Until very recently, I took it for granted that I had access to uncensored, factual media.
Of course, compared to some nations in the world, I do.
However, a large portion of Australia’s media is owned by a select group of people:
The important thing here to ponder is:
Does this matter?
An increasing number of people are starting to think it does.
This Simpson’s parody pokes fun at the level of censorship within Fox (owned by Rupert Murdoch)
It does raise the question though of who exactly should decide what is ‘newsworthy’, what is unbiased, and exactly what media sources are ‘trustworthy’. In a BBC broadcast, Hugh Grant accuses News of the World of extensive phone hacking to attain ‘inside information’. He also wrote exclusively for the “New Statesman” in: “The bugger, bugged“. This quote comes from the ex-News of the World journalist that spilled the beans:
“…all hail the master. We’re just pawns in his game.”
This being in reference to owner, Rupert Murdoch.
This statement seriously undermines the credibility of traditional media. Can Murdoch, and by extension, other dominant media owners, influence which sides of a story are told, or if these stories are told at all? As Elizabeth Hart says in “Media Ownership“, concentrated media ownership has the “potential to limit freedom of expression”.
Obviously, this should be an issue of great importance.
However, it seems all is not lost. A reading of “The Mobile Phone and the Public Sphere”* by Janey Gordon indicates the growing importance of the so called ‘prosumer’ as part of the modern news collection. For example, how civilian mobile phone images were used to document the 2005 London Bombings. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all allow active participation with the media.
This is still in its early stages, but perhaps these platforms will allow the public to regulate the standards of the media…?
At any rate, the media hasn’t taken over the world. Yet…
Gordon, Janey (2007), The Mobile Phone and the Public Sphere: Mobile Phone Usage in Three Critical Situations, Convergence 13/3 Pages: 307-319