper readership
accounted for 2% of the variance (= .0208), and Belize
4
magazine readership accounted for about 1.6% (R = .0155).
According to the linear regression model, the best
predictor of national identity among these survey
participants is the individuals comparison between life in
the United States and in Belize (beta = .217). A one
standard deviation difference in the "U.S. life predictor
variable would be expected to result in a difference of .217
in the "national identity" criterion variable (Hedderson,
1987, p. 105).
The "U.S. life" survey item asked participants to
compare their lives with life in the United States and
describe the result as (1) worse, (2) about the same, or (3)
better. A feeling that life in Belize was better received
the highest score, which correlated positively with higher
"Belize" scores on the national identity index. For young


172
Table 17.
National and
Global
Identity.
Index
N
%
Reading
I can only
be Belizean.
i
86
20.3%
2
16
3.8
3
18
4.2
4
14
3.3
Responses
1-5 N=193
(46%)
5
59
13.9
Responses
6-10 N=221
(52%)
6
19
4.5
7
27
6.4
8
38
9.0
9
19
4.5
I am part
of a global society.
10
118
27.8
Missing values
2.3
100.0
The survey respondents below the midpoint on the scale
above tended to classify themselves as Belizeans only, a
more nationalistic orientation. Those above the midpoint
felt they were part of a global society. Table 17 shows a
breakdown of the students* Belizean identitygenerally
Belizean, but holding a "dual citizenship" in their country
and in a perceived global society outside Belize.
Along with visits to other countries and close contact
with people who live elsewhere, individual choices of mass


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178
from Corozal. But a viewer from Belize City countered with
the statement, "I would show more local programs." Another
Belize City viewer called for "Facts about Belize and
interesting talk shows to watch about life in Belize."
While Belize appears to have few widespread youth
problems such as crime, drug use, or teenage pregnancy, the
young viewers in the survey audience perceived many social
problems and saw television as a means of addressing them.
When asked for ideas about television shows featuring young
people in Belize, the students proposed a variety of ideas
that focused on drug use, crime, and teenage pregnancy.
"How young people involve theirselves (sic) in gangs and
drugs," was the program theme suggested by teenager in
Benque Viejo in far western Belize.
"The show would be about teenage pregnancy and drug
abuse," a teenager in Belize City suggested. "Teenagers
fighting against violence," was the theme suggested by an
18-year-old in rural San Ignacio, where the most violence
apparent on the streets appeared to originate from the
loudspeakers of an audiocassette dealer near the center of
town.
In summary, the teenage survey respondents in Belize
perceived a variety of problems they thought the mass media,
and television in particular, should address. These social
problems were not apparent in any published statistics, but
to the teenage respondents, the problems were very real.


106
a sample of adolescents is that as many as half the young
people of high school age are not in school. In summary,
survey sampling in Belize encounters the same challenges to
accurate data collection that researchers have struggled
with in developing countries for many years (Hursh-Cesar &
Roy, 1976).
Perhaps because of the barriers to accurate data
collection, past researchers working in Belize either made
no claims to accurate, representative sampling or avoided
mentioning details of how a sample was drawn (e.g., Johnson,
Oliveira, 4 Barnett, 1989). Mass communication surveys of
Belizean audiences encountered by this researcher have
relied on non-probability sampling. While some research in
Belize has claimed random sampling in a very small-scale
survey (Oliveria, 1986), most researchers straightforwardly
admit to convenience sampling (e.g., Snyder, Roser, &
Chaffee, 1991). This research attempted to improve on the
convenience sampling procedures reported in past studies by
more careful attention to available demographic information,
and by working out a method of applying these data to the
present survey.
The Survey Sample
The survey population was the high school students of
Belize, numbering about 9,500. The sampling unit was made
up of six secondary schools in the northern half of Belize
that were located in both rural and urban settings. The


162
Table 13. Reactions to the
Loss of
Information
Sources

Information
Source:
Friends
Paper
Magazines
Radio
TV
Feel lost without
13.4%
20.0%
13.4%
50.9%
42.9%
Miss, but get
along without
77.8
42.0
41.7
37.0
38.4
Would not miss
7.5
36.1
44.1
11.1
17.7
Radio seems to fill some very important information
needs for young listeners in Belize. It is the medium most
likely to be missed. Survey respondents also attached a
strong importance to television. Friends and magazines were
not likely to be missed if they were not available. Perhaps
young people in Belize spend so much time with broadcast
media that radio and television have become their friends in
some "parasocial" way.
The National Identity Index
The 13-item national identity index was designed to
measure personal identification with Belize and serve as the
dependent variable. The 13 items asked respondents to write
in the name of the country they believed had the best jobs,
schools, culture, and other benefits. In answering the 13
questions, participants named a total of 77 countries, but
Belize and the United States were named most. The top two
choices in each category are displayed in Table 14.


19
of radio, especially government-operated Radio Belize and
Friends FM. Radio Belize became a national institution in a
country with no national newspaper, no daily newspapers, and
a poor network of roads that made internal travel difficult.
Radio was an obvious and inexpensive solution to many mass
communication problems. In the 29 years between its
beginnings and the arrival of national independence, Radio
Belize provided emergency information for people in remote
areas, announced deaths and personal messages across the
country, and provided news, music, and entertainment in
English, Spanish, Creole, and Mayan dialects. By the early
1970s, the number of radios in Belize was greater than the
number of households and radio was a very popular national
voice (Setzekorn, 1981).
Finally, the rapid arrival of satellite television from
the United States, combined with the unchecked expansion of
local cable systems in an unregulated market, added a very
popular and exotically foreign flavor to the media mix in
Belize. The modern forces of technology and private
enterprise moved into a country with a culture steeped in
tradition and top-down colonial rule. The arrival of
American satellite television in a nation with poor
infrastructure, many isolated villages, and a largely
colonial culture brought along the clash of modern and
traditional values commonly observed in developing countries
around the world.


85
television service that reflected national values and
national identity never have been successful in Mexico.
American influence over Mexican mass media has remained a
problem for the Mexican government. Entrepreneurs took
advantage of inexpensive but popular American television
shows, airing large amounts of U.S. programming for many
years (Tunstall, 1977). Even in the 1990s, American
stations broadcasting in English outnumbered Mexican
stations on cable outlets in some Mexican television markets
(Elliott, 1994).
Guyana and the Caribbean
Instead of following the Mexican example of requiring
an emphasis on national identity through television, Belize
seemed to parallel the example of television development
that occurred in Guyana. As the only English-speaking
country in South America and a former British colony, Guyana
shared a South American status similar to that of Belize in
Central America. After proclaiming the country a republic
in 1970, the Guyanan government took control of radio
broadcasting and planned to build a television service based
on a development journalism model.
By the early 1980s, the government of Guyana had not
developed a television service, but wealthy citizens had
begun to buy television sets and VCRs set to North American
technical standards. In 1982, just after television arrived
in Belize, satellite rebroadcasting of pirated American


14
Belize and foreign media creates an opportunity to compare
the media relationships of young people who are locally
oriented versus those who may see themselves as globally
oriented.
Summary
Foreign television, especially the U.S. programs that
are pervasive in Belize, may weaken the national identity of
young Belizeans by offering a rosy portrayal of life
elsewhere. On The Cosby Show, tor example, a middle-class
black family enjoys a very comfortable and materialistic
life that some Belizean young people may believe is the
prevailing standard in the United States. On the other
hand, television may portray a more dangerous and
frightening world outside Belize that strengthens young
peoples positive feelings about their country.
Negative information about the United States may arrive
in the form of either television news or entertainment
programs. As an example, the very popular and highly rated
television series Roots portrayed the struggle of a black
family enslaved by whites, emphasizing the historic conflict
between black and white people in the American South. U.S.
movies such as In the Heat of the Night also focus on racial
conflicts between white and black Americans. Even the daily
news broadcasts to Belize of the O.J. Simpson trial
emphasized present day U.S. racial conflicts.


110
in Belize has a goal of increasing access to classroom
instruction, but in practice many students leave school
after completing their primary school education.
Government statistics show that no more than 60% of the
students who graduated from primary schools in Belize went
on to secondary school in the 1980s (Merrill, 1992). In
three of the six geographic districts of Belize, less than
one-third of 16-year-olds were enrolled in secondary school
(Belize: Education Statistical Digest, 1993). The three
districts sampled in this survey contained the three highest
percentages of 16-17-and 18-year-olds enrolled in school in
Belize. While in Belize, the researcher was told repeatedly
that the governments unofficial goal is to increase high
school enrollment to 60% of the total high school age
population.
The very diverse ethnic makeup of Belize and the
distribution of its student population creates roadblocks to
a representative sample. To develop a student sample that
matched the population, gender, and ethnic distributions of
the country, the researcher designed a five-step quota
sampling strategy for the six schools where data were
gathered.
First, the researcher obtained data from the Central
Statistical Office in Belmopan indicating population
distributions by age, ethnicity, and sex, both nationally
and within each of the three districts surveyed. Second,


84
Mexico
Government regulatory policies also can require an
emphasis on national identity, as is the case in Mexico. In
contrast with the arrival of television in Belize, Mexican
television began with a burst of nationalism. Television
arrived in Mexico on August 31, 1950, and broadcast the
Mexican presidents state of the union speech the next day
(Alisky, 1988). By the 1970s, the Mexican government was
funding television stations for some universities and
operating a nationwide television network. Mexicos
broadcast law includes a specific charge to broadcasters to
contribute to the raising of the cultural level of the
people, conserving national characteristics, customs of the
nation and traditions, and exalting the values of Mexican
nationality (Alisky, 1988, p. 216).
Mexico followed the United States model of allowing
private entrepreneurs to create television services because
of the enormous expense of creating a television network,
but reserved the right to demand up to 12.5% of all airtime
from all stations to broadcast what the government called
public service messages. Mexican television also produced a
series of development-oriented television soap operas in the
late 1970s that featured family planning and adult literacy
messages (Singhal & Rogers, 1988).
Despite the public service emphasis written into
Mexican broadcast law, government efforts to ensure a


143
schools were: Gwen Lizarraga High School, a technical school
in a working class Creole neighborhood, and Anglican
Cathedral College, a church school in a heavily Creole urban
area near downtown Belize City. In Corozal, only one school
was sampled, Escuela Secundaria Mexico, a rural school in a
sugar cane growing area between the towns of Orange Walk and
Corozal, an area that is 75% Mestizo. Escuela Secundaria
Mexico is only a few miles from the Mexican border and most
of the students there speak Spanish when they are not in
school classes.
Three schools in the Cayo district were sampled because
Cayo, often called "the heart of Belize," has an ethnic
makeup most like the nation of Belize. The Cayo district
lies in the center of the country and contains the nations
capital. The three schools sampled in the Cayo district
were: Mopan Technical School in Benque Viejo, located only
three miles from the Guatemalan border; Sacred Heart College
in San Ignacio, a church school with a varied ethnic makeup
that included a handful of American citizens; and Belmopan
Comprehensive School in Belmopan, a large government school
attended by Creoles, Mestizos, and some members of the
Mennonite sect (Table 7). The sample included both
government and church schools, privileged and poor, urban
and rural, and technical and academic institutions. The
three districts in the survey area included 23 of the
nations 30 secondary schools.


CHAPTER 5
RESULTS
This chapter presents the results of the survey,
beginning with an analysis of the samples relative
representativeness, an important consideration because it
provides a basis for assessing the reliability of the
findings. This is followed by a very thorough examination
of the survey participants media exposure, their typical
media use, and their patterns of media dependency.
Establishing the media exposure, use, and dependency of the
young people surveyed is the basis for a discussion of how
these media habits may be associated with a sense of
national identity.
Finally, the data analysis segment presents
correlations between media exposure and dependency and the
measures of national identity that constitute the main
findings of this research. These correlations, along with a
multiple regression model designed to predict national
identity, are intended to serve as a guide to other
researchers examining relationships between national
identity and media use.
The final in-lab sample consisted of 424 questionnaires
collected from six secondary schools around Belize. The
139


124
Exposure was generally measured as time spent with
broadcast media, frequency of use with print media, and
number of contacts per month with interpersonal sources
outside Belize. Exposure was measured by the actual media
use habits reported by survey participants. Dependence was
a measure of (a) reported reliance on a particular medium
for specific information, and (b) feelings of loss if an
information source was not available (Tan, 1977).
The measurements of variables used in this research
typically were recorded as interval data. They included:
(la) Exposure to television. Exposure was broken down
into viewing of Mexican, American, and Belizean programs,
measured by hours per day of reported viewing of each
countrys programs. One past study (Elliott, 1992)
indicated a mean television viewing time for Belizean
teenagers of about four hours daily.
(lb) Dependency on television. Dependency was measured
by the number of times a survey participant answered
"television to a list of five questions asking about
information sources used for entertainment or to learn about
events. Survey participants also responded to a sixth
dependency measure asking how much they would miss
television if programs were not available.
(2a) Exposure to Belizean newspapers. Because Belize
has no daily newspapers, exposure was measured by how many
times per month respondents said they read a newspaper from


228
dependency on others, and reduce the amount that friends and
other people are missed. Television viewing and radio
listening can sometimes be an occasion for interpersonal
contact, as in "co-viewing or "co-listening," but people
spending 11 hours a day with radio and television may have
stopped missing the company of others. This sample of
students appeared to have replaced much of the need for
friends and other people with the companionship of mass
media.
Interpersonal contacts with people outside Belize
played a much more important role in national identity.
Exposure to information from friends and relatives living
outside the country was expected to be negatively related to
national identity measures as predicted by H5:(b), but the
correlation was both significant and positive. The
hypothesis was based on past research that reported
interpersonal contacts in other countries operated as a
"pull" force on Belizeans considering emigration (Snyder et
al. 1991). In this research, the positive correlation
suggests that the pull may be balanced by information from
friends and relatives that makes Belize look better in some
areas of comparison with other countries. In general, young
Belizeans believe they are happier than people in other
countries and that they have the best culture.
Survey participants had many sources of information
about life outside the borders of their country. More than


Ill
the researcher reviewed statistics published by the Ministry
of Education for information on (1) the gender distributions
at each grade level in the secondary schools of Belize and
(2) the number of secondary school students within each
geographic district (Belize: Education Statistical Digest,
1993). Because the Ministry of Education data did not
include information on student ethnicity, the third step
involved asking Ministry staff members and school principals
for their estimates of ethnicity at each of the schools
within each of the districts to be surveyed. If a staff
member said that a certain Belize City school had a student
body that was 90% Creole and 10% Mestizo, those ethnic
breakdowns were recorded in a notebook.
As a fourth step, the (1) national data on sex, age,
and ethnicity were compared with (2) the sex, age, and
ethnicity distributions by geographic district, and (3)
Ministry of Education estimates and school principals*
estimates of ethnicity by schools within a geographic
district. For example, because the Central Statistical
Office listed the national Mestizo population at 43.6%, a
survey goal was a completed sample that included 43.6%
Mestizos. The researcher followed a quota sampling
procedure that targeted a final Mestizo percentage of 43.6%,
whether the school sampled was in the Corozal district, with
a Mestizo population of 74%, or the Belize district, where
the Mestizo population was 19%.


196
Table 21. Regression Model Predicting
Belize
Identity.
Variable
Beta
T
Sig T
R2
i.
Comparison with U.S. life
.217
3.92
.0001
.0608
2.
Sex of respondent
.143
2.57
.0106
.0273
3.
Belize magazine exposure
.195
3.24
.0014
.0155
4.
Foreign newspaper exposure
-.160
00
to
.0077
.0208
5.
Comparison with Honduras
.115
2.09
.0379
.0131
Multiple R
.3708
Analysis of Variance
Total R2
.1374
OF SS
MS
Adjusted R2
.1224
Regression 5 337.792
67.558
F = 9.1485
Residual 287 2119.396
7.385
Signif F <
.0001
Variables not in the Equation
Age
Belize newspaper access
Belize radio exposure
Mexican TV exposure
Dependency on others
Magazine dependency
Television dependency
Would miss magazines
Would miss television
Desire foreign visit
Desire foreign job
Global identity
Foreign country visits
Mexico visits
Honduras visits
Belize/Guatemala comparison
Cable TV access
Foreign magazine use
Belize TV exposure
U.S. TV exposure
Newspaper dependency
Radio dependency
Would miss newspaper
Would miss radio
Respondent ethnicity
Desire foreign college
Desire to emigrate
Contacts outside Belize
Guatemala visits
U.S. visits
Belize/Mexico comparison


94
students from three high schools, asking about their media
preferences and exposure, their language use in casual and
formal situations, and their evaluations of U.S. and Mexican
television, radio, and print media.
The survey sample was generally multilingual and about
twice as likely to watch American television as Mexican
television. More of the students reported that they could
not speak Creole than the other two language choices,
English or Spanish. For bilinguals and multilinguals, the
language used in informal situations such as talking with
friends was the best predictor of exposure to foreign
television.
These findings suggest that where Mexican and U.S.
television are widely available, as in the northern part of
Belize, foreign media may heighten language group
differences between English and Spanish speakers.
Conversely, television may reduce language group differences
if the programs are available in only one language. Creole
speakers, for example, were forced to choose between
English-language or Spanish-language programming.
The study has interesting implications for relating
foreign media to language use because Creoles constitute the
second largest ethnic group in Belize, about 29% of the
population. However, if television programs were available
in only one language, they might reduce language group


263
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the Third World. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.


