Control of the media is a significant issue, with many different forms of its misuse sparking great controversy around the world. In Australia, there is a fear of corporate domination in our media, as a small number of key figures operate a huge portion of the press. There are regulations which govern the spread of ownership across media platforms and regions. However, there is currently a push to revise them, with the large media companies seeking a more moderate system.
The power that comes with leading these large companies, frequently leads to a heavily one-sided approach to reporting within the business, as journalists will seek the approval of their superiors. Unfortunately, the reputation of fair and balanced journalism in these corporations is often questionable.
In order to maintain a respectable field of reporting, there needs to be two fundamental principles in place; diversity and freedom. You don’t need me to tell you that a large spread of perspectives builds up an objective representation of events, and freedom of the press allows this to succeed.
As Rupert Murdoch said in an interview in 1967, “I think the important thing is that there be plenty of newspapers with plenty of different people controlling them, so that there’s a variety of viewpoints, so there’s a choice for the public. This is the freedom of the press that is needed. Freedom of the press mustn’t be one-sided just for a publisher to speak as he pleases, to try and bully the community.” (Barry 2013). This doesn’t just apply to media moguls though; it affects the journalistic control of governments as well.
Just as our Prime Minister recently stated “The media world has changed beyond recognition over the last couple of decades, it’s important that regulation evolve to match the changing environment.” (Swan & Ireland 2014). Social media is a new issue within this debate, as it poses further questions of ownership. No longer is it solely a matter of who owns the media (companies), but now there’s an additional concern of who owns the media (content).
Barry, P 2013, Rupert tweets, the Tele repeats, Media Watch, viewed 10 April 2014, <http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3834127.htm>.
Swan, J & Ireland, J 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott treads cautiously on media ownership rules, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 11 April 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prime-minister-tony-abbott-treads-cautiously-on-media-ownership-rules-20140310-34gvr.html>.