With the speed and impact of the media explosion, certain harmful effects have been observed. For many people, their conception of reality is obscured or distorted by messages conveyed by the media. The rapid increase in the volume of information and entertainment has brought about a certain degree of homogenization of different societies while, paradoxically, people can be more cut off from the society in which they live as a result of media penetration into their lives. The introduction of new media, particularly television into traditional societies has shaken centuries-old customs, cultural practices and simple life styles, social aspirations and economic patterns. Too often the benefits of modern communications - which disseminate unfamiliar, vivid, absorbing information and entertainment originating in urban centres and, more often than not, from foreign sources - have been accompanied by negative influences which can dramatically disturb established orders. At the extreme, modern media have trampled on traditions and distorted centuries-old socio-economic patterns.
The socio-cultural tastes of foreign countries have been widely disseminated and are familiar to and often admired by many; people imitate them and they may become adopted norms of human behaviour in the countries exposed to them. But the imitations of alien cultures are not the same as the true development of a national culture, for they can in reality inhibit growth of national cultures by adapting to standardized international patterns of mass culture. Another negative factor is that creative artists in developing countries - authors, musicians, playwrights, script-writers, film-makers - often find it difficult to stand up to the competition of the industrialized products of the big conglomerates.
Modernization and change are inevitable, in many cases desirable. There is, however, value for the world to retain cultural diversity. The search for international unity does not require the homogenization of peoples or the obliteration of national and cultural differences that today's international media appear to promote.