NATIONAL IDENTITY AND MEDIA SYSTEM DEPENDENCY
IN BELIZE
By
LARRY S. ELLIOTT
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1995


101
(b) There will be a positive correlation between
dependency on Belize newspapers and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
Belize newspapers, with their vitriolic political
content, slogans promoting Belizean pride, and coverage of
national politics and government programs are expected to be
associated with national identity building.
H3: (a) There will be a positive correlation between
exposure to Belizean magazines and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
(b) There will be a positive correlation between
dependency on Belizean magazines and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
As with newspapers, Belizean magazines focus on
development programs, church activities, anti-drug programs,
and social concerns. Both exposure to and dependency on
these magazines can be expected to correlate with increased
measures of national identity.
H4: (a) There will be a positive correlation between
exposure to radio programs originating in Belize and
measures of national identity among young Belizeans.
(b) There will be a positive correlation between
dependency on radio programs originating in Belize and
measures of national identity among young Belizeans.
Exposure to and dependence on radio are likely to
correlate with national identity because of Belize radios


207
in the correlation analysis, indicating some association
between Belize radio listening and national identity.
Factor 3, which included Mexican radio and television
exposure, was much less important. In the factor analysis,
print media explained the most variance. The factor
analysis was helpful in understanding how Belize magazine
exposure and foreign newspaper exposure were predictors of
national identity in the first regression model, while radio
and television variables (Factor 2) were predictors of
national identity in the second, ratio-based regression
model (Table 22).
Summary
The results of this research indicate some correlations
between the media use of secondary school students in Belize
and measures of their national identity. Hypotheses testing
identified only one significant correlation between the
independent media exposure variables and the dependent
variable measuring national identity. The significant
correlation involved readership of Belize magazines.
H3:(a) predicting a positive correlation between
exposure to Belize magazines and measures of national
identity was supported (r = .143, p < .01). Correlation
analysis also indicated a weak relationship approaching
significance between radio exposure and national identity
measures (r = .072, p = .087). Correlation analysis showed
significant support for only one of the 11 sub-hypotheses


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of my
dissertation committee. Each brought a special talent to
this project that proved especially helpful. I thank my
co-chairs, Dr. John Wright and Dr. Michael Leslie, for their
patience, research suggestions, proofreading, and continued
encouragement. Dr. Paul Smeyaks dissertation on Guyana
provided a useful guide for many of the issues facing a mass
media researcher working in another country.
Dr. Kim Walsh-Childers offered insightful advice on
research among adolescents, delivered rapid and detailed
editing, and clarified several data analysis questions. Dr.
Terry McCoy encouraged an interest in Central America and
gave me a look at how a truly excellent teacher operates in
the classroom. His Latin American expertise led to the wise
warning that a study of national identity is a trip up a
slippery slope, but he went along anyway.
I also acknowledge the help of my fellow doctoral
student David Halpern, who was always there to discuss data
analysis techniques. He greatly assisted in the process of
learning by doing. Without his time and effort, the
finished product would have been much more frustrating and
time consuming.
i ii


63
This Belizean teenagers poem hints at how the process
of identification with people outside national borders may
operate. With about 29% of the population of Belize now
classified as Creole (Central Statistical Office, 1991), it
is possible for young blacks in Belize to cheer when black
Americans get "a piece of the pie" on U.S. television.
Identification theory addresses the issue of
identification with cultural symbols such as a common
language or observance of cultural customs such as holidays.
This process may include almost anything that promotes a
common psychological bond (Bloom, 1990). For example,
sharing a common language with friends and relatives in
Mexico or the United States can be a powerful factor in
identification for young people in Belize. Because locally
produced Belizean television and imported U.S. programs
share the same language, American programs are well
received. Spanish-speaking Belizeans also enjoy radio and
television programs from neighboring Mexico.
In the relative absence of Belizean national symbols on
television, young people may find symbols of success and
stability in the foreign television characters they identify
with. Televisions Jeffersons may be identified with
relatives who have gone to the United States. One survey of
Belizean high school students reported that 59% said they
got "most" of their information about the United States from
television (Elliott, 1992). Characters on U.S. television


16
countries. They also communicate with relatives and friends
in these countries, including the United States.
This research will measure the media exposure, media
uses, media dependencies, and feelings of national identity
among young people in Belize. The survey respondents have
spent their lives watching mostly U.S. television, while
growing up in the new nation of Belize, listening to Belize
radio, and reading newspapers from Belize. The object of
this research is to compare the associations between both
foreign and national media and feelings of national
identity.


77
may explain correlations between "global or national
identities. One criticism of many media studies is that
they examine reliance on only one or two media systems such
as television or radio. A comparison of other media and
interpersonal information use and reliance should offer a
broader base for dependency theory conclusions (J.
Straubhaar, personal communication, April 8, 1995).
In summary, young audience members who are heavily
dependent on Belize radio, local newspapers, and magazines
about Belize are expected to be more locally oriented in
their media use, less global in their interests, and
strongly associated with a "Belizean" identity. Those who
are dependent on foreign media--especially satellite
television--are expected to be more "global" in outlook and
to report national identity measures that are somewhat lower
than their peers. Research in other countries provides
support for these assumptions.
Internationa; Mass Media Studies
Studies of mass media influence in countries around the
world offer a solid basis for the present research questions
addressed in Belize. Such studies are particularly
applicable where countries share a common language with the
United States, or where nations have been heavily exposed to
American mass media. Because the United States is the
world's largest exporter of television content, studies that
focus on U.S. television influence are abundant and diverse


146
Table 8. Electronic Media Access and Exposure.
Frequency
Mean
X
Radio ownership
420
99.1
Television ownership
413
97.4
Cable TV access
Access to TV channels
245
23
57.8
0
9
2.1
1-9
172
40.5
10-19
46
10.8
20-49
83
19.6
50-95
103
24.1
97.1
Hours per day spent
with Belize radio
3.7
0
5
1.2
1
66
15.6
2
97
22.9
3
72
17.0
4
62
14.6
4 +
111
26_¡_1.
97.4
Hours per day spent
with foreign radio
1.0
0
206
48.6
1
103
24.3
1 +
88
20.7
93.6
Hours per day spent
with Belize TV
1.4
0
89
21.0
1
189
44.6
1 +
134
31.6
97.2
Hours per day spent
with Mexican TV
1.5
0
184
43.4
1
65
15.3
2
57
13.4
3 +
91
21-4
93.5
Hours per day spent
with U.S. TV
4.0
0
22
5.2
1
44
10.4
2
80
18.9
3
72
17.0
4
60
14.2
5
40
9.4
5+
93
21.9
97.0
Missing
2.9%
2.6X
6.4X
2.8X
6.5X
3. OX


62
Identification theory proposes that as life
circumstances change, individuals may create new
identifications for themselves (Bloom, 1990). Young
Belizeans preparing to go out into the world face changing
life circumstances. They may create new identifications
with what they see as their future. On the other hand,
existing feelings of Belizean identity may be difficult to
change because individuals seek to protect and enhance their
identity.
As Erikson (1968) points out, identity maintenance
depends on the support a young person receives "from the
collective sense of identity characterizing the social
groups significant to him: his class, his nation, his
culture" (p. 89). The drive to enhance and protect
identifications can strengthen ties either inside or outside
a persons country. Satellite-delivered television offers
one example of how adolescents can identify with a lifestyle
outside Belize. A poem written by a 16-year-old Belizean
illustrates the way some teenagers see life in the United
States:
Have you ever sat down and watch T.V.
Well, it has happened to me.
I dont smoke weed
but 1 get a natural high
watching the Jeffersons
get a piece of the pie.
Do you know that its ABC
getting addicted to watching T.V.
("Television," by Karl Burgess,
cited in Wilk, 1993, p. 229).


214
Hypotheses la and lb proposed negative correlations
between national identity measures and U.S. television
(a) exposure and (b) dependency. These hypotheses tested
the proposition that the popularity of U.S. television and
the amount of time young Belizeans were exposed to the
"mainstream" (Gerbner et al., 1980a, 1980b) of American
culture, which this research recorded as four hours a day,
would correlate negatively with Belizean identity. Perhaps
the most obvious reason for the predicted negative
correlation coefficient was that the time spent with U.S.
television would reduce exposure to Belize media and the
opportunity to develop dependency patterns with media from
Belize.
Some researchers also have argued that media content
from developed countries such as the United States
encourages negative comparisons with life at home (Katz &
Wedell, 1977; Nordenstreng & Schiller, 1979). Many
Belizeans, including some of the nations political leaders,
have speculated that satellite-delivered U.S. television
programs are painting a glamorous picture of life abroad
that Belize cannot live up to (Brogdon, 1986; Wilk, 1994).
Many of the young people who participated in this survey
were well acquainted with the benefits of life outside
Belize, but their images of a glamorous life abroad were
tempered by communication with friends and relatives living
in other countries.


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as
a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
John W. Wright ,(JChair
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as
a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ik.
Michael Leslie,Cochair
Associate Professor of Journalism
and Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as
a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
G. Paul Smeyaky
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as
a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
/Jmm- 0/L
Kim Walsh-Childers
Assistant Professor of Journalism
and Communications


6
televisions arrival, a Belizean newspaper editorial
complained that a school football match had been called off
because several players had stayed home to watch a
basketball playoff game on television (Wilk, 1993). A
national debate got underway over the benefits and problems
associated with U.S. television, and especially its
potential influence on young people. That debate has posed
some questions this research is designed to answer.
The first Prime Minister of Belize, PUP leader George
Price, believed that a feeling of national identity was
important in a new nation that included several ethnic and
language groups. During campaign appearances, the
charismatic Price evoked a "Central American destiny"
(Fernandez, 1989, p. 60). Price served two terms as Prime
Minister and lost twice to the opposition United Democratic
Party (UDP) of current Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel.
Price, who claims he has never owned a television, is
not enthusiastic about the mediums potential for improving
Belizean society. He opposed a television service in the
late 1970s, believing that television would show a world
unattainable for the average Belizean. When his party
endorsed a television service, he hoped it would be used for
development journalism, education, and other services that
would promote what he saw as the public good.
Price believes radio is an effective medium for the
kind of communication that promotes nation building. He has


190
This hypothesis was not supported. Correlation
analysis indicated a positive and significant association
between exchange of information with relatives and friends
outside Belize and national identity measures, rather than
the negative association expected (r = .089, p = .047).
This hypothesis was based on an assumption that contact
with persons living outside Belize would be associated with
weaker measures of national identity and perhaps a desire to
seek opportunities outside the country, as friends or
relatives may have done. Exposure to outside information
was recorded as interval data, measured by the survey
participants self-reported number of monthly contacts with
others by letter or telephone. Some 92% of respondents were
acquainted with someone living outside the country, and the
mean number of outside contacts per month was 2.2.
Previous research has identified interpersonal contact
with people living outside Belize as the most important
factor in a desire to emigrate (Snyder et al., 1991).
However, news from another country can be both positive or
negative. It may be that Belizeans who are in regular
contact with friends and relatives living in Mexico or the
United States are warned that the life of an immigrant can
be difficult. This type of information exchange can make
Belize look good by comparison.
Snyder et al., (1991) suggested that use of foreign
media in Belize may create an increased awareness of some of


171
Survey participants were asked to select a point on a
10-point, Likert-type scale to describe how strongly they
identified with their country. The weakest identification
was scored 1; 1 dont feel Belizean," and the strongest
identification was scored 10; "I feel very Belizean."
Sixty-six percent showed the strongest identification with
Belize, responding that they felt "very Belizean." Only 11%
placed themselves at 5 or below on the lower end of the
Likert-type scale, and only 2% gave the response, "I dont
feel very Belizean."
Participants also were asked to use the same 10-point
scale to compare their feelings of identity with Belize and
with the rest of the world. The strongest national identity
was scored 1; "I can only be Belizean," and the strongest
global identity was scored 10; "I am part of a global
society." On this scale, the ambivalence of young Belizeans
toward their country was displayed more clearly (Table 17).
Only 20% said they could only be Belizean, while 28%
said they were part of a global society. Being part of a
global society does not rule out being proud of Belize, but
it does offer respondents a choice of where their "psychic
citizenship" lies. Survey participants were about evenly
divided between those who were above and below the index
midpoint indicated by the dotted line in Table 17. Slightly
more than half (52%) leaned toward a global orientation,
seeing themselves as part of a global society.


189
It may be that young people who feel the most "Belizean"
also feel that other Belizeans are less honest, reliable,
and knowledgeable, and therefore less likely to be used as
information sources.
Dependence on others for information was measured by
responses to five questions asking about which information
source was used to learn about various events. The five
responses were coded into a single variable, "dependency on
other people." A reliability analysis indicated that the
"dependency on other people variable" was weakly correlated
with a sixth survey item asking how much respondents would
miss their friends if they did not hear from them for a long
time (r = .066, p = .090).
In general, respondents were likely to depend on
information from others for events in their neighborhood,
but not beyond the limits of the neighborhood. They also
were unlikely to miss their friends as an information source
if they did not hear from them for a long time. Only 13%
said they would "feel lost" if they did not hear from their
friends for a long time, as compared with 51% who would feel
lost without radio and 43% who would feel lost without
television (See Table 13).
H5: (b) Exposure to information from relatives and
friends living outside Belize will be negatively related to
measures of national identity.


65
Ball-Rokeach and DeFleur (1976) argued that many
researchers had failed to determine if media had widespread
effects or very little influence because of faulty
conceptualizations of causes and effects. According to
their view, other researchers had not accounted for the
complex relationships between media, audiences, and society.
In a complex and difficult society, audiences might depend
on media to define situations, construct social reality,
help form attitudes, determine agendas, and expand and alter
beliefs and values.
Dependency theory soon recognized the individuals role
more clearly. Theory refinements reflected a focus on
individual media dependency, the perspective that guides
this research. The newer emphasis lay with the individuals
desire for social understanding and efforts to gain
information about the social environment by using a "message
dissemination resource" (Ball-Rokeach, 1985, p. 487). Media
dependency theory hypothesized that individuals expose
themselves to messages based on expectations about these
messages relevance and utility. Relevance and utility
perceptions were influenced by the media themselves and by
interpersonal networks (Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, A Grube,
1984).
The media promote perceptions of message utility by
advertising the content of their messages in advance. For
example, a television station may promote its weather,


61
need for stability during adolescence. Erikson (1968) found
adolescence a time when individuals integrate expectations
of society with personal needs as they pass through an
"identity crisis" and realize the demands society will place
on them as adults:
The final identity, then, as fixed at the end of
adolescence is superordinated to any single
identification with individuals of the past: it
includes all significant identifications, but it
also alters to make a unique and a reasonably
coherent whole of them. (pp. 112-113)
Ericksons point supports the idea that identity
construction is a problem of communication. Young people
form a picture of themselves, a final identity, in
adolescence. The picture includes their view of themselves,
their place in society and in their country, their
opportunities, and their potential place in the world.
For many Belizeans, deciding what "being Belizean"
means is not clear in the 1990s. By the late 1980s, an
estimated 50,000 to 65,000 Belizeans, one of every five
citizens, were living in the United States (Barry, 1989).
In addition, about 25,000 people from neighboring countries
entered Belize in the first three years after independence,
one of the largest inflows of population in the history of
Belize. Government statements indicate that the twin
pressures of immigration from Central America and emigration
to the United States have muddled the definition of what
being Belizean means ("Immigration issue," 1987).


233
correlation between national identity and Belize magazine
reading, and a somewhat weaker relationship for national
identity and radio use, there is no reason to claim that
more government spending on magazines and radio would result
in higher reported measures on a "national identity index"
in the coming years.
The reason for a cautious attitude toward building
national identity through government-supplied mass media
information is that government "public information" efforts,
however noble, can become discredited by citizens and result
in the opposite effect intended. In the United States, the
Creel Committees charge to exploit the communication
industry to gain public support for Americas entry into
World War I created widespread public awareness of the word
"propaganda" and gave it a permanent negative connotation in
the minds of most Americans (Dizard, 1961, p. 31). Today,
most libertarian governments limit their public diplomacy
initiatives to overseas audiences, allowing their own
citizens to make choices on public issues based on
information provided by privately owned media outlets
(Malone, 1988 ) .
Governments around the world have sought to control
mass media because of the perceived power of communication
to affect national loyalties. The tendency toward
government control is especially prevalent in developing
countries, and particularly for the broadcast media. In


267
Subervi-Velez, F. A. (1986). The mass media and ethnic
assimilation and pluralism: A review and research
proposal with special focus on Hispnica.
Communication Research. 13(1), 71-96.
Sussman, L. R. (1983). Glossary for international
communications. Washington, DC: The Media Institute.
Tan, A. S. (1977). Why TV is missed: A functional
analysis. Journal of Broadcasting. 11(3), 371-380.
Tan, A. S., Tan, G. K., & Tan, A. (1987). American
television in the Philippines. Journalism Quarterly.
61(1), 65-72.
Tunstall, J. (1977). The media are American. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Unger, I. (1992). These United States: The questions of
our past (Vol. 1, 5th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall.
Vogt, W. P. (1993). Dictionary of statistics and
methodology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Ware, W., & Dupagne, M. (1995). Effects of U.S. television
programs on foreign audiences: A meta-analysis.
Journalism Quarterly. H(4), 947-959.
Weaver, D. (1993). The history of television in Belize.
International Communication Bulletin, lfid/2), 15-19.
Weaver, D., & Drew, D. (1995). Voter learning in the 1992
presidential election: Did the "nontraditional" media
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Weaver, M. A. (1995, January 30). The novelist and the
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11(1), 3-13.


176
As Table 19 indicates, most of the survey participants
favorite television programs are produced in America, but
Lauren da Nite, one of only a handful of Belizean-produced
shows, ranks high in popularity. Lauren da Nite is a talk
show featuring a Belizean woman who discusses Belizean
culture with her guests. Of the television programs ranked
in the top 10, Lauren da Nite has been on the schedule for
the shortest period of time, which indicates that it became
popular rather quickly (S. Krohn, personal communication,
January 18, 1995).
It may be that Belizean-produced programming, which is
still in its early years, can compete successfully with much
more expensive productions from developed countries if it
features issues and personalities viewers can become
interested in. The office manager for Channel 7 in Belize
City said she senses an audience hunger for more programs
about Belize.
"I think they like to see people like themselves.
Thats what they like. Its not hard to compete [with
foreign programs] because they see so much of that" (H.
Vasquez, personal communication, January 18, 1995).
Program Ideas
Survey participants also were asked about what
television programs they would air if they were in charge of
television in Belize, and what type of program they would
air if they wrote a television show about young people in


31
semi-commercial operational structure supervised by the
Broadcasting Corporation of Belize (BCB) and airing paid
advertising. During the 1970s Radio Belize continued to
function as an AM-only service, on the air from 6 a.m. to 11
p.m., playing music that ranged from classic American
popular songs to reggae selections.
At the time of national independence, Radio Belize
broadcast from 5 a.m. until 12 p.m., mostly in English and
Spanish, offering a diversity of programs that gave a
multicultural flavor to its schedule (Oliveira, 1990).
Radio announcers often showed off a fluency in English,
Spanish and Creole, mixing Mexican music with U.S. hits and
a variety of song styles from the West Indies. Radio Belize
in 1995 moved seamlessly from English to Spanish to Creole,
from music to talk shows, from rap to religion, including
weather, obituaries, and local announcements in a potpourri
of styles. The station has maintained a strong emphasis on
grassroots programming that includes agricultural
information, local news, and public affairs.
For financial reasons, Radio Belize never has
subscribed to outside newswire services, which are
considered too costly. The station has depended on the
British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of America
for its news and actualities about international events.
This agreement allows the BCB to air rewritten reports from
the BBC and the VOA under a mutual use agreement (Oliveira,


251
34.
Compared with Honduras, life in Belize is: (1
(2) about the same (3) better
) worse
35.
Compared with Mexico, life in Belize is: (1)_
(2) about the same (3) better
worse
36.
Compared with the U.S.A., life in Belize is:
(2) about the same (3) better
(1) worse
37.
Of all countries, people in
best government.
have the
38.
Of all countries. Deople in
best culture.
have the
39.
Of all countries. Deople in
best schools.
have the
40.
Of all countries, people in
best jobs.
have the
41.
Of all countries, people in
most honest.
are the
Of all countries, people in are the
happiest.
Of all countries, people in are the
richest.
44. Of all countries, people in have
the cleanest environment.
45. Of all countries, people in care
most about their family.
46. Of all countries, people in have the
best country to live in.
47. Of all countries, people in are the
most like me.
48. Of all countries, people in have
the best television programs.
49. Of all countries, people in have the
best radio programs.
50. Do you have relatives or friends who live outside
Belize? (1) yes (2) no
42.
43.


