Who owns the media?
Do you know? Do you even care?
The media technologies and various platforms I engage with are currently quite extensive, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. In terms of news, I am not only drawn to but mostly influenced by what’s trending on Facebook and Twitter. Despite always being told to interpret everything ‘with a grain of salt’, I used to always have faith in the majority of material I was reading (gullible or trustworthy it’s hard to say).
This subject, however, has made it highly prevalent just how important it is, to know what perspective or agenda the information communicated to us is influenced by. Coming from an individual who is always wanting to know the hot news, it’s important to also know where news is coming from and who is controlling it.
So obviously who owns the media matters, because the content matters!
Media laws state that one person cannot own more than two out of three of the big media branches; television, radio, and newspaper. However, it doesn’t specify that one person cannot own multiple companies within each branch of media production. This has resulted in four ‘big names’ having extreme cross-media ownership in Australia and the rest of the world; Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, Bruce Gordon and Kerry Stokes. The following image, represents the media control certain individuals possess:
It can be argued that the media is simply ‘serving the interests of those in power’, even being described as “the nervous system of democracy.” We are being subjected to bias opinions and one-sided views being presented on multiple media channels. Hence, hearing and reading one person’s view multiple times will, of course, influence what we believe. Throughout my history subject in High School, we learnt about the concept of ‘The Big Lie’. A theory which suggests that “no matter how big the lie is, people will believe it if you repeat it enough.” This concept worked exceedingly well for Hitler and his Nazi propaganda against the Jews, and this concept is highly evident within media today as owners have the capability to repeat their views multiple times and manipulate viewers.
On the other hand, this modern media age has given birth to various alternative outlets, allowing individuals to source numerous opinions on current events. Facebook statuses, Twitter posts, personal blogs, and YouTube channels are amongst the many alternative options, differing to those portrayed in conventional media. With this increase in social media usage, the three big media branches are losing power. Fewer people are purchasing newspapers and fewer people are watching the news, as they would rather form their opinions from online stories, opinion blogs or even those experiencing the event first hand.
How and why you are influenced really comes down to personal choice. Whilst it is essentially guaranteed that media will have an impact on society, the best way to limit the main media puppeteers control, is to educate society on the effects of media ownership and influence. By questioning the source of the information we receive, society is more likely to investigate a topic for themselves and make their own conclusions about certain issues.