The concentration of media ownership has been the topic of intense public debate around the world. It is important to understand who controls the media and why it matters. Allowing large media corporations to have infinite power over the mass media will result in majority of the world having the same ideologies, opinions and beliefs. Clearly, we don’t want to have the identical opinion as the person standing next to us. Permitting extreme concentrated patterns of media ownership is bound to suppress innovation and eventually lead to the death of individuality and democracy. Nevertheless, do you know how controlled the media industry has become?
Rupert Murdoch is a media corporation Tycoon, he has superior ownership over various Newspaper and Television Networks worldwide. The below image emphasises the power of Rupert Murdoch’s empire to influence and persuade the audience. In Australia alone he owns 150 titles, which includes The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Advertiser. Due to the information coming from a one sided perspective, Murdoch has the ability to limit the diversity of information on offer to the audience. Clearly, the audience is being forced to only know selected information that is offered from a biased one sided perspective. Have we given to much power and control to one individual?
If we take a look at the Australian Media ownership landscape, there are three influential and significant players. Australia’s television network is dominated by Kerry Stokes who has full control over Channel 7 and Bruce Gordon controls regional television network WIN TV. By far, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is the one to watch, she owns 10% of the Ten Network and owns a large share in Fairfax which she desires to increase her influence into an editorial role. Ricardo Goncalves from SBS states that, “…there are concerns that she may use her influence to sway editorial policy at publications like the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, various online business and radio stations like 2UE and 3AW which the company owns.” Therefore, there is a need to control media ownership because it limits the amount of voices.
We may lead to believe the diversity of media ownership is declining and there is a need for regulation. The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) is a government agency responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, the internet, radio, and telecommunication. The ACMA attempts to ensure diversity of ownership and control. But to what extent will the government’s power impact on the owners of the large media corporations?
The media plays an important role in society in shaping and influencing our personal choices. Allowing a particular individual to have excessive amount of control over the mass media will eventually lead to a world believing there is no other opinions. However, there are always two sides to a story!