S3
years after proclaiming national independence (e.g., Unger,
1992). Belize has faced few national threats during its
short period of national independence. It has experienced
no wars, revolutions, major civil disturbances, or great
national victories over foreign or domestic threats. The
lingering threat to national sovereignty posed by
Guatemalas claim to Belize never has materialized and
appears to have been settled by negotiations in 1991,
although some disagreements remain. Elections have been
peaceful, and democratic changes in national leadership have
been smooth.
Unlike the United States or the former Soviet Union,
Belize was not forged in a revolution won by force of arms.
In a new nation with several ethnic groups and languages and
a rather peaceful history, national identity may be quite
low. Citizens may identify with their town, their ethnic
group, their region, or their country of origin in the case
of immigrants, rather than with the nation of Belize. One
Belizean writing about the sense of nationalism and identity
in her country said the feeling differs from the "melting
pot" emphasis found in American history. Instead of the
"melting pot," Belizeans adopt a sense of belonging to a
nation while maintaining their ethnic background, diversity,
and cultural traditions (Heusner, 1987).
In new nations, the psychological process of identity
develops a national consciousness that slowly evolves into a


82
attitudes toward Canada, the United States, the Canadian
media, the U.S. media, and the students* sense of national
identity. The students reported watching more Canadian than
U.S. television, but found American programs more
entertaining. Students who watched U.S. television most
frequently and who watched a high percentage of American
shows saw themselves as significantly more American than
Canadian, while the opposite was true for those who watched
more Canadian television.
The significance of the relationship between American
television use and a sense of American identity among
Canadian college students may be confounded by the study
location. Ottawa is only 60 miles from the U.S. border and
just a few hours drive from Buffalo and Rochester, New
York, and Detroit, Michigan. Barnett and McPhail
acknowledged that other factors may have accounted for at
least part of the apparent influence of television.
Interpersonal communication, visits to the United States,
and conversations with American visitors to Canada were
among the factors that reportedly influenced perceptions
about the United States.
The authors reported that 47% of the prime-time
programming available in the survey city of Ottawa was
produced in the United States. They suggested that Canada
might consider limiting the amount of U.S. television to
counter its influence on national identity. In the years


112
Finally, the researcher calculated the number of survey
questionnaires needed for each district and for each school
according to the target figures for age, sex, and ethnicity.
The target figures were arrived at, as detailed earlier, by
comparing available national data and school data on the
ethnic makeup within each district and school.
Gender considerations were taken out of the
calculations at this stage, because census and school data
indicated that the numbers of males and females in the
secondary schools approached an even balance, with slightly
more females than males. Age was eliminated from the
calculations by choosing to select the oldest sample
possible, preferably students in their final two years of
school. Senior-level status indicated that these students
could provide the most meaningful answers to questions such
as whether they would be staying in Belize after graduation
or leaving the country for better opportunities, items that
were included in the survey instrument.
The questionnaire distribution was calculated by aiming
for a total in-lab survey sample of 500 completed
questionnaires matching the gender distribution and
ethnicity of the nation of Belize. This procedure involved
balancing the expected ethnic distribution at each of the
six schools chosen with the student population known to
exist within each geographic district where the schools were
located. For example, 43% of the national secondary school


114
student distributions by geographic district, and (3)
ethnicity distributions by district and school to arrive at
a more representative sample of students than that reported
by a number of other studies in Belize. As the results
section indicates, this hand-calculated quota sampling
method delivered a student sample that closely matched the
ethnic and gender makeup of Belize and its secondary
schools.
To summarize, a researcher who follows this method
should: (1) collect official data to determine the outlines
of the target population--in this case, data from the census
bureau and the school system; (2) supplement this data with
conversations and interviews with "on the ground" experts to
avoid the pitfalls of paper data that may not represent
actual situations; and (3) experiment with calculation
methods that are most likely to yield the desired quota
sample, relying on common-sense estimates of school
classroom sizes, varying distributions of males and females
in technical versus business schools, and a number of other
observable phenomenon. In this case, the researcher was
aided by past survey experience in Belize that included a
knowledge of the Ministry of Education operations and
personnel, and personal visits to some of the schools. A
careful reading of specialized materials describing survey
techniques in developing countries also proved helpful
(e.g., Hursh-Cesar &. Roy, 1976).


193
Table 16). Despite those responses, the desire to seek
lifestyle opportunities elsewhere did not result in
significant differences in measures of the respondents*
national identity.
Summary of Correlations
To summarize, none of the media dependency
relationships hypothesized proved to be significantly
correlated with national identity measures. Only media
exposure hypotheses were supported by the survey results.
Reading Belize magazines was significantly correlated with
measures of national identity. Those who read more Belize
magazines each month also were more likely to report higher
national identity index scores.
A positive association, approaching significance, was
found between Belize radio exposure and national identity.
Those who spent more time listening to radio stations from
Belize also were more likely to report higher scores on the
national identity index. It seems likely that those who
held the strongest national identities also would enjoy
Radio Belize, which regularly reminds listeners that it is
"the voice of Belize." It also seems likely that those who
spent the most time listening to Radio Belize or Friends FM
would be well acquainted with national news, the cultural
events around the country, and the radio theme of "being
Belizean," all of which might increase an existing sense of
national identity.


Survey participants reported watching about four hours
of U.S. television daily, but data analysis found no
significant correlations between their television exposure
and feelings of national identity.
Correlation analysis found a significant association
between exposure to Belize magazines and national identity
as measured on a 13-item "national identity index." Those
with higher exposure to magazines published in Belize also
were more likely to report stronger feelings of Belizean
national identity.
Correlation analysis indicated a statistically
significant positive relationship between strength of
national identity and frequency of contact with friends or
relatives living outside Belize. Those most likely to hear
from people in other countries were most likely to evaluate
Belize more positively, perhaps because interpersonal
sources passed along news that made Belize look good by
comparison.
A multiple regression model predicting strength of
national identity feelings indicated that a survey
participants positive comparison of life in Belize with
life in the United States was the most likely predictor of a
strong national identity. The survey results indicate that
exposure to some media and interpersonal information sources
correlates with feelings of national identity in Belize.
x


266
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152
Table 9. Print Media Use.
Belize
Foreign
Belize
Foreign
paper
paper
magazine
magazine
Number of
times read
per month:
0
11.3%
54.0%
29.5%
34.7%
1
14.2
27.4
33.7
25.5
2
17.7
10.4
19.3
17.9
3
16.7
2.6
7.8
8.5
4
27.4
.9
2.4
4.7
4 +
12.5
3.3
5.9
8.7
Miss
ing
.2
1.4
1.4
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Mean
3.7
1.8
2.4
2.5
Median
4.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
The readership mean for Belize magazines was 2.4 times
per month. Belize magazines all are monthlies, bimonthlies,
or quarterlies, so readership of at least one magazine a
month by more than half the sample is substantial. As Table
9 shows, more than 16% of the respondents said they read a
magazine published in Belize at least three times a month.
Magazines from other countries were almost as popular
as magazines from Belize. Nearly 26% of the sample read a
magazine from somewhere other than Belize at least once a
month; another 18% read a foreign magazine twice a month. A
high readership segment of the audience (8.7%) reported


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169
Table 16. Desire to Seek Opportunities Outside Belize.
Yes
No
% Choosing U.S.
Desire for:
%
%
"Lifestyle"
A visit to another country
89.2
2.4
44
College in another country
92.9
5.0
63
A job in another country
72.4
25.7
59
Life in another country
26.4
71.7
34
UCB awarded its first bachelors degrees in 1988 ("Four
receive UCB," 1988), but it has a very narrow curriculum
focusing on business, education and health, and offers no
liberal arts program. Students who seek additional
education in science, computer sciences, engineering, law,
medicine, or a liberal arts program must look outside Belize
for a university degree. Nearly 93% of the students said
they would "like to attend a university in another country."
The United States was the most popular destination for
college, chosen by 63% of those who wanted to attend college
outside Belize. Other popular choices included England,
Mexico, and Jamaica.
Nearly three out of four survey participants expressed
a desire to "get a job in another country." Of those, 59%
said they would like to get a job in the United States, and
5% said they would like to work in Mexico. Jobs are a major
concern for secondary school students. Unemployment in


91
American researchers Roser, Snyder, and Chaffee (1986)
examined the impact of U.S. television, movies, and news on
young peoples perceptions of the quality of life in Belize.
Specifically, the researchers looked at two categories of
forces: the "push" that propels Belizeans from a familiar
environment to a new home, and the "pull" of mass media
attractions to a new place of residence.
The "push" forces result from personal experience; the
"pull" forces may come from interpersonal relations or the
mass media. Based on media dependency theory, Roser,
Snyder, and Chaffee (1986) hypothesized that foreign media
dependency would facilitate the pull to leave home and
migrate to another country. The researchers asked a sample
of 11-to 19-year-olds about their use of local radio,
newspapers and other print media, foreign television,
interpersonal contacts, and economic status. Socioeconomic
status (SES) was determined by asking the respondents about
a number of common consumer items at their homes, such as a
telephone, carpeting, record players or cars.
Using regression analysis to measure desire to
emigrate, based on (1) SES, (2) interpersonal communication,
and (3) U.S. mass media use, the researchers found no simple
and clear relationships between media use and willingness to
emigrate. All three independent variables were
significantly related to emigration, but interpersonal
communication with friends or relatives living in or


47
created a model situation in which to study national
development and media development simultaneously.
The first conceptual approach examines some of the ways
national identity is communicated within a country.
Conceptualizing national identity formation as a
communications process follows the reasoning that people in
a new nation must learn in some way "who we are now."
Answers to citizen questions about who they really are and
how they may be expected to behave must be communicated. A
sense of national identity develops from that dialogue.
National Identity as Communications Strategy
A conceptual approach to national identity formation
developed by Atal (1985) emphasizes the role of all
communication from within and from outside national borders.
This approach views the basic issue facing nations emerging
from the colonial era as a communication problem. For
example, a new nation like Belize builds a stronger sense of
nationalism through a communications system of "apertures"
and "insulators," which allows both inflows and outflows
through a political system that functions as a membrane
(Atal, 1985, p. 6).
Insulators block out messages, ideas, and people.
Apertures control and regulate the inward flow of outside
influences. Tightening or restricting communications
apertures theoretically increases the interaction of
individuals and groups inside the political system by


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
35
41
108
109
141
142
144
146
152
156
158
160
162
163
167
169
172
173
175
192
196
LIST OF TABLES
Belize radio stations1995
Belize television stations1995
Belize ethnic groups
Ethnic composition of the survey region
Population distribution by district
Survey sample ethnicity
Sample distribution and characteristics
Electronic media access and exposure
Print media use
Radio and television content interests
Radio and television news preferences
Dependency on mass media and other sources....
Reactions to the loss of information sources..
National identity index mean scores
Quality of life..
Desire to seek opportunities outside Belize...
National and global identity....
Television preferences by country of origin...
Favorite television programs
T-Tests of lifestyle opportunity choices
Regression model predicting identity
vii


151
of survey participants said they did not read Belize papers
during a typical month (Table 9).
The data indicate a core of interested print media
users that ranged from about 25%-35% of the sample when
measured for readership of local papers, foreign papers, and
local and foreign magazines. Asked about local newspaper
readership, about 27% of the sample said they read a
Belizean newspaper every week. About 12% read an average of
more than one newspaper a week. Because all Belizean papers
are weeklies, that level of readership is substantial.
Survey participants also were asked about their reading
of newspapers from countries outside Belize. Readership of
newspapers from other countries was lower than for papers
from Belize, although the core of interested print media
users remained about the same. More than half said they did
not read any other countrys newspaper, but 27% said they
read a newspaper from another country at least once a month.
Overall, survey participants averaged reading a newspaper
from some other country 1.8 times a month (Table 9).
Magazine readership was lower than newspaper
readership, perhaps because no general interest magazines
are published in Belize. Most magazines focus on government
and business news. About 30% of the students said they did
not read a magazine from Belize during a typical month, but
a print media interest group existed for magazines; 34% read
a magazine from Belize monthly.


51
years, it had looked to Great Britain and the United States
for trade and external assistance (Barry, 1989). One
historian said that in cultural terms, Belize was really a
displaced part of the Caribbean and a part of Central
America "in only a geographic sense" (Bolland, 1986, p. xi).
Like many former colonial countries, Belize had to build a
national identity after colonialism, from determining
foreign policy to designing a flag. A major government task
was communicating to Belizeans and to the rest of the world
what the new nation was all about.
Defining the National Identity Process
Assessing whether individual media exposure and
dependency is related to the national identity of Belizeans
requires an operational definition of national identity.
Dictionaries define the word national as "representative of
the nation as a whole," and identity as "the state of being
identical. Such definitions are problematic in
characterizing the national identity of Belize, where
individuals represent many ethnic and language groups. The
"nation as a whole" is a nation of diversity, not dominated
by any particular ethnic group.
A dictionary definition of nationality covers "a body
of people having the same traditions, language, or ethnic
origin, and forming a nation." Again, this straightforward
definition of nationality applies to the problem at hand
only in the "nation forming" sense, the idea that a Belizean


13
maintenance. Studies of Belizean public opinion about
television have not included national identity as a key
dependent variable although a few studies measured
constructs such as desire to buy foreign products or to
emigrate to the United States (Oliveira, 1986; Roser,
Snyder, & Chaffee, 1986).
The time spent with television may create a more
attractive picture of the rest of the world and a less
attractive picture of Belize and its culture. On the other
hand, television may give young people in Belize a view of a
much more dangerous and frightening world when compared with
the relatively peaceful life they share in Belize. Still
another possibility is that young Belizeans may use
television to build an even stronger sense of national
identity by sharing and discussing information they have
seen on television and comparing it with their own
experiences. Without empirical evidence, assuming that
television is a positive or negative force in national
identity is only speculation.
To examine these issues, the key variables measured in
this study are (1) the amounts of individual exposure to and
dependency on newspaper, magazine, radio, television, and
interpersonal sources of information both from within Belize
and from outside the country, and (2) the strength of a
sense of national identity, the criterion variable for this
study. Measuring exposure and dependency patterns for both


35
Table 1. Belize Radio
Stations--1995.
Name
Location
Assignment
Radio Belize (AM)
Belize City
830
khz
Radio Belize (AM)
Punta Gorda
910
khz
Friends FM
Belize City
88.9
Mhz
Estereo Amor (FM)
Belize City
97.9
Mhz
FM 2000
Belize City
90.5
Mhz
Love FM
Orange Walk
107.1
Mhz
My Refuge (FM)
Belmopan
93.7
Mhz
Radio KREM (FM)
Belize City
96.5
Mhz
South 103.3 (FM)
Punta Gorda
103.3
Mhz
(Sources: Belize Broadcasting Authority,
Belize City;
Belize Public Information Office, Belmopan)
A 1991 BCB survey of listeners in Belize City and
outlying areas indicated that two-thirds of the respondents
preferred Friends FM over other stations and 92% were
satisfied with the music variety provided by Radio Belize
and Friends FM. In addition, 70% of those polled said they
were satisfied with local news provided by BCB (Broadcasting
Corporation of Belize Survey, 1991). While a BCB survey
reporting satisfaction with BCB news and programming may be
somewhat suspect, radio is extremely popular in Belize, and
the BCB stations have a long history of popularity with
local audiences. In 1995, Radio Belize and Friends FM
continued to dominate radio broadcasting in Belize.


231
better in the United States, they also maintained feelings
that life in Belize had some distinct advantages.
The weak negative correlation between national identity
and desire for foreign lifestyle opportunities indicates a
balancing relationship between being proud of Belize and
realizing its shortcomings. Extensive media use and a wide
network of outside contacts seem to have given the survey
respondents a very good grasp of their country and their
world. The finding that the national identity-lifestyle
opportunity relationship approached significance illustrates
the dichotomy between the pull of outside opportunities and
the pull of positive feelings for Belize.
Belize mass media also have some influence over
feelings of national identification. Economic and
development information published in the nationally oriented
magazines of Belize and the heavily Belizean focus of
government-supported radio stations may strengthen national
identity just enough to operate as an effective
counterweight to the pull of developed countries. It is
clear that Belize radio and magazines offer a significant
amount of positive information about Belize.
Young people who feel positively about their country
are more likely to seek out information that reinforces
their feelings. Significant and positive correlations
between national identity measures and Belize magazine
exposure, and a relationship approaching significance for


246
non-participation will not affect the childs grade(s).
I will visit the school this week to hand out the
questionnaires. Please let your child know about this and
advise him or her that it is all right to answer the
questions if they choose to do so.
If you have questions, please write to my address in
the United States: Larry Elliott, 321 SE 3rd Street, H-18,
Gainesville, Florida, 32601.
(PLEASE TEAR THIS PART OFF AND RETURN IT TO YOUR CHILDS
SCHOOL)
I have read and I understand the procedure described above.
I agree to allow my child,
to participate in Larry Elliotts study, "Opinions from
Belize." I have received a description of what this study
is about.
SIGNATURES:
(Parent)
(2nd Parent or Witness
date
Approved for use through November 16, 1995


220
identity found a positive, but weak, correlation that was
not significant. For Hypotheses 2a and 2b, both newspaper
exposure and dependency measures recorded weak correlations
with national identity.
Previous research in the United States indicates that
newspaper use for public affairs information can be an
important variable in the political socialization process
for junior and senior high school students (Chaffee, Ward, &
Tipton, 1970), but the American students surveyed had much
greater access to newspapers than the Belizean students in
this research. In addition, the political socialization
variable measured in the United States may be only one
element of national identity, or simply an initial step
toward national identity formation. What seems more likely
is that low newspaper exposure in Belize minimizes both
newspaper dependency and the positive correlations between
exposure/dependency and national identity.
The researcher also hypothesized that exposure to
Belize magazines would be positively related to measures of
national identity. H3:(a) predicting a positive correlation
between national identity measures and Belize magazine
readership was both positive and significant. Belize
magazines recorded the strongest correlation with national
identity of all the exposure and dependency variables


239
demonstrated some relationships between mass media and
measures of national identity by creating a national
identity index that was internally consistent.
Another point that is strongly suggested here is that
mass media also may have negative effects on national
identity. The students in this research seemed to have a
strong identity with their country, but a rather weak sense
of identity with its government. Perhaps as a result of
their reported seven hours of daily television use, they
also seemed to believe in televisions ability to address
societal problems. Their cynicism about government was
reflected in an overwhelming belief that Belize was the best
country to live in, even though less than one-third of the
respondents thought they enjoyed the best government. The
cynicism also extended to other people and to the students*
view of Belizean society. Less than half of the survey
respondents believed Belizeans were the most honest people,
and many said no one was honest.
Descriptions of how they would portray everyday
Belizean life in a self-produced television program
indicated a negative view of society and a preoccupation
with perceived societal problems. In describing the
television shows they would create in Belize, the most
common topics outlined by young people were problems with
drugs, gangs, teenage pregnancy, child abuse and alcoholism,
problems that did not appear to be widespread according to


159
averaged about six times a month for newspapers and five
times a month for magazines. The lack of daily newspaper
publication and weekly news magazine availability within
much of Belize leads to rather low print media exposure.
Media Dependency Measures
The questionnaire included 10 media dependency items.
Five nominal measures asked which source of information
would be sought for (1) entertainment, or to learn
information about the participants (2) neighborhood, (3)
town, (4) country, and (5) world. For example, respondents
were asked if they would ask other people, read newspapers,
read magazines, listen to radio, or watch television if they
wanted to "learn about events around Belize." It can be
argued that a person might use several information sources
for information about Belize, but respondents were limited
to selecting the single source they would depend on most
frequently for such information.
Another five items measured how much the survey
participant would miss each of the information sources if
that source was not available. The five sources were (1)
radio, (2) television, (3) newspapers, (4) magazines, and
(5) friends. Respondents were given three nominal options
for responding to how much they would miss each information
source: "lost without it;" "miss it, but get along without
it;" and "would not miss it."


188
identity, and (2) radio dependency and national identity,
these relationships were not significant. Belize radio
stations were popular with survey respondents, likely to be
missed if not available, but they did not show a significant
relationship with the measures of national identity that
were used in this research.
H5: (a) Dependence on interpersonal sources of
information within Belize will be positively related to
measures of national identity.
This hypothesis was not supported. Correlation
analysis revealed a weak negative association between
dependency on other Belizeans as an information source and
measures of national identity (r = -.046, p = .193).
The hypothesis was based on an assumption that conversations
with other Belizeans about entertainment, neighborhood
events, local events, news about Belize, and information
about the world would be associated with stronger feelings
of national identity.
Perhaps because of the generally low trust in the
honesty of others (See Table 14) and the low attachment to
friends as information sources (See Table 13), Belizean
young people place a low value on information from their
friends and peers. If so, dependence on other Belizeans as
information sources can be expected to be quite low,
although respondents said they would be likely to ask other
people for information about events in their neighborhood.


192
those who wanted to live permanently in another country and
those who preferred Belize (Table 20). The results showed
that the mean national identity scores of those who planned
to look for lifestyle opportunities outside Belize did not
differ significantly from those who planned to stay in
Belize.
Table 20. T-Tests of Lifestyle Opportunity Choices.
VARIABLE = National Identity
GROUPS:
Mean
S.D.
t-value
df
2-tail
College
abroad:
Yes
394
5.24
2.83
.83
413
.409
No
21
5.76
3.05
Job
abroad:
Yes
307
5.15
2.81
1.39
414
.166
No
109
5.59
2.88
Live
abroad:
Yes
112
5.04
2.89
.97
414
.333
No
304
5.34
2.80
Many of the survey participants expressed a desire to
seek opportunities outside Belize. Nearly 93% said they
would like to attend college in another country; 72% said
they would like to work in another country, and 26% said
they would like to live permanently in another country (See


26
Because newspapers follow a party viewpoint with a partisan
voice, they function as checks on the party in power.
Readers jarred by the sharply political and often nakedly
subjective news angles found on front pages of Belizean
newspapers may compare them with colonial American
newspapers like Sam Adams* Independent Advertiser, which
regularly attacked the ruling British colonial government in
the mid-1700s as a "prerogative party" with an "itch for
riding the Beasts of the People" (Unger, 1992, p. 108).
The lead sentence of a 1995 front page story in The
Belize Times gives the flavor of the modern-day Belizean
press. As the voice of the PUP, The Belize Times misses few
opportunities to criticize the ruling United Democratic
Party of Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel. Under the
headline, "Speaker assaults Ms Ali," the lead sentence read:
"The Speaker of the House of Representatives, BQ Pitts, who
was attorney for one of the accused drug dealers in the
biggest cocaine haul in Belize, on Friday, January 13,
physically assaulted and abused BELIZE TIMES photographer
Marion Ali" ("Speaker assaults," 1995).
The "black power" newspaper Aaandala also gave similar
front-page coverage to the House Speakers alleged attack on
the photographer, calling it "an embarrassing, ugly
incident" ("Black Friday reshuffle," 1995). In contrast,
the pro-UDP newspaper The People's Pulse used its front page
to cover a restructuring of Prime Minister Esquivels


APPENDIX A
PERMISSION FORM
I am a graduate student in journalism at the University
of Florida in the United States. As part of my journalism
research, I would like to gather information on young
peoples media use in Belize. I would like to ask some
questions about young peoples time spent watching
television and listening to radio, and about their opinions
on life in Belize. The test takes most students about 20 or
25 minutes.
Most of the students will answer these questions during
a free period during the day, or perhaps as part of a class.
I will hand out questionnaires for the students to fill out.
Either myself or a teacher will ask the students to take a
paper and pencil and fill out their answers and opinions.
The students do not write their names on the
questionnaire. Their answers are anonymous. This project
is done only for research, and will not be used for
commercial gain. Individual answers are all confidential.
No money is paid to the students for answering.
The questionnaire will be given under the supervision
of school officials. No student has to participate. Any
student is free not to answer any or all of the questions
articipation is entirely voluntary. Participation or
245


252
51. If you have relatives or friends living outside Belize,
how many times each month do you hear from them by
telephone or a letter?
(circle one answer) 012345678
52. During the last year, have you visited someone in
another country? (1) yes (2) no
53.
How
0
many times
1 2 3
did
4
you
visit Guatemala
other
in the last year?
54.
How
1
many times
2 3 4
did
you visit Mexico in
other
the last year? 0
55.
How
0
many times
1 2 3
did
4
you
visit Honduras in the last year?
other
56.
How
many times
did
you
visit the United
States in the
last year? 0
i
2
3 4 other
57. What other countries have you visited in the last year?
(if you did not visit any countries in the last year,
please put "none")
58. How much are you interested in visiting another country?
(1) Im not interested (2) not sure/dont know
(3) I*m very interested
59. If you would like to visit another country, which one
would it be?
60. Would you like to attend a university in another
country? (1) yes (2) no
61. If you would like to attend a university in another
country, which country would you most like to go to?
62. Would you like to get a job in another country?
(1) yes (2) no
63. If you would like to get a job in another country,
which country would you like most to work in?
64. Would you like to move to another country to live
permanently? (1) yes (2) no
65. If you would like to live in another country, which
country would you like most to live in?


147
A large number of survey participants lived along the
Mexican and Guatemalan borders and spoke Spanish, making the
Spanish-language radio format in those countries very
attractive. Creoles who do not speak Spanish may have
little interest in listening to Spanish-language radio.
Forty eight percent of the sample was drawn from Belize City
and Belmopan, heavily Creole areas away from the Mexican and
Guatemalan borders, and 48% of the sample also reported no
daily listening to radio stations outside Belize.
Television
Television was extremely popular among survey
participants, who claimed they watched an average of 6.9
hours of television daily. If true, the students of Belize
spend more than 25% of each day with television, but their
actual viewing time may be overreported because of the
method used to obtain the information. The questionnaire
included separate items asking respondents to write in how
many hours daily they spent watching television programs (1)
"made in Belize," (2) "made in Mexico," and (3) "made in the
U.S.A."
By asking for these data separately rather than as a
total of daily viewing, some overlap in reported viewing may
have resulted. Likely explanations for the reported viewing
levels include confusion about how to decide which programs
were "made" in Belize, Mexico, or the United States, an
inability to accurately report how daily viewing time was


141
Table 5. Population Distribution
by District.
Survey
sample
Students in district as
a % of national total
N
%
N
%
Belize district
159
37
4115
43
Cayo district
161
38
1843
19
Corozal district
104
25
1185
11
N=424
100
N=7143
75
(Source: Belize: Education Statistical Digest, 1993)
Table 5 indicates that Cayo and Corozal districts were
oversampled to obtain an ethnic balance representative of
Belize. Ethnicity was a major consideration because Belize
is a very ethnically diverse country and because ethnicity
may play a role in national identity. The two largest
ethnic groups in Belize are Mestizos and Creoles, who
together make up about 75% of the countrys population.
The sampling strategy was to calculate sample sizes in
each district according to national census data on ethnicity
and school totals of male and female enrollment. National
census data were used to measure ethnicity because the
school system does not publish data on the ethnicity of the
student population. Table 6 compares the ethnic
distribution of the survey participants with the latest
national census figures. The ethnic distributions obtained
show that the quota sampling procedure was successful.


140
sample included about 4.5% of the approximately 9,500
secondary school students in the country. The survey
delivered an in-lab sample closely approximating the sex and
ethnicity balance of the high school-aged student population
of Belize.
General Sample Description
Survey participants ranged in age from 13 to 20, but
the mean age was 16.7. Approximately 52% were 17 or older.
Two percent were 20-year-olds. It is not uncommon to find
students as old as 19 or 20 in Belizean Form III and Form IV
classes, which correspond to the junior and senior level of
an American high school. Upper-level students were sought
because they were most likely to be planning for travel,
jobs, or college after graduation, items that were asked
about in the questionnaire.
The survey was conducted in three of the six government
districts of Belize, which included 75% of the national
secondary school population. Among survey participants,
approximately 51% were male and 49% were female. Belize
secondary school enrollment is 49% male and 51% female, so
representation by sex in the sample was very close to the
actual distribution nationally. Table 5 shows a comparison
of percentages of survey participants drawn from each of the
three geographic districts included in the sample frame,
along with that districts proportion of the Belize
secondary school population.


90
television-oriented audiences that may lack a strong sense
of national identity (Caughie, 1982). Many Scottish
television broadcasts are generally perceived as "English"
rather than Scottish (Meech 4 Kilborn, 1992).
Scottish weekly newspapers are very popular, with
household penetration rates of more than 80%. Some
newspapers capitalize on their "Scottishness," just as
newspapers in Belize promote their nationalistic tone. As
these categories of Scottish media illustrate, consumers
have access to a variety of media products. In measuring
media dependency and its interactions with national
identity, researchers need to look at each media type and
its source, being careful not to lump "media" together under
a single heading.
Belize
Studies of the influence of locally oriented mass media
such as radio versus the globally oriented focus of
television are especially appropriate to Belize, where no
national television broadcasting structure exists. As an
English-speaking microstate in a Central American
environment of Spanish-speaking countries, Belize has a
history of looking to England and the United States for
trade and aid. The arrival in 1981 of satellite-transmitted
television from the United States was another step in a long
history of close relations between Belize and the U.S. that
have influenced Belizean life.


45
appeared, and that content appears to be growing, but it is
still a weak national voice.
For these reasons, Belizeans who spend a lot of time
with satellite-imported television at the expense of other
national media such as radio and magazines may have a
different world view than those who spend most of their time
with Belize media. The imported television view is expected
to be generally "global" in nature. The Belize media view
is expected to lean toward the local. The relationship of
these media trends to feelings of national identity forms
the basis for this research study.


109
The three districts in the survey showed wide ranges of
ethnicity (Table 4). Nearly one in four citizens lived in
the generally Creole-speaking Belize City area, while
schools in the far northern and western areas included high
percentages of Spanish-speaking Mestizos.
Table 4. Ethnic Composition of the Survey Region.
Ethnic Group
District:
Creole
Mestizo
Mayan
Garifuna
Other
Corozal
7.6%
74.1%
5.0%
1.3%
*
o
CM
tH
Belize
67.9
18.7
1.2
5.3
6.9
Cayo
23.0
58.0
00
-a
1.7
8.6
(Source: Central Statistical Office, Belmopan, 1991)
The sampling unit described herethe districts of
Cayo, Corozal, and Belize--contained 23 of the nations 30
high schools in 1995. Questionnaires were collected from
six of the 30 schools, so the sampling frame included about
20% of the high schools in Belize.
Sample Representativeness
The survey population was drawn to include sex and
ethnicity representations that closely matched the secondary
school population of Belize. It is understood that a
student sample may not accurately represent all Belizean
young people of secondary school age. The education system


CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION
The main question explored by this research was whether
exposure to and dependency on mass media in Belize would be
associated with feelings of national identity among young
people. The research question drew on media dependency
theory, which has emphasized the individuals desire for
social understanding based on the relevance and utility of
messages in the media--message characteristics that are
influenced by interpersonal networks (Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach,
& Grube, 1984). Relevance and utility issues seemed
especially appropriate in Belize, where satellite-imported
television from the United States may encourage young people
to seek job and educational opportunities outside their
country.
The research findings were based on correlations
between media exposure and dependency--the independent
variables--and national identity measures, which were
combined into a single dependent variable, the "national
identity index." One of the key relationships studied
involved television. Because United States television and
national independence from Great Britain arrived in the same
year, 1981, the first generation of true "Belizeans" also
212


93
television programs from across the border north of Belize
or English-language programs rebroadcast from a satellite
earth station. Oliveira asked respondents to choose between
traditional products such as a fish from the local market or
a canned ham, between home made juice or Coca-Cola. One
part of his sample was drawn from rural villages, the second
part from the small city of Corozal.
In the rural villages, Oliveira (1986) found a
significant positive correlation between Mexican television
viewing and choice of traditional products, and a negative
correlation between U.S. television viewing and selection of
traditional products. The same effects were not found in
the urban sample. A universal connection between shopping
patterns and U.S. versus Mexican television exposure did not
appear.
Oliveira reasoned that people who lived in the town,
which had a movie theater, supermarkets, telephones and a
library, were exposed to a variety of modernizing influences
outside of television. Any negative connections between
U.S. television and traditionalism in buying habits might
have been diluted by exposure to the other modern influences
available in the urban setting.
Barnett, Oliveira, and Johnson (1989) explored the
relationship between Belizeans television preferences and
their language uses. Creole, English and Spanish are the
most common languages in Belize. The researchers surveyed


170
Belize has remained high for many years. For young people,
underemployment and a shortage of jobs are chronic
conditions throughout the country.
The final question in the series of items about
lifestyle opportunities asked about the desire to "move to
another country to live permanently." Many citizens in
developing countries seek job and education opportunities
elsewhere, though usually hoping to return to their home
country at some point. The majority of Belizean students
who were interested in college or jobs in another country
obviously had plans to return home as well, because only
26% said they would like to live permanently in another
country. The United States was the most likely destination
for those who would like to move to another country to live
permanently. About six of every 10 young Belizeans who
would like to look for a job or attend a university in
another country said they would choose the United States.
National and Global Identities
Survey participants showed an ambivalence about Belize
in some responses to the national identity index items and
to questions asking about a desire for lifestyle
opportunities in other countries. Responses to the final
six closed-end questions reflected the same ambivalence many
survey participants reported in comparing the specific
benefits of Belize and other places. The data indicate that
media portrayals may play a role in Belizean self-image.


232
national identity and radio exposure support this
conclusion. The influence of Belize mass media exists, but
it showed weak statistical correlations with national
identity in this research.
Implications of the Findings
The present research indicates that exposure to Belize
magazines and radio, which both include large amounts of
government-supplied information, correlates with more
positive feelings of national identity. The general
weakness of the correlations and the failure to find a wide
range of associations between media use and national
identity emphasizes the intervening variables that modify
any "magic bullet" media influences (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach,
1989, p. 164).
If the government of Belize attempted to build national
identity based on these research findings, it might beef up
spending on magazines and radio, and perhaps even gamble on
returning to television broadcasting to increase feelings of
Belizean unity and loyalty. Government-supplied information
broadcast by Belize radio stations and carried in government
publications such as the magazine Belize Today may be
filling a need for information about national affairs that
other media do not meet.
Using the media to build national identity also might
be a government strategy that would fail to pay off.
Although this research indicates a positive and significant


72
values. DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989) caution that the
way individual audience members think and feel about media
messagesas measured by cognitive and affective change--may
not be linked to behavioral change, but high media
dependency does increase the probability of behavioral
effects.
Other researchers support the claim for differential
effects according to observable media use patterns,
classifying viewers as either goal-directed "instrumental"
active audience members or "ritual" passive viewers (Kippax
& Murray, 1980¡ Rubin, 1984). In general, researchers have
hypothesized that the stronger the individual dependency on
a given communication medium, the greater the likelihood
that the medium will affect cognitions or understanding of
the social world through a model of exposure, arousal or
interest, and involvement, followed by measurable effects
(DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989; Rubin & Windahl, 1986).
Media system dependency theory proposes a relationship
between the effects of a particular message or a specific
medium and the perceived utility of the message or medium.
This approach to media system influence is used in the
present study of media exposure and dependency among young
people in Belize. The rapid expansion of television in
Belize indicates an audience appreciation for its utility.
The presence of television, its high audience
penetration, and the audience acceptance of Belizean


179
Perceived Belizean social problems included drug use, gang
violence, teenage pregnancy, and a lack of positive values
among young people.
Television was seen as more than a means of
entertainment. It also was perceived as an important tool
for informing the public about social problems within
Belizean society and possible solutions to those problems.
Survey participants appeared to be very idealistic about
televisions power to correct perceived societal problems.
Responses to questions about how they would use television
in their country indicate a general support for a
"developmental use of the mass media as a teaching tool for
the nations youth. Survey participants exhibited a faith
in televisions power to elevate the character of national
life, even though they said they preferred to use it for
entertainment (See Table 10).
Tests of Hypotheses
The main research question addressed by the five
hypotheses was whether exposure to and dependency on Belize
media was correlated with feelings of national identity
among young people. A corollary to the main research
question was whether foreign media content was correlated
with feelings of national identity. The five hypotheses,
divided into sub-categories of media exposure and
dependence, examined correlations related to the main


30
school age respondents reported reading a newspaper during
the past week. Only 16% said they read a newspaper from
another country during a typical week.
Newspaper circulation rates historically hovered
between 3,500 and 5,000 (Lent, 1989; Oliveira, 1990), but by
1995, the circulation of Amandala had grown to 8,500
(Willings Press Guide, 1994). Most papers do not report
their circulation figures, but Amandala's 8,500 copies in a
nation of Just over 200,000 people is remarkable. The
largest U.S. newspapers publish about 2 million copies
daily; an American circulation similar to that of Amandala
would require a press run of about 11 million copies. With
one of the highest literacy rates in the Third World, the
Belizean print media command public attention, but from a
very discriminating audience. Some followed the print media
very closely, carefully scrutinizing stories by topic; some
ignored newspapers and magazines altogether.
Radio
For most of its history, government-operated Radio
Belize enjoyed a virtual monopoly on broadcasting inside the
country. Belizeans could pick up some AM signals and
shortwave broadcasts from outside their borders, but within
Belize, no other choices existed. The national radio
service began in 1952 as British Honduras Broadcasting,
using a British financial grant, equipment, and personnel
(Lent, 1989). During the 1960s, the station switched to a


198
people in Belize, the main hurdle to a positive feeling
about their own country is the possibility that life in the
United States, where many Belizeans live, may be better.
Except for positive feelings about life in the United
States, gender was the best predictor of strength of
identity with Belize. Females in the sample were more
likely than males to record higher national identity scores
on some items. Calculating a series of cross-tabulations
with gender as the independent variable and with each of the
13 items used in the national identity index as a separate
dependent variable, significant differences were found by
gender in responses to three items. Females were more
likely than males to say that Belize had the "best culture"
(X^ = 7.03, df = 2, p < .05); the "best schools" (X^ = 8.18,
df = 2, p < .05); and the "best radio programs" (X* = 9.11,
df = 2, p = .01).
Media Use Ratios as Identity Predictors
Two previous examinations of relationships between
media and young Belizeans desire to seek opportunities
outside their country were based on data gathered almost 10
years before this research (Roser et al., 1986; Snyder et
al., 1991). The past research in Belize reported that young
people most likely to look for opportunities outside their
country were those who: (1) had numerous interpersonal
sources of information in other countries, (2) watched


40
to bring foreign programming into Belize, a tacit government
approval of his operation appeared to be given (Brogdon,
1986).
In 1986, the Belize Broadcasting Authority called for
licensed television stations to air at least IX locally
produced programming, but the requirement was not enforced
because stations claimed the programming was not available
(Lent, 1989). Since that time, local production and
audience access to local programming have improved. Several
private channels were on the air by the early 1990s,
including Channel 7 (Tropical Vision), Channel 9 (CTV),
Channel 13 (religious), Channel 5 (Great Belize Television),
and Channel 3, a short-lived government television operation
(Weaver, 1993).
In 1995, some Belizeans could choose from two competing
evening newscasts on Channel 5 and Channel 7. A handful of
locally produced talk shows such as Lauren Da Nite, which
spotlighted Belizean culture, and One On One With Dickie
Bradley also aired regularly. News operations at the
governments television effort, BCB-operated Channel 3, had
been suspended in 1994, a casualty of faulty equipment and
high costs (Trevor Jeffries, telephone interview, June 10,
1994). Some cable outlets carried programming produced in
Belize City, or even short programs produced and edited for
cable use only. The Belize Broadcasting Authority listed 12


165
culture. Respondents also reported strong agreement with
statements that Belizeans cared most about their families
and that they were "most like them, even though about one
in four said people in Mexico or the United States were most
like them.
More than three out of four survey participants agreed
that U.S. television programs were best. Despite the
popularity of local radio, less than half thought Belize
radio was best. U.S. radio also was popular among
respondents, perhaps because of a 50,000 watt Voice of
America relay station in Belize. The popularity of U.S.
radio also may have been based on a liking for American
music, which is played often on radio stations in Belize.
Additional Identity and Dependency Measures
Another measure of identity with Belize and pride in
Belize as a place to live was developed by asking survey
participants to compare life in their country with life in
neighboring countries and the United States. It was
expected that Belizean students might be fairly well
acquainted with neighboring countries, even though they may
not have visited them.
Many said they had visited Mexico. It also was
expected that they would be familiar with the United States
through television, perhaps some visits there, and through
talks with relatives or friends who had been to the U.S.
The key consideration was not whether they had experienced


24
papers were distributed by street vendors or sold over the
counter in stores that stocked only one or two stacks of
papers.
Newspapers
Modern day media development in Belize began with the
foundation of the weekly newspaper Belize Billboard in 1947
by George Price, who later became the nations first Prime
Minister. Price used the newspaper as a platform to attack
colonial policies, promote his General Workers Union (GWU)
and assist in his political campaigns; he was first elected
to the Belize City Council in 1947 (Bolland, 1986). The
Belize Billboard began a tradition of extremely aggressive
partisan newspapers that continues in the newspapers
published today. The Belize Billboard became a daily in
1950 and an outspoken voice for the Peoples United Party
(PUP), emphasizing pro-American, pro-free enterprise, and
strongly anti-colonial policies (Oliveira, 1990).
The Belize Billboard ceased its association with the
PUP in 1956 and served as a critic of PUP policies until it
stopped publishing in 1973. The Peoples United Party soon
established a successor to the Belize Billboard, called The
Belize Times, in 1959. During the 1980s, the number of
weekly newspapers fluctuated between five and seven at any
given time, but these papers covered events from sharply
differing political viewpoints, serving mainly as political
organs (Barry, 1989). The Reporter claimed to be


142
Table 6.
Survey
Sample Ethnicity.
Survey sample %
Population %
Mestizo
43.4
43.6
Creole
37.7
29.8
Garifuna
4.0
6.6
Maya
2.1
11.1
Indian
3.1
3.5
Other
9.7
5.4
100.0
100.0
(Source:
Central
Statistical Office, 1991)
The sample reflected a very close approximation of the
nations largest and most rapidly growing ethnic group, the
Mestizos. Mayans were undersampled, but that may be because
many Mayans live in rural areas and are less likely to go on
to secondary school. Creoles were oversampled, but it is
likely that a greater percentage of Creoles go on to
secondary school. Belize City Creoles have formed the
nations elite class for many years. Creole parents
consider education very important. Sample results show that
the two largest population groups in Belize--Mestizos and
Creoles--were well represented in the sample, along with the
much smaller Garifuna and Indian populations.
In the Belize district, two schools were sampled. Both
schools were in Belize City, the largest city in the
country, with a population of about 40,000. The Belize City


125
Belize. Respondents also were asked how often they read
newspapers from outside Belize. The information was
recorded as interval data.
(2b) Newspaper dependency was measured by five items
asking about use of newspapers in specific information
situations involving entertainment, neighborhood events,
local events, news around Belize, and world events. A sixth
dependency item asked how much the newspaper would be
missed.
(3a) Exposure to Belizean magazines was measured by
the number of times per month respondents read a magazine
published in Belize. As a corollary to this question,
respondents also were asked about their reading of magazines
published outside Belize. Magazine readership levels were
recorded as interval data.
(3b) Magazine dependency measures included five items
asking about magazine use for information about specific
situations, and a sixth item asking how much magazines would
be missed if they were not available.
(4a) Exposure to Belize radio was recorded as interval
data in hours per day of typical listening. As a
comparison, respondents were asked how many hours a day they
typically listened to radio stations outside Belize. Radio
is very popular in Belize; a previous survey of Belizean
high school students found a radio listening mean time of
about three hours daily (Elliott, 1992).


39
programming slipped in between long intervals of foreign
content. No national television presence in the mold of
Radio Belize seems likely to appear.
The governments lack of planning and enthusiasm for
television, the stresses of independence, a lack of public
funds, and a non-existent regulatory framework for satellite
signals allowed a privately owned system of television
broadcasting in Belize. Some stations had been operating
for several years by the time they were licensed in 1986.
By 1987, at least 12 Belizean earth stations pirated United
States television for transmission around the country and
television continued to grow in popularity among the
population (Lent, 1989).
As to the legality of pirating U.S. television
programs, the Belizeans who imported American satellite
television in Belize had reasons to believe they were doing
nothing wrong. One of the pioneers of satellite television
in Belize wrote to a number of U.S. broadcasters to explain
that he was recording their programs on videocassettes and
renting them out. He was told that under the terms of the
INTELSAT treaty, of which the U.S. was a signatory, member
countries could not sell their programming outside national
borders (Weaver, 1993). Another television pioneer said the
Belizean government knew he was importing a television
broadcasting tower and other equipment. By allowing him to
accept the import duties on the equipment that would be used


52
is someone who lives in Belize. Even though Belizeans may
not share the same language or ethnic origins, they can be
said to have formed a nation. Thus, the dictionary
definition of what constitutes nationality moves closer to
defining national identity in Belize.
In a very thorough discussion of identification theory,
Bloom (1990) emphasized that national identity is more than
an identification by others that a certain nation exists.
Instead, a sense of national identity requires a
psychological process that produces a general identification
with a nation:
National identity describes that condition in
which a mass of people have made the same
identification with national symbolshave
internalized the symbols of the nationso that
they may act as one psychological group when
there is a threat to, or the possibility of
enhancement of, those symbols of national
identity. (Bloom, 1990, p. 52)
Bloom asserted that his operational definition of
national identity as a psychological process provided a
clear methodological base for predicting that a mass of
individuals will act as a unit in a situation of shared
identity. Blooms definition creates doubt about whether
Belizeans have gone through a condition of mass
identification with national symbols.
Using the United States as an example, some historians
have argued that U.S. citizens did not develop a truly
"American" identity until after the Civil War, more than 90


44
The libertarian tradition appears most strongly in the
development of television in Belize. Although the
government had plans to develop its own television service,
it never acted to halt private television broadcasting, even
when many Cabinet ministers felt that satellite television
without licensing was illegal. The laissez-faire attitude
toward the press in Belize allowed private television
ownership to make public television financially untenable
and politically unpopular.
Today, television in Belize is changing very slowly
from its almost totally foreign content to more locally
produced material, but the change has more to do with market
forces than government regulation. Government has taken no
responsibility for helping Belize television operators
succeed against foreign competitors. When the governments
own television operation could not succeed, it simply closed
down, perhaps a classic case of how a libertarian press may
function in a developing country.
In summary, Belize newspapers and magazines carry
almost exclusively local content. Radio in Belize maintains
a tradition of exhaustive coverage of local and national
affairs, with little news of international events.
Television, by contrast, presents a powerful emphasis on
international news through channels such as CNN and other
U.S. networks, and practically non-existent coverage of
Belizean affairs. Some local television content has


48
reducing communication from outside the system. National
governments strive to find the proper balance of
communication within the country and from outside its
borders. Communication may be thought of as any interchange
of people, products, or ideas.
Atal classified language and ethnicity as effective
insulators within a political system. Language and
ethnicity can divide and insulate groups within a nation.
In a new nation, language and ethnicity differences may
follow a pattern of insularity encouraged by past colonial
governments to keep feelings of unity low. New nations must
use communications to break down patterns of insularity
within the country.
Atal (1985) coined the term "sandwich cultures" (p. 9)
to describe problems in nation building caused by groups
that may have migrated into an area, or who have carefully
maintained their culture, language, and ethos. India, for
example, is a culture of many sects and groups characterized
by low interaction. People from one caste may be forbidden
to speak to members of another caste. In Belize, the
Garifuna people from the Caribbean Islands and certain Maya
groups who moved into Belize after Mexicos Caste War in the
mid-1800s are examples of sandwich cultures with very
specialized customs (Foster, 1987). They have maintained
their language and many ancient customs into the space age.


211
while television dependency correlated negatively. Those
most dependent on television also were most likely to report
weak identities with Belize.


144
Table 7. Sample Distribution and Characteristics.
Frequency
%
Sex
Male
217
51.2
Female
207
48.8
424
100.0
Age
13
3
.7
14
16
3.8
15
74
17.5
16
97
22.9
17
124
29.2
18
65
15.3
19
32
7.5
20
9
2.1
21
1
.2
Missing
3
.7
424
100.0
Mean age 16.7
Median 17
School location
Belize City:
Gwen Lizarraga High School
71
16.7
Anglican Cathedral College
88
20.8
Belmopan:
Belmopan Comprehensive School
45
10.8
Benque Viejo:
Mopan Technical School
51
12.0
Corozal:
Escuela Secundaria Mexico
104
24.5
San Ignacio:
Sacred Heart College
65
424
15.3


173
inedia content from source countries may help define identity
among Belizean young people. When asked which of five
countries television programs "tell you most about people
like yourself," 39% thought Belizean television best fit
that description, but more than half gave an answer
supporting U.S. or Mexican television. The brief daily
schedule of Belizean-produced television may be allowing
other countries to help define Belizean identity and tell
Belizeans what they are like (Table 18).
Table 18. Television
Preferences by
Country
of Origin

Which countrys
TV programs: Guatemala
Honduras
Mexico
U.S.
Belize
Tell you most about
people like you?
. 5%
.9%
24.3%
26.7%
39.2%
Show you most about
people like you?
. 2%
1.4%
24.8%
26.2%
36.3%
A similar question asked which countrys television
programs "show people who are most like you." This question
was designed to examine perceptions of televisions image
portrayals. Only 36% of television viewers thought Belize
television showed them people who were "most" like
themselves. More than 50% of respondents said Mexican or
U.S. television showed people who were most like them.
Perhaps one solution to the viewers ambivalence about
their self-image would be to put more Belizean television


210
Like many other studies that have examined associations
between U.S. media use and media influences among foreign
audiences, this research confirmed previous evidence of "a
small but significant impact (Ware & Dupagne, 1995, p.
951). This research examined exposure to and dependency on
U.S., Mexican, and local media by a young audience in
Belize. Mass media can contribute to national identity, but
in this research media use and dependency were very limited
forces in national identity.
Regression analysis showed that individual comparisons
between life in Belize and the United States best predicted
national identity measures. Also, females in the sample
were more likely than males to record higher national
identity scores on some items. Ethnicity, age, and
geographic location did not predict any broad set of
positive or negative feelings about life in Belize.
The basic research question was whether exposure to and
dependency on Belize media were related to feelings of
national identity. The regression models answered this
question and its corollary, whether foreign media was
correlated with national identity. The regression models
showed that Belize magazine exposure correlated positively
with national identity, while foreign newspaper exposure
showed a negative correlation.
The amount radio would be missed if it was not
available correlated positively with national identity,


161
local and national news and on television for world news and
entertainment. Magazines and newspapers were not named as
the most preferred information source for either information
or entertainment. Like Belize radio and newspapers, locally
published magazines include limited coverage of events
outside Belize.
Table 12 illustrates some of the differences between
the almost exclusively local content in newspapers and on
Belize radio stations, and televisions wider focus. Radio
is the dominant medium for local news. The 13X who would
seek out television for news about Belize may be a tribute
to the growing presence of Belizean television news. Belize
television news does not attempt to duplicate the content
available on cable news channels. It maintains a strong
local news emphasis.
Most survey participants also said they could get along
without their friends as sources of information (Table 13).
More than 50X said they would feel "lost" without radio;
43X would feel lost without television; 20X would feel lost
without newspapers, but only 13X would feel lost without
their friends. Radio was the medium respondents were most
likely to feel lost without. Survey participants
reported spending much more time with television than radio,
but radios local and national emphasis made it the most
important source of information for both local events and
national news involving Belize.


86
signals began in Guyana at a time when the country had no
broadcast legislation (Sidel, 1990).
The Guyanese government did not begin broadcasting its
own programs until 1988 and then aired only 10-minute
newscasts of local affairs. Locally produced programming
filled only about two hours a week in 1988; the rest of the
schedule was dominated by U.S. programs the government of
Guyana had tried to avoid (Sidel, 1990). Guyana is an
example of a country that allowed market forces to dominate
national television broadcasting by failing to make
decisions. Belize repeated Guyanas television experience
during the same decade for roughly the same reasons.
Surveys in a number of Caribbean nations show that U.S.
television operates as a window on the world that overwhelms
competition from locally owned stations with a weak economic
base (Lent, 1991). Quite often, the result is a decrease in
local programming and increases up to almost 100% in the
American programming content of some Caribbean island
television. The foreign programs may contribute to
increased curiosity about countries like the United States,
feelings of a need for change, unfavorable comparisons
between the home country and wealthy nations, and a greater
awareness of and attraction for customs, consumer products,
and cultural artifacts that originate beyond national
borders (Skinner, 1984).


80
how media function to support national identity. Research
into audience receptivity to imported programming offers
models for additional regulatory guidelines in countries
where foreign television is now arriving or where foreign
media flows are increasing.
Television in the Developing World
Large parts of the Asian market, which includes about
one-third of the worlds 1.4 billion television sets, were
opened to Western television programming only recently
(Auletta, 1993). Television penetration continues to grow
among Indias population of 882 million, where the
government has experimented with combinations of imported
and domestically produced programming (Singhal & Rogers,
1988). China struggles to maintain control of its
television marketplace as millions of Chinese in search of
program diversity buy satellite dishes which the government
has sought to ban (Sharma, 1993).
In Africa, one of the greatest challenges in a very
large continent with diverse ethnic groups is finding a way
to finance television programming that affords at least some
representation of actual audience interests (Martin, 1991;
Odhiambo, 1991). In much of the Arab world, television
content that challenges national priorities must be tailored
to fit the cultural sensitivities of politically
conservative governments (Boyd, 1993). In all these
situations, the conflict between global television flows and


177
Belize. These open-ended questions were intended to probe
for information about what programs were missing from the
regular television schedule that would be appreciated by a
young Belizean audience. The popularity of the locally
produced Lauren da Nite indicated that local content was
appreciated by a young audience.
In general, responses tended to address perceived
social problems in Belizean society such as gangs, drug use,
and teenage pregnancy. A second, and much smaller group of
responses emphasized more television air time for Belizean
culture. Survey participants also wanted to see more movies
on practically any topic. As for new programs not already
on the television schedule, drug use was the primary focus.
Perceptions that drug use was an important social
problem were widespread, despite a lack of any official
statistics showing that drug use in Belize is a serious
issue. "My show would be about drug dealers... how their
life ends in sorrow," one respondent said. "My show would be
about the harm that drugs does (sic) to your body," another
teenager wrote. "My show would be based on fact, what drugs
cause; family problems," said another teenager.
Calls for additional American programming were common,
even though some viewers wanted more locally produced
programs. "If I was in charge of television in Belize, I
will (sic) make it more interesting for young people by
putting on more American movies," said a survey participant


15
American television entertainment programs present both
a positive and negative picture of ethnic conflict rather
than the cooperative ethnic policy stressed by the Belizean
national government and written into the constitution of
Belize. U.S. television news broadcasts also present a
variety of pictures of economic and educational
opportunities in the United States. Which picture of life
outside Belize are Belizean young people most likely to
accept and how do information sources, both interpersonal
and mass media sources, correlate with feelings of national
or "global identity?
In this research, very positive feelings of national
identity are expected to reflect greater commonality with
Belize than with other countries. Stronger feelings of
"being Belizean" are expected from those who rely heavily on
Belize radio and newspapers for information than from those
who are heavily television reliant. It is important to
remember that foreign television programs do not operate in
a vacuum in Belize. Other media and interpersonal sources
of information also play key roles in shaping national
identity.
Viewers in the northern part of the country can receive
television programs from Mexico, while some viewers in
southern Belize can receive programs from Guatemala and
Honduras. Young people also read U.S. newspapers and
magazines and publications from neighboring Central American


181
HI: (b) There will be a negative correlation between
dependency on television and measures of national identity
among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis indicated a very weak negative
relationshipwhich was not significant--between dependency
on television and feelings of national identity (r = -.021,
p = .334). The very weak negative correlation indicates
that television dependency has a weak negative association
with national identity. The association between the two
variables, however, was not significant.
It may be that higher dependency on television, with
its overwhelmingly foreign content, means spending less time
with Belize media, school textbooks, friends, or a number of
other activities that might reinforce feelings of
identification with Belize. Television also may function as
a negative influence by serving up glamorous portrayals of
other countries and lifestyles so that Belize suffers by
comparison. Not too much should be made of this
relationship, however, because of the weak correlation
between television dependency and national identity.
Television dependency was measured by the number of
times respondents answered "television to a set of five
questions. The five questions asked which media source they
used for entertainment, or to learn about events (1) in
their neighborhood, (2) in their town, (3) around Belize,
and (4) in the world. The five responses from survey


70
the stockbroker may consult several very different
information sources during a single hour.
The relationship of the person to each media source
within the media system defines the expected exposure to and
dependency on messages and the expected effects of those
messages. By extension, dependency theory can be applied to
specific content carried by a medium. Some people may
depend on television news, television entertainment,
newspaper horoscopes, or popular music shows on local radio
to fill varying information needs. For example, some young
people in Mexico said they learned useful information about
how to dress for a date and how to ask someone for a date by
watching the U.S. television program Beverly Hills 90210
(Elliott, 1994).
Media Dependency and Effects
While this research is a study of associations between
media and identity and not a media effects study, some
dependency literature focusing on effects provides useful
information for this project. DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach
(1989) hypothesize varying media dependency relationships
according to the goals of the individual viewer. This
distinction in media dependency relationships guides the
present research in Belize.
As an example of differential dependency, a person who
watches television primarily for entertainment or "play" may
look for and receive a message very different from someone


206
The factor analysis included nine variables; Belize and
foreign newspaper exposure, Belize and foreign magazine
exposure, exposure to Belize and foreign radio stations, and
Belize, U.S. and Mexican television exposure. The rotated
factor matrix identified the three principal factors.
Foreign magazines, foreign newspapers, and Belize magazines
all had loadings of .50 or greater on Factor 1. These were
called "print media." Hours of Belize radio listening and
hours of Belize television viewing loaded on Factor 2,
referred to here as "local broadcast media." Media
variables that loaded at .40 or below were removed from the
factor rotation and are not shown in Table 23 (McCrosky &
Young, 1979). These variables included hours of U.S.
television exposure and Belize newspaper exposure.
Hours of daily listening to foreign (Mexican) radio
stations and hours of daily Mexican television viewing
loaded on Factor 3, referred to here as "Mexican broadcast
media." Taken together, the three factors explained 33.6%
of media source variance, with Factor 1 (print media)
explaining 17% of the variance (eigenvalue = 1.6).
Exposure to U.S. television did not load significantly on
any of the three principal factors.
Both exposure to Belize magazines and foreign
newspapers (Factor 1) predicted national identity measures
in the regression equation (See Table 21). Belize radio
exposure (Factor 2) correlated weakly with national identity


49
The task of creating a nation is made easier when its
citizens already feel a sense of belonging together. If no
feeling of commonality exists, unity must become an
important national issue after a nation is formed (Weiner,
1972). A nation can be classified as the largest community
that commands a citizens loyalty, the end product or outer
limits of a sense of solidarity between individuals
(Emerson, 1972).
Belize was culturally and ethnically very diverse at
the time of independence. Government leaders wanted to
create a stronger sense of unity and build national
solidarity. At independence in 1981, the Belizean
population was about 40X Creole; 33X Mestizo; 8X Garifuna,
often referred to as Black Caribs; 7X Maya; 4X white; with a
remainder made up of indigenous groups, East Indians,
Chinese, Syrians and others (Bolland, 1986). Creole and
Spanish were important languages, although an estimated 80X
of the population could speak English. Like many countries
emerging from colonialism, Belize was a multicultural,
multi-ethnic society.
Conceptualizing Communication
The conceptual approach of apertures and insulators can
be applied to the arrival of Belizean independence.
According to Atal (1985), apertures and insulators operate
on both internal and external communications. For Belize,
national independence increased contacts with many nations,


32
1990; Patrick Jones, personal communication, June 26, 1995).
The lack of ties to international wire services creates an
emphasis on local and national radio news. At Radio Belize,
station personnel produce a number of nationally oriented
programs such as A Current Affair that include a mix of
music, information about government, and advice on styles
and fashions. The radio "voice" of Belize also carries a
distinctly local tone in its newscasts.
Radio service expanded at the time of independence and
the introduction of foreign television, adding FM
broadcasting to the existing AM service and delivering
stereo FM in some areas (Lent, 1989). The old Radio Belize
split into "Friends FM" and "Radio One" on the AM band.
After independence, the programming seemed to fit more than
ever in the mold that American broadcasting consultants
often call "news you can use." Correspondents in each of
the countrys six districts contributed agricultural news,
personal messages, and general interest news, from changes
in bus schedules to soccer matches, political gatherings,
and dances (Oliveira, 1990).
After satellite-based television began to expand, the
radio service responded by placing an even stronger emphasis
on local content. Lent (1991) reported that Radio One, the
governments AM radio service, reacted to foreign television
by making 75X of all shows local and by programming 60%
Caribbean and Central American music. Radio One also


81
national priorities plays a role in how governments deal
with the television broadcasts their citizens are allowed to
receive.
Research in countries where foreign television,
particularly U.S. television, has become a national issue
shows how governments deal with messages from outside their
borders. Different government regulatory strategies can
produce a variety of media outcomes. In addition, the
audience and media interactions in each of the countries
studied provide comparisons with the goals of this research.
Canada
Canada has a history of exposure to American television
and a pattern of U.S. program penetration that almost rivals
that of Belize, although Canada has long enjoyed its own
national television system. Following a socialization
perspective, Barnett and McPhail (1980), studied the
relationship between U.S. television and national identity
among university students in Ottawa, Canada. The Canadian
study found that the more U.S. television young Canadians
watched, the less they perceived themselves as Canadian and
the more they perceived themselves as American.
Barnett and McPhail (1980) used metric multidimensional
scaling (MMDS), a data collection method that converts the
perceived distances between items such as "Canada and
yourself (p. 228) into a series of loadings on several
dimensions. The dimensions examined were students


160
The two five-item sets of dependency measures examined
interpersonal and media dependency along two dimensions;
(1) dependency as measured by use of and reliance on
specific sources of information to fill perceived
information needs, and (2) dependency as measured by the
amount of loss felt when cut off from specific sources of
information. Results indicated that three of the five
information sources were heavily relied on for information.
The three most important sources were (1) other people,
(2) radio, and (3) television (Table 12).
Table 12. Dependency on Mass Media and Other Sources.
Other
people
News
papers
Magazines
Radio
TV
Source used for:
Entertainment
9.0%
.9%
2.6%
23.1%
62.3%
Neighborhood news
50.9
12.0
1.2
22.4
9.2
Town events
21.7
25.5
.2
39.6
8.7
Belize events
3.1
18.2
1.7
58.3
13.4
World events
1.2
1.2
3.1
7.3
83.5
Interpersonal
sources
were the
preferred
source
of
information about events in the neighborhood, but not
beyond. Belizean young people said they relied on radio for


242
Changing the definition of national identity in future
research can be expected to change the research findings.
As past reviews of communication studies clearly
indicate, the magnitude of relationships that have been
reported between media and audiences have depended very
heavily on the dependent measures that were used (Ware &
Dupagne, 1994). For example, some questionnaire items that
Skinner (1984, p. 99) described as measures of "nation
appreciation" or "nation appeal" in a study of media in
Trinidad and Tobago have been included in this research as
measures of national identity. What Bloom (1990, p. 18)
referred to as "national character," or a set of mores and
political norms, has been included in the definition of
national identity used in this research.
The concept of patriotism also is included in the
measures of national identity used in this research
(Appendix C, Q37-49). Respondents were asked which country
had the best government and which country was the "best" to
live in. Responses to these questions are measures of
patriotism. The original meaning of patriotism among the
ancient Greeks was derived from the word patris or
"fatherland." A patriot was a citizen with a strong love of
country. The same concept has been applied to Belize.
Future researchers may choose to add additional
measures of patriotism to an index of national identity.
For example, young people could be asked if they have voted


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
NATIONAL IDENTITY AND MEDIA SYSTEM DEPENDENCY
IN BELIZE
By
Larry S. Elliott
August, 1995
Chair: John Wright
Cochair: Michael Leslie
Major Department: Journalism and Communications
This research, based on media dependency theory,
examined associations between media exposuredependency and
feelings of national identity among young people in Belize,
Central America. The researcher used a cross-sectional
survey design to collect data from 424 students at six
secondary schools. The survey measured exposure to and
dependency on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and
interpersonal sources of information.
Belize was chosen to test relationships between media
and national identity because national independence and
satellite-delivered U.S. television arrived almost
simultaneously in 1981. The former British colony, where
English is the official language, had no television industry
at the time. The survey sample represented the first
"television generation" in Belize.
ix


50
but worsened relations with neighboring Guatemala, which
shared the longest border with Belize. Guatemala also held
a claim of sovereignty over Belize that dated back to 18th
century treaties between the British and Spanish empires
(Dobson, 1973). Guatemalan maps showed Belize as a part of
Guatemala and invasions were threatened on several
occasions. The Guatemalan claim served as an insulator
because Guatemala was the only nation not to recognize
Belizean independence. The two nations had no diplomatic
relations until 1991 (Europa World Year Book, 1994).
Independence continued the Belizean isolation from what
could have been its most important neighbor, Guatemala, and
increased outward contacts with more distant countries such
as the United States. Americans in particular sought
advantageous business opportunities in the new nation. For
example, two Houston businessmen and Coca-Cola subsidiary
Minute Maid orange juice bought into a 686,000-acre tract of
Belizean land in 1985 when the owner encountered tax
problems. The land sale involved about one-eighth of the
total land area of Belize (Petch, 1986). The transfer of
control of one-eighth of the nation's land area to American
businessmen obviously functioned as an "aperture" to outside
interests.
Isolated externally from Central America by its use of
English and internally by a rough terrain with few roads,
Belize was saddled with poor communications. For many


33
carried programs for a variety of cultural and ethnic
groups. By the late 1980s, Radio One included programs like
The Ketchi Show, Mopan Maya Show, and The Garifuna Show in
its weekly schedule (Belize Radio One Programme Supplement,
1988). The Ketchi, Mopan, and Garifuna are among the many
indigenous groups in Belize.
The Bahai Viewpoint, Whats New at the Zoo, The Top Ten
in Spanish, Al Habla con la Gente del Campo, Death
Announcements, Showers of Blessings, and Reggae Uprising
illustrate the variety of radio programming available. Most
of the programs on the two government-operated radio
stations in the 1990s continued to emphasize music, but many
of the popular songs from the United States were replaced by
a more indigenous sound, including reggae and rap music in
both Spanish and English. Many of the records played on the
AM station in 1995, which had changed its name once again
from Radio One back to Radio Belize, were simply cover
versions of American songs done by Caribbean and Central
American singers. Despite the lack of originality in the
music, the American accents on the records were replaced by
Central American and Caribbean accents for a more "local"
sound.
The emphasis on locally originated radio in the 1990s
included a lengthy BCB series of live broadcasts from around
Belize to spotlight local culture. The series, called
Village Life, included broadcasts originating from points as


36
Television
At the time of its independence in 1981, Belize
reluctantly nurtured an infant television industry based on
pirated American programs. The first seeds of television
development were planted in 1978, when an American named
Robert Landis began selling videocassette recorders to a few
Belizeans and mailing them a selection of tapes from Miami.
American expatriate Emory King launched the next step toward
broadcast television in Belize by buying an earth station,
taping U.S. television programs, and renting out the tapes
to VCR owners (Lent, 1989). King applied to the government
of Belize for permission to telecast his programs, but was
turned down.
Television broadcasting began in 1981, when American
expatriate Arthur Hoare built the second earth station in
Belize and rebroadcast U.S. programs without the license
mandated by the Belize Telecommunication Authority Ordinance
of 1972. Hoare also built a 110-foot tower and began
broadcasting to two dozen families who had paid $4,000 BZ
($2,000 U.S.) for a lifetime of television (Brogdon, 1986).
Hoare's success in defying the law requiring a license to
broadcast is credited to the bureaucratic inefficiency
caused by the pressures of dealing with independence,
Hoares potentially important friends in government,
uncertainty about whether the laws of Belize actually
applied to the receptions of broadcast satellite


240
discussions with teachers around the country. Such problems
were reported in Belize media, but did not seem a threat to
Belizean society in 1995. One mission of the news media is
to report the unusual; in Belize, the societal problems
perceived by the students and sometimes reported in the
media were news because they were unusual, not because they
were widespread.
Societal problems were the focus of many American
television news reports and television talk shows available
in Belize. Young people who see American adolescents talk
about drugs, gangs, and teenage pregnancy may see television
as a way of warning their peers about such problems before
Americas social ills reach Belize. The 28% of survey
participants who said they strongly identified themselves as
part of a global society may believe that one countrys
problems cannot be isolated from neighboring regions.
A much smaller number of students said they would
emphasize topics such as Belizean culture or the everyday
lives of teenagers if they were asked to write a television
show. These self-reported world views provided a look at
topics young people said they would share with their peers
through the media, but the view from Belize was gloomy. The
cynicism about other people, society, and government
extended to the countrys environment, widely praised by
tourism campaigns that advertise Belize as a "natural


78
(Dunnett, 1990). The studies cited here center on the issue
of mass mediaespecially televisionas a force for either
national or global identity, a central question of this
research.
Research Trends
Mass media researchers note two general trends
involving national identity issues and television. First,
researchers argue that television influence supports an
identity beyond national borders, creating a kind of global
citizen who is conversant with a common technical, visual
effects language (Snow, 1983). This global language is one
of pictures more than words, freeing viewers from many of
the constraints of separation by language. Hand-held video
games are an example of visual communication that does not
depend on language.
Other research views television as a reinforcement
for resurgent ethnic, language, tribal, or religious
identifications (e.g., McLuhan & Powers, 1989). McQuail
(1987) has written at length about this key theory issue,
concluding that one of the major communication questions
still to be settled is whether media act as a force for
social unity or fragmentation. Media can promote
decentralization and fragmentation, or operate as a force
for unity, "nation-building, modernization, [and] political
strength" (McQuail, 1987, p. 304).


11
minister worried about in the 1980s as a threat to Belizean
national culture. The object of this research was to
collect information from Belizean young people about their
media exposure, media preferences for information, and media
dependencies in an effort to assess the impact of their
media use on feelings of national identity.
Rationale for the Study
The rationale for this study was to develop a better
understanding of the relationship between mediaforeign
media in particular--and national identity among young
people in a developing country. It was necessary to always
keep in mind that local and national media also play a role
in socialization and that the measurable personal influences
of all mass media may be weak and subject to varying
interpretations depending on the variables measured (Potter,
1994). Despite these challenges, research on mass media and
national identity relationships in a developing country
offers a productive examination of communication theories
such as media imperialism in former colonial countries
(e.g., Schiller, 1989).
If nothing else, global television may teach young
people a visual language every viewer must learn to gain
meaning from television (Altheide St Snow, 1979). How much
audiences learn from foreign television and how foreign
messages influence individual viewers are questions many
leaders in developing nations would like to have answered.


64
programs may act as symbols of successful young people in
the United States, a country Belizeans can "adopt" through
television.
Determining whether media can and do influence
individual perceptions of national identity demands more
than simply knowing that American television exists in
Belize and presents content unlike Belizean media. The
relationships between individual viewers, radio listeners,
and readers in Belize and the media content they use can
help answer questions about influence. Dependency theory
provides a framework for studying and attempting to measure
media influence on individuals.
Media Dependency Theory
Individual media system dependency theory provides the
theoretical basis for this project (Ball-Rokeach, 1985;
Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976; DeFleur 4 Ball-Rokeach, 1989).
Media dependency theory originally defined "a relationship
in which the satisfaction of needs or the attainment of
goals by one party is contingent upon the resources of
another party" (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976, p. 6).
The theory focused at first on audiences, hypothesizing that
demand for information grows along with the level of
conflict and change in society. The theory also proposed
that the need for information goes beyond simple media use;
audiences come to depend on specialized media for
specialized information.


37
transmissions, and government apathy toward a situation that
involved only a few wealthy families (Lent, 1989).
When a clever Belize City television technician figured
out how to tune in Hoares over-the-air signals without
paying for them, the Pandoras box of television in Belize
was opened, never to be closed. Soon, Belize City
television owners were paying a bargain fee to have their
televisions adjusted to pick up Hoares signal, and the
rapid spread of television began (Oliveira, 1990). Once it
became affordable to have a television set up to receive the
broadcast signals going out over Belize City, more Belizeans
saw a practical reason to invest in televisions.
The Belizean government, dominated at the time by the
Peoples United Party (PUP), had promised in a 1979
manifesto to deliver television before the next national
election, set for 1984 (Brogdon, 1986). Because national
independence was a top priority, nothing had been done to
provide television when receiving antennas began popping up
around Belize City in 1982. The government had no
legislation to regulate the importation of satellite
television, but considered the importation and sale of
satellite signals illegal. To fill the legal gap, the PUP
Cabinet drafted the Broadcasting and Television Act of 1983,
creating a seven-member Belize Broadcasting Authority (BBA),
composed of industry representatives, journalists, and
citizens.


268
Wilk, R. R. (1993). "Its destroying a whole generation":
Television and moral discourse in Belize. Visual
Anthropology. (3/4), 229-244.
Wilk, R. R. (1994). Colonial time and TV time: Television
and temporality in Belize. Visual Anthropology Review.
10(1), 94-102.
Killings Press Guide (Vol. 2). (1994). East Grinstead,
England: Reed Information Services.
Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, I. (1983). Mass media research.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
World almanac. (1995). Mahwah, NJ: Funk & Wagnalls.
Yogev, A., & Shapira, R. (1990). Citizenship socialization
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Teachers College Press.


186
if they were not able to read them for a long time was
negative--as expected--but not statistically significant
(r = -.049, p = .152).
H4: (a) There will be a positive correlation between
exposure to radio programs originating in Belize and
measures of national identity among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis showed a weak positive
correlation, approaching significance, between levels of the
survey participants radio exposure and their feelings of
national identity (r = .072, p = .087). The significance
level gives reason to believe that the weak positive
association between Belize radio exposure and national
identity is valid. National identity and listening to
Belize radio stations did show the positive relationship
predicted by the hypothesis, but the relationship was quite
weak.
This hypothesis was based on an assumption that higher
levels of daily listening to Belize radio stations would be
associated with stronger feelings of national identity.
Daily Belize radio exposure was recorded as interval data,
measured by self-reported hours of Belize radio listening.
Among the survey participants, reported daily listening time
to Belize radio stations averaged 3.7 hours (See Table 8).
H4: (b) There will be a positive correlation between
dependency on radio programs originating in Belize and
measures of national identity among young Belizeans.


123
television programs such as Mexico, Belize, and the United
States. This section included two open-ended questions
asking how participants would like to change the available
television programming in Belize and three open-ended
questions asking for their three favorite television
programs. Open-ended responses were held to a minimum to
avoid time-consuming data coding, but it was hoped that the
two questions on changing the Belize television schedule
would serve as a "mini-focus group" or pilot test of young
peoples feelings about available television content in
Belize.
Measurement of Variables
The main independent variables were operationalized to
describe the relationship between the dependent variable,
feelings of national identity, and the five dependency
measures: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and
other people. Each of the four media dependency measures
was divided into two sub-categories: (a) exposure to
particular medium or interpersonal source information about
neighborhood, town, national, and world events, and (b)
dependence on the medium. The interpersonal measure
contained three sub-categories: (a) dependency on other
people in Belize for information, (b) contact with friends
and relatives living outside Belize, and (c) desire to seek
"lifestyle opportunities" in another country.


22
democratic country according to these criteria, which also
include the relative freedom of Belizean mass media.
The press in Belize has a history of partisanship, but
it is free to criticize the government. Publishers seem to
enjoy excoriating government figures, even at the risk of
appearing biased to their readers (Harmon, 1988). Radio has
been dominated by the government-operated Broadcasting
Corporation of Belize, but a few privately owned stations
began to appear in the 1990s. Television began as a
freewheeling entrepreneurial activity operating with few
government restrictions and ineffective enforcement of
existing rules (Weaver, 1993). On the whole, very few
restrictions on media ownership exist, and media in Belize
function within the libertarian press tradition.
The Media Climate in Belize
In 1995, Belize offered a media-rich environment to a
highly literate audience. National literacy was estimated
at 93% (World Almanac, 1995) and most Belizeans enjoyed easy
access to television, radio, newspapers, and a few Belizean
magazines. In a developing country with a relatively low
annual per capita gross domestic product of $1,635 (U.S.),
the average Belizean was not wealthy when compared with the
typical citizen in neighboring Mexico, where economic
conditions were somewhat better ($3,600 annual GDP).
However, the typical Belizean could take pride in being
slightly better off than a citizen living across the western


164
national identity, identification with Belize, and pride in
Belize. A reliability analysis showed a Cronbach alpha of
.765 for the 13 items.
The national identity index found eight categories in
which survey participants identified with Belize more than
any other country, even though some of the responses
revealed apparent weaknesses in national identity. For
example, the "most like me item was intended to measure the
amount of individual identity with others in Belize as
opposed to people in other countries. About 25% of
respondents said that people in Mexico or the United States
were most like them, another indication of a less than
universal identity with and pride in Belize.
Respondents were well acquainted with Belize secondary
schools, but a majority said schools in the United States
were best. This question was intended as a comparison
between what the students knew about directlytheir own
schoolsas opposed to schools they did not know about
through direct experience, such as those in the United
States. The question was phrased as "best schools" rather
than best colleges or universities, a topic that was covered
in other questions involving "lifestyle opportunities" such
as attending a university in another country.
Survey respondents most strongly supported statements
that people in Belize were happiest, that Belize was the
best country to live in, and that Belize had the best


215
As the data relating to Hypothesis 5c demonstrated,
regular contact with friends and relatives living in other
countries was positively and significantly associated in
this research with more positive ratings of life in Belize.
Snyder et al. (1991) wrote that foreign media may serve as
surveillance mechanisms for people who are weighing
emigration decisions. Negative information from a potential
host countrys mass media may be used as a basis for
questioning people who are perceived as experts because they
live in that country.
The experts in this research were friends and relatives
living outside Belize. They have the credibility to confirm
negative media information about the United States or other
countries. The positive and significant correlation
coefficient recorded for frequency of outside-the-country
contacts and national identity hints at a two-step
information process. Foreign media offer both positive and
negative information about a country as an initial
communications step, then foreign contacts act as expert
advisers, answering questions and passing along judgments
about the facts as they know them.
This research uncovered no convincing evidence that
foreign television plays a direct role in national identity.
The expected negative correlation between television
exposure and national identity predicted by Hypothesis la
was not found. The correlation coefficient was positive


183
H2: (b) There will be a positive correlation between
dependency on Belize newspapers and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis showed a very weak positive but
non-significant relationship between dependency on
newspapers and feelings of national identity (x = .029,
p = .275). This hypothesis also was based on an assumption
that stronger individual dependencies on newspapers would be
associated with stronger feelings of identity with Belize as
measured by the national identity index. Most newspapers
available in Belize are published within the country.
Foreign newspapers are somewhat difficult to obtain, and 54%
of survey participants said they typically did not read
newspapers published outside Belize.
Newspaper dependency was measured by the number of
times respondents answered "newspapers" to a set of five
questions asking which media source they used for
entertainment, or to learn about events (1) in their
neighborhood, (2) in their town, (3) around Belize, and (4)
in the world.
The five responses from survey participants were coded
into a single variable, "dependency on newspapers," which
was negatively correlated with a sixth dependency item
asking how much respondents would miss newspapers if they
were not able to read a paper for a long time (x = -.211,
p < .001). The negative correlation indicatedas


264
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25
independent, but generally supported positions of the PUPs
main opposition, the United Democratic Party (UDP) while
Amandala served as the voice of the Black Power Movement in
Belize (Oliveira, 1990).
Each paper has a history of holding to a strongly
political viewpoint, engaging in shrill name calling and
personal attacks. As an example, the British governor
ordered the arrest of the editors of The Sentinel in 1978
after the paper named him "asshole of the month" (Lent,
1989, p. 16). The seemingly unrestrained political rhetoric
has resulted in low press credibility among readers (Harmon,
1988).
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and trust found newspapers were the least trusted
communication medium in Belize. Only 6% of respondents said
they trusted newspapers most, as compared with 25% who said
they trusted radio most and 54% who said they trusted
television most. Belize newspapers were named the least
trusted medium by 71% of respondents, as compared with 8%
for radio, 6% for magazines, and 5% for television (Harmon,
1988).
Despite their partisan stance, the newspapers of Belize
appear to serve as a force for building national identity
because they follow politics very closely and maintain a
consistent editorial stance, in much the same manner as
early newspapers during the American colonial period.


3
free expression in a new Belize. The few television sets in
Belize at the time all were tuned to stations in other
countries. Belize had no national television service and no
local stations to report on the event.
The former colony of British Honduras had developed the
bare outlines of a plan for national television service as
independence approached. The Peoples United Party (PUP),
which would take control of the new nation, had promised
television service by the date of the next elections,
expected in 1984 (Brogdon, 1986). As promised by the PUP,
television had arrived in Belize in 1984, but not as the
government had hoped or predicted. Government plans to
provide a national television service for the countrys
citizens had not materialized. The television voice of
Belize throughout the 1980s carried an American accent, and
it has remained overwhelmingly American to this day. In
1995, satellite services provided up to 54 channelsmostly
Americanon cable television systems in Belize City, and
from 10 to 35 channels in most other parts of the country.
Statement of the Problem
The major goal of this study is to determine whether
young peoples sense of national identity in Belize is
associated with media exposure and dependency. Belizeans
listen to very popular government-affiliated radio stations
and read a variety of heavily political weekly newspapers.
American television is just one of the factors that may


104
Case studies might develop more detailed information
about media use and dependency relationships, but they would
require a longer period of time and deliver a smaller sample
with questionable application to a general student sample.
A survey design was chosen over an experiment because both
national identity and media dependency relationships require
time to build. Measuring their interaction in an
experimental research setting would be more problematical
than using survey research to provide a "snapshot" of the
population at a given point in time (Bloom, 1990; Shoemaker
& McCombs, 1989). The ethnic diversity of Belize means that
the small groups used in case studies or experimental
designs might be less likely to include all segments of the
population.
The ideal situation for this research would be a
comparison between a group of young Belizeans with easy
access to television, radio, newspapers, and magazines--and
a group of media "have nots." Because the independent
variables under study involve media exposure and dependency,
such a sample would be very appropriate, but Belize is a
media-rich nation. Most high school students watch
television and listen to the radio almost every day. A
large-scale comparison of media "haves" and "have nots"
would be all but impossible among young people in modern-day
Belize. One survey of media use in Belize indicated that
94% of Belizean high school students had a television at


7
said he reads local newspapers and listens to radio to find
out about national affairs (G. C. Price, personal
communication, January 7, 1992). If Belizeans shared
Prices dream of what their country should be, they might
reject foreign television in favor of media products with a
more nationalistic flavor, but Belizeans seem to enjoy both
their national radio service and the window on the world
provided by U.S. television. With an estimated television
penetration of 75% by 1987, most Belizeans enjoyed daily
U.S. television as well as the ubiquitous accents of Radio
Belize in English, Spanish, and Creole.
National radio and television broadcasting give a
country a "national voice even if that voice includes a
variety of ethnic and language programs, as Belizean
national radio does. The two main sources of program
material for television in Belize are the United States and
Mexico, although Belizean material is beginning to be used.
In 1995, some Belizean viewers could choose between two
locally produced, half-hour evening newscasts reporting on
events from around Belize.
Just how many Belizeans see these programs is not
known, not even by the people who produce them. Audience
survey techniques are quite unsophisticated in Belize. One
television stations managing director who said he had done
some public opinion polling in Belize reported having a
"good idea" of how far his stations tower transmits


55
does not have a national audience at this time because many
homes cannot receive it. The television system has remained
overwhelmingly American.
Belize has taken the other steps Emerson listed,
including the use of English as a common government
language. Only in the case of Emersons seventh step, a
government that reflects a common cultural pattern brought
to bear on all people, can it be argued that the
psychological journey toward unity clearly is incomplete.
As a country not yet 15 years old, Belize seems to have no
common national cultural pattern.
Foreign Media and Communication
Atal (1985) theorized that mass media opened apertures
for information to conservative, isolated groups like the
"sandwich cultures" that were outside the national
mainstream--groups like the rural Maya or the Garifuna of
southern Belize. The arrival of television in Belize
theoretically had that effect. Through their satellite dish
aperture, Belizeans saw a world much wealthier than the one
they knew, one their first Prime Minister worried might
create unhappiness at home (Brogdon, 1986).
Television offered an important mass medium for
Belizeans. The language of the broadcasts was English, the
official language of Belize. Foreign television provided an
expensive service the government admittedly could not afford
(Brogdon, 1986). Conceptually, foreign television in Belize


166
other countries directly, but whether they imagined their
life in Belize as worse, about the same, or better than life
in other countries.
Quality of Life
When asked to compare "life in Belize" with life
elsewhere, respondents chose Belize over all four other
choices, including the United States. Eighty-four percent
thought life in Belize was better than life in neighboring
Guatemala, a longtime nemesis because of Guatemalan claims
to Belize. A slightly smaller percentage, 78%, thought life
in Belize was better than in Honduras, which does not border
Belize, but is its closest neighbor to the south.
Many survey participants were familiar with Mexico, and
a large number reported visiting Mexico more than once
during the past year. Despite their familiarity with
Mexico, 58% thought life in Belize was better. Even the
United States, which practically all the survey participants
were familiar with through television, failed to offer a
better quality of life than Belize to a majority of the
students. Nearly 53% said life in Belize was better,
although about one in five thought life in Belize was worse
than life in the United States (Table 15). When comparing
life in Belize with life in other countries, respondents
gave the United States much more positive comparisons than
the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and
Mexico, which many had visited.


99
other societies, something that never was possible before
television appeared. Identifying the media exposure and
dependency patterns of young Belizeans and how they use
media to achieve varying information goals is one step
toward answering the question of how television and other
media correlate with identity in Belize.
The Research Hypotheses
According to the functions outlined by media dependency
theory, individuals learn to depend on media sources for
self understanding and social understanding, for orientation
to societal norms such as how to handle social situations,
and for play and relaxation, either alone or with friends.
These dependencies are based on the relevance and utility of
the information offered by media and by individual
information needs.
In the case of media dependency relationships in
Belize, televisions heavily international content is
expected to counteract or weaken the influences of radio,
newspapers and magazines, which are heavily "local" or
Belizean. A strongly dependent relationship with television
as a source of information and social understanding is
expected to correlate with weaker feelings of national
identity.
Based on these observations and the theories discussed,
a general hypothesis is proposed: exposure to and dependency
on foreign mediaespecially foreign televisionwill be


238
description, explanation, and exploration. National
identity, a psychological consciousness of commonality with
other people, develops from an unknown number of sources
over an indeterminate period of time (Bloom, 1990;
Constantino, 1978). Mass media, often studied as a source
of political socialization, political decision-making, party
allegiances and national development (Chaffee, Ward, ft
Tipton, 1970; McCombs & Shaw, 1972; Weaver ft Drew, 1995),
rarely have been examined as a source of national identity,
the underlying base for political behavior (e.g., Barnett ft
MrPhai 1 1980 ) .
A ia.ifja.at amount of literature describes the role
of institutions such as national and local governments,
schools, families, churches, and social organizations in the
formation of national identity (Almond ft Verba, 1963, 1980;
Bloom, 1990; Ichilov, 1990). Mass media also provide
important information that socializes citizens to their role
in development of a newly formed nation. As this research
indicates, at least some mass media use is associated with
national identity, although the relationship is not a
particularly strong one.
The data from this research suggest that government
influence on media might play a small role in building
identification with a new nation, even in a libertarian
media climate like that of Belize where government control
of mass media is quite limited. This research also has


216
instead of negative, and not significant. This finding
seems to support the two-step information process already
discussed, indicating that television may be positively, but
weakly correlated with national identity. Television can
present negative information from other countries that is
then confirmed by foreign sources, making Belize look good
by comparison.
In this research, television viewing had little to do
with how audience members felt about the quality of life in
their country. The correlation between television exposure
and national identity was weak, and the relationship between
television dependency and national identity recorded a very
weak negative correlation coefficient. The negative
television dependency-national identity relationship
hypothesized by Hl:(b) was not significant.
While other researchers have reported measurable
effects of U.S. television exposure in English-speaking
countries (e.g., Pingree & Hawkins, 1981), this research did
not find significant television--national identity
correlations in Belize. The present research clearly was
not a study of "television effects." Correlations require
only the establishment of a statistical relationship between
variables.
The hypothesized television--national identity
relationships found in this research were weak and not
significant, so any discussion of foreign televisions role


149
watched an average of 4 hours a day of U.S. television,
which may be a more accurate estimate of total viewing time
than the 6.9 hours reported. For example, a similar survey
of Belizean students* viewing hours that asked only for
total viewing time found a reported average of 3.85 hours
per day (Elliott, 1992).
In the present survey, mean daily viewing of Mexican
programs was about 1.5 hours, but 43 percent said they never
watched Mexican television. As with radio, the percentage
of viewers who said they did not use Spanish-language
television closely corresponded with the percentage living
in the heavily Creole, Belize City--Belmopan area. Primary
language, ethnicity, and geographic location all appeared to
play a role in the use of media from neighboring countries.
In terms of daily viewing time, self reporting of
television programs "made in Belize" appeared most suspect.
Viewers reported watching an average of 1.4 hours of
television programs "made in Belize" each day, which is
possible only if almost every viewer watched virtually every
program made in Belize during a given week. A look at
Belize television program guides illustrates why the viewers
probably overreported their exposure to programs "made in
Belize."
It probably is obvious to most viewers which shows are
"made in Belize" because some television program guides
print the titles of locally produced shows in a different


261
Gerbner, G., & Gross, L. (1976). Living with television:
The violence profile. Journal of Communication. 26(2).
172-199.
Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., & Signorielli, N.
(1980a). The "mainstreaming" of America: Violence
profile no. 11. Journal of Communication. 30(3).
10-29.
Gerbner, G. Gross, L. Morgan, M., & Signorielli, N.
(1980b). Aging with television: Images on television
drama and conceptions of social reality. Journal of
Communication. 30(1), 37-47.
Granzberg, G. (1982). Television as storyteller: The
Algonkian Indians of Central Canada. Journal of
Communications 32(1), 43-52.
Greenberg, B. S. (1988). Mass media and adolescents: (A
review of research reported from 1980-1987). East
Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.
Harmon, M. (1988, February). Media in Belize: Supercream
or superficial? Fifth annual intercultural conference
on Latin America and the Caribbean. Miami, FL.
Harris, C. (1994, June 3). CBC TV boosts news, Cancn.
The Globe and Mail, p. A16.
Head, S. W. (1985). World broadcasting systems: A
comparative analysis. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Publishing.
Hedderson, J. (1987). SPSSx made simple. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Publishing.
Heusner, K. (1987). Belizean nationalism: The emergence of
a new identity. Belizean Studies. 15(2), 3-24.
Hursh-Cesar, G., & Roy, P. (1976). Third World surveys:
Survey research in developing nations. Delhi, India:
The Macmillan Company of India.
Huston, A. C., Donnerstein, E., Fairchild, H., Feshbach, N.
D., Katz, P. A., Murray, J. P., Rubinstein, E. A.,
Wilcox, B. L. &. Zuckerman, D. (1992). Big world,
small screen: The role of television in American
society. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Ichilov, 0. (1990). Introduction. In O. Ichilov (Ed.),
Political socialization, citizenship education, and
democracy (pp. 1-8). New York: Teachers College Press.


APPENDIX C
QUESTIONNAIRE
Opinions from Belize
We would like to ask you some questions about your every day
life. There are no good or bad answers, just honest
opinions. Everyone will give different answers. Please
answer every question. If you dont understand a question,
please raise your hand for help. Thank you for your
cooperation!
1. How old are you? Age
2. What is your sex? (1) male (2) female
3. Is there a radio in your house? (1) yes (2) no
4. Is there a television in your house? (1) yes
( 2 ) no
5. Do you have cable television in your house? (1) yes
(2) no
6. How many different TV channels can you watch at your
house?
7. In a typical month, how many times do you read a
newspaper from Belize? (1) none (2) once
(3) twice (4) three times (5) four times
(6) more than four times
8. In a typical month, how many times do you read a
newspaper From another country? (1) none
(2) once (3) twice (4) three times
(5) four times (6) more than four times
9. In a typical month, how many times do you read a magazine
from Belize? (1) none (2) once (3) twice
(4) three times (5) four times (6) more than
four times
10. In a typical month, how many times do you read a
magazine from another country? (1) none
(2) once (3) twice (4) three times
(5) four times (6) more than four times
248


108
Geography, Population, and Ethnicity
Under the Belizean system of government, geographic
districts have no governmental representation, as states and
counties do in the United States. Instead, government
representation is concentrated at the municipal and national
levels. Districts serve only as geographic identifiers for
specific regions. The three districts included in the
survey contained 65% of the nations Mestizos, the largest
ethnic group in Belize, and more than 86% of the Creole
population, the second largest ethnic group (Central
Statistical Office, 1991). Together, the Mestizo and Creole
populations account for nearly three-quarters of the
population of Belize (Table 3).
Table 3. Belize
Ethnic
Groups.
Ethnic Group
Population Percentage
Mestizo
43.6
Creole
29.8
Mayan
11.1
Garifuna
6.6
Indian
3.5
German/Dutch Mennonite
3.1
Other
2.3
100.0
(Source: Central
Statistical Office, Belmopan, 1991)


201
national identity index was the dependent, or criterion
variable. This regression equation contained sets of
national versus global choices, from media use and
dependency to desire to remain at home or to seek important
lifestyle opportunities elsewhere.
In studying media influences on perceptions of reality,
the most accurate predictions can be expected when comparing
light media users with those in the media "mainstream
(Gerbner et al., 1980a). The media "mainstream" includes
those exposed to a large number of media messages over a
long period of time. Thus, extremely heavy media users can
be expected to report a view of the world that differs from
the worldview of infrequent media users.
Individual worldview differences between heavy and
light exposure to media are expected to be greatest when:
(1) a researcher is studying relatively homogenous groups,
(2) measuring total amount of media exposure, and (3)
looking at the consequences of exposure over a long period
of time (G. Gerbner, personal communication, May 27, 1995).
These three elements tend to maximize the measurable impact
of media exposure. Media researcher George Gerbners
criteria fit the situation illustrated in Table 22, in which
a relatively homogenous student population was examined,
using a wide range of media exposure criteria, with a goal
of measuring the long-range consequences of such exposure on
feelings of national identity.



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195
"Lifestyle opportunity" variables were added to the
independent variables list, along with a several items
asking about visits to other countries and comparisons
between life in Belize and life in neighboring countries and
the United States. In all, 36 independent variables were
placed in the regression equation, with the national
identity index listed as the dependent variable.
The Regression Model
Stepwise multiple regression identified five variables
which together accounted for about 13% of the variation in
national identity scores. The five variables are listed in
Table 21. While a model that predicts only 13% of variance
in the dependent variable may seem somewhat weak in
predictive value, the result is not unexpected. A review of
similar studies by Potter (1994) found that the magnitude of
coefficients predicting such relationships usually is low,
with media exposure variables typically predicting 3% or
less of the variance.
Two media exposure variables were listed in the
regression equation displayed in Table 21. The variables
were exposure to Belize magazines and exposure to foreign
newspapers. Reading Belize magazines correlated positively
with higher scores on the national identity index. Those
who read more Belize magazines each month also were more
likely to record more "Belize" answers on the national
identity index.


219
Newspaper content is overwhelmingly local because
Belize papers do not subscribe to international newswire
services. Newspaper penetration also is extremely high in
comparison to countries such as the United States, and
national literacy is above 90% in Belize. Amandala, founded
as a black power paper, reports the largest press run in a
country where some papers keep such information secret.
Amandala records a weekly distribution of 8,500 copies in a
country of slightly more than 200,000 people, a penetration
rate of roughly 4% (Willings Press Guide, 1994). A similar
figure for the largest U.S. newspapers such as The New York
Times or USA Today would mean a daily circulation of about
11 million copies, more than five times the present daily
distribution of those papers.
The survey participants seemed interested in the
nations weekly newspapers. Only 11% said they did not read
a paper during a typical month, but the lack of daily papers
affects exposure. The readership mean of 3.7 times monthly
indicates that young people read a newspaper almost every
week, but reading only one of the half-dozen newspapers
published weekly in Belize results in an exposure level so
low that it can be expected to have little influence on
national identity.
Low newspaper exposure probably contributes to low
dependency on newspapers. H2:(b) predicting a positive
relationship between newspaper dependency and national


265
Picard, R. G. (1983). The preBS and the decline of
democracy: The democratj.c socialist response in public
policy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Pingree, S., k Hawkins, R. P. (1981). U.S. programs on
Australian television: The cultivation effect. Journal
of CopBUrnsation, MU). 97-105.
Pool, I. (1979). Direct broadcast and the integrity of
national cultures. In K. Nordenstreng AH. I. Schiller
(Eds.), National sovereignty and international
communication (pp. 120-153). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Potter, W. J. (1994). Cultivation theory and research: A
methodological critique. Journalism Mpso&raphs, 147.
Renshon, S. A. (1977). Assumptive frameworks in political
socialization theory. In S. A. Renshon (Ed.), Handbook
of political socialization (pp. 3-44). New York:
Collier Macmillan.
Rokeach, M. (1980). Some unresolved issues in theories of
beliefs, attitudes, and values. In M. M. Page (Ed.),
Nebraska symposium on motivation: 1979 (pp. 261-304).
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Roser, C., Snyder, L. B., k Chaffee, S. H. (1986). Belize
release me, let me go: The impact of U.S. mass media on
emigration in Belize. Belizean Studies. 14(3), 1-30.
Rubin, A. (1984). Ritualized and instrumental television
viewing. Journal of Communication. M(3), 67-77.
Rubin, A. M., k Windahl, S. (1986). The uses and
dependency model of mass communication. Critical
Studies in Mass Communication. 3, 184-199.
Schiller, H. I. (1970). Mass communication and American
empire New York: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers.
Schiller, H. I. (1989). Culture. Inc. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Setzekorn, W. D. (1981). Formerly British Honduras: A
profile of the new nation of Belize. Athens, OH: Ohio
University Press.
Sharma, Y. (1993, January 15). China: Satellite dishes
break monotony of state television. Inter Press
Service: Available on NEXIS.


18
Even the casual observer of broadcast regulation can
appreciate how the writing of a regulatory framework for
television two years after the arrival of foreign programs
exemplifies government reaction rather than carefully
planned action. The rapid spread of television around the
country before regulations could be written demonstrates how
developing countries can be overwhelmed by what has been
called a "global American electronic invasion" (Schiller,
1970, p. 79).
The Influence of National Independence
The Belizean governments slow reaction to the sudden
appearance of television can be explained in part by the
near simultaneous arrival of independence and foreign
programming. The new government had to deal with a wide
range of important issues; broadcast regulation was not in
the forefront of the national consciousness when
independence came in 1981. Government inaction in
regulating television service appeared to give a silent
blessing to private entrepreneurs who continued to buy
equipment and expand cable services in the early 1980s
(Brogdon, 1986). By the time the Belizean government got
involved in broadcast regulation aimed at television, the
idea of a government-operated television service along the
lines of Radio Belize had all but ceased to exist.
Understanding the Belize media climate in 1995 also
requires an appreciation of the popularity and pervasiveness


98
this way, English language television broadcasts serve to
unify ethnic groups within Belize. Identifying the media
exposure and dependency patterns of young Belizeans is one
step toward answering the question of how television
operates on identity in Belize.
The Research Question
This literature review has examined national identity
formation and maintenance, individual media system
dependency theory, and previous media studies to frame the
question of whether media dependency and national identity
are related. The unusual situation in Belize, where foreign
television and national independence have nearly identical
lifespans, and where foreign television dominates the
television schedule, provides the reason for the question,
"are national identity perceptions and media dependency
patterns related in an audience of young Belizeans?
Perhaps, as Collins (1990) suggested after studying the
television situation in Canada, national identity and
foreign media always will be at odds:
Nationalism is a belief system or ideology that
asserts that the interests of a community, a
nation, are best served through resistance to
transnationalization, and that it is only in
(relatively) autonomous, economically self
sufficient and culturally homogeneous political
units that individuals can protect their interests
and feel at home. (p. 11)
On the other hand, Wilk (1993) offers the reasoning
that television has helped define what Belizean identity is
by offering a nationally received visual comparison with


68
Certain "situational contingencies" (Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach,
& Grube, 1984, p. 12) such as the number of media that
fulfill the same function can affect message exposure, but
where these factors do not interfere, perceptions of
relevance and utility will prevail.
Other researchers who have examined studies based on
media dependency theory have found that they deal with a
variety of dependent variables that are not clearly
comparable. McLeod and McDonald (1985) advised researchers
to note how much time was spent with various media, what
particular content was chosen, the amount of reliance on
specific media, and the motivations for media use (p. 6).
The present study attempts to follow this approach.
By focusing on individual information goals, the early
dependency theorists acknowledged that most people follow a
problem-solving strategy for media use and that they can
articulate rational reasons for their media use patterns
(Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, & Grube, 1984, p. 6). The belief
that media use is based on problem-solving motivations that
are understood and can be explained is a key point for this
research, which used a survey instrument to gather such data
from young people. The young people questioned in this
research were asked about which media they used to
accomplish certain goals, and which media they depended on
for entertainment, or for local, national, and international
information.


100
negatively correlated with feelings of national identity
among young people in Belize while dependency on local media
and interpersonal relationships will strengthen identity
feelings. From this general hypothesis, 11 sub-hypotheses
were developed to test relationships between national
identity and media exposure and dependency.
HI: (a) There will be a negative correlation between
exposure to television and measures of national identity
among young Belizeans.
(b) There will be a negative correlation between
dependency on television and measures of national identity
among young Belizeans.
American television programs are available in every
part of Belize and dominate the program schedule. Belizean
programs such as the national news make up only a small part
of the schedule, and Mexican television programs are not
available in some parts of the country. Both exposure to
and dependency on television are likely to be associated
with lower measures of identification with Belize and higher
measures of identification with the United States or with a
global identity."
H2: (a) There will be a positive correlation between
exposure to Belize newspapers and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.


71
who watches the same program with a goal of "understanding
(DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p. 311). The goal of
understanding also may encourage different media use
according to individual desires for understanding specific
information. Thus, a young Belizean who plans to seek a
university education in the United States may report media
exposure and dependency patterns that are quite different
from another survey participant who plans to attend a
technical college in Belize.
Dependency researchers hypothesize different media
effects according to the goals of individual media use. For
this reason, different relationships between media
dependency and national identity are expected according to
individual goals. This theoretical approach is similar to
the functional approach that classifies mass media functions
as (1) surveying the environment, (2) correlating events
within the environment, (3) transmitting culture or social
heritage, and (4) entertainment (Anderson A Meyer, 1975).
DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989) also take a somewhat
functional approach to media effects, hypothesizing a
different degree of effects for active media selectors and
casual observers. Some individuals use media to achieve
understanding, orientation, or play goals, while others
encounter media messages only incidentally. Those more
intensely involved with media are more likely to show
cognitive effects on perceptions, attitudes, knowledge, or


CHAPTER 2
BELIZE MEDIA
An outline of the media climate in Belize at the time
of this research provides a basis for understanding the
hypothesized relationships between media and national
identity that will be proposed later. Predictor, or
independent, variables in this research include individual
exposure to and dependency on newspapers, magazines, radio,
television, and interpersonal sources of information from
within and outside of Belize. The criterion variable of
national identity is defined and discussed thoroughly in the
review of literature that follows this chapter.
This section is not intended as a complete history of
the media in Belize, but as a guide to the regulatory
climate and media mix leading up to 1995. Belizean media
did not arrive overnight, so some discussion of the
development of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television
is necessary to give context to this research. An
examination of events leading up to the Belize Broadcasting
and Television Act of 1983 seems particularly important in
understanding how U.S. television programs quickly dominated
Belize broadcasting.
17


41
television stations authorized to operate as of January,
1995 (Table 2).
Television in Belize continued to present an
overwhelmingly American influence in 1995, but local
production had made great strides since the arrival of U.S.
programs in an unregulated atmosphere 14 years earlier. The
availability of competing local newscasts in the nations
capital, the beginnings of locally produced programming, and
the growth of cable outlets to carry the programming hint at
Table 2. Belize Television 1
Stations1995.
Name
Location
Assignment
Baymen Broadcasting Network
Belize City
Ch.
9 k
13
Tropical Vision Ltd.
Belize City
Ch.
7
Good News Covenant
Belize City
Ch.
11
Great Belize Television
Belize City
Ch.
5
Broadcasting Corp. of Belize
Belize City
Ch.
3
Centaur Communications Corp.
Orange Walk
Ch.
3
Northern Broadcasting System
Orange Walk
Ch.
8 k
10
Tropical Vision Ltd.
Belmopan
Ch.
12
SEN
San Ignacio
Ch.
8
San Pedro Television Ltd.
Ambergris Caye
Ch.
2 k
4
Valley Vision TV Ltd.
Stann Creek
Ch.
12
SBS Television
Corozal
Ch.
2 k
13
(Source: Belize Broadcasting
Authority, Belize
City)


34
distant as the village of Big Falls in southern Belize and
tiny Progresso in northern Belize. The live broadcasts
focused on people, culture, traditions and customs in the
villages of Belize (P. E. Jones, personal communication,
January 18, 1995). The Village Life programs, which have
been popular in the past, based their appeal on the same
kind of traditions and folklore of Belize that may be
disappearing in the age of global communication.
Competition from commercial stations in the 1990s has
added to the pressure on Radio Belize and Friends FM to
deliver a popular product. The monopoly position of the
government-owned radio services is gone (Table 1). A list
of radio broadcasters obtained from the Belize Broadcasting
Authority included several privately owned stations that now
compete for audiences with the Broadcasting Corporation of
Belize.
The number of radio stations in Belize fluctuates as
private owners get into the broadcasting business and
sometimes leave quickly. One television station manager
said all Belizean broadcasters face a struggle for limited
advertising dollars; Belize has few businesses that can
afford broadcast advertising (Marie Hoare, telephone
interview, June 10, 1994). The privately owned radio
stations face an uphill battle to change the habits of
Belizeans who grew up listening to Radio Belize.


87
Increasingly, national leaders realize that television
programs created and produced in the national language are
an important means of maintaining cultural sovereignty in
the face of exposure to the global television system.
Locally produced programming carrying accepted national
themes competes very well against imported programs (Cohen,
1988). Where nations develop strong broadcasting systems
that offer local entertainment and news programming,
imported programs and foreign content can be relegated
quickly to less-watched hours or pushed off the air (Kottak,
1991). Some Latin American countries once dominated by
American programs have created strong television industries.
Latin America
The television system in Brazil offers an example of
what can be done by an ambitious and well-funded local
broadcasting industry. A tightly written government media
policy has enabled Rede Globo, the national network of
Brazil, to dominate the Brazilian television market. Rede
Globo holds a nightly audience of up to 80 million viewers.
Audience surveys indicate that all of the favorite shows are
native productions (Kottak, 1991). Although Brazilian
television is highly commercial, the broadcasting laws also
mandate some information and education programming in the
weekly schedule (Oliveira, 1988).
The popularity of Brazils programming follows a
pattern found in countries around the world; where


185
hypothesis, predicting a positive relationship between
national identity and reading of Belize magazines, was
supported.
H3: (b) There will be a positive correlation between
dependency on Belizean magazines and measures of national
identity among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis showed a weak positive
relationship that was not significant between magazine
dependency and feelings of national identity (r = .037,
p = .225). Dependency on magazines as an information source
was quite low. Magazines ranked last among the five
information sources tested for dependency (See Table 12).
This hypothesis was based on an assumption that
stronger dependencies on magazines for information and
entertainment would be associated with stronger feelings of
identity with Belize on the national identity index.
Magazine dependency was measured by the number of times
respondents answered "magazines" to a five-item set of
questions asking which media source they used for
entertainment, or to learn about events (1) in their
neighborhood, (2) in their town, (3) around Belize, and (4)
in the world.
The five responses from survey participants were coded
into a single magazine dependency variable. A reliability
analysis of how well magazine dependency correlated with a
sixth item asking how much respondents would miss magazines


180
research question. Hypotheses testing gave the results
indicated below.
HI: (a) There will be a negative correlation between
exposure to television and measures of national identity
among young Belizeans.
Correlation analysis showed a very weak positive
relationship--which was not significant--between levels of
television exposure and measures of national identity
(r = .037, p = .242). This hypothesis was based on an
assumption that higher amounts of total daily television
viewing would correlate with lower measures of national
identity on the "national identity index." A reliability
analysis for the 13 items that made up the dependent
variable, the "national identity index," indicated a high
degree of internal consistency (alpha = .765).
Because the television schedule is dominated by U.S.
rather than Belizean programs, those who typically viewed
heavy amounts of television were expected to spend a lot of
time thinking about a country outside of Belize, which might
correlate with lower national identity measures. Heavy
television viewing also might take time away from other
Belize media, such as the popular Radio Belize. Daily
exposure was measured by interval data, using the number of
hours of daily television watching reported by the survey
participants.


226
emphasis on local and national news and public affairs may
contribute to national identity building, but most of its
content is entertainment-based and radio was used as an
entertainment medium by the students in this research. Only
about one in five respondents preferred news over music as a
radio program choice.
The final set of hypotheses that tested correlations
between dependency and identity involved interpersonal
sources of information, previously identified as a strong
"pull" force that encouraged young people in Belize to seek
opportunities outside their country (Snyder et al., 1991).
Dependency theory suggests that where change in society
increases, audience dependency on media information also
increases (Ball-Rokeach 4 DeFleur, 1976). The survey
respondents, mostly upper-level students in Belize secondary
schools, faced major changes after graduation, when they
would have to choose between additional education or a job
search either at home or abroad.
In this research, survey participants who depended on
interpersonal sources of information within Belize were
expected to feel more "Belizean." Instead of the positive
relationship between dependence on interpersonal sources in
Belize and national identity predicted by H5:(a), the two
variables showed a weak negative correlation that was not
significant. The data reveal at least two possible
explanations for this the weak negative relationship:


205
media use included two media predictors of national
identity: (a) the amount radio would be missed and (b)
dependency on television.
Perhaps relationships among media increase or decrease
the influence of each medium that is used as a separate
source of information or entertainment. These
intercorrelations may help explain how media use patterns
operate within the audience. Factor analysis was used to
examine relationships that may explain how certain factor
composites maximize the total variance of the data (Dobos &
Dimmick, 1988 ) .
Table 23. Media Source Factor Loadings.
Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3
Foreign magazines .66269
Foreign newspapers .66248
Belize magazines .51191
[Factor 1 = "print media"]
Belize radio hours .56195
Belize TV hours .51387
[Factor 2 = "local broadcast media"]
.61305
.60523
Foreign radio hours
Mexican TV hours
[Factor 3 = "Mexican broadcast media"]