With such a broad spectrum of media sources and content within Australia alone, you wouldn’t be blamed for mistakingly thinking that media ownership is vast in dimension, allowing for information to be free and just.
The truth is, however, I can map out the ownership concentration of Australian media on just one hand;
- Bruce Gordon
- Gina Rinehart
- Kerry Stokes
- Rupert Murdoch
Gold star if you knew all of them! So what does this mean for us? Well friends, it means that our media is controlled by an oligopoly. Obviously we’ve busted the notion that media ownership is diluted and broad BUT the question remains…
…does this concentration of ownership matter?
Of course it does! These are the people at the reigns of the information just waiting to trickle down every channel and avenue of media whether it’s on one end of the spectrum or the other. We, as consumers, (naturally I’m inclined to think we are more so ‘prosumers’, but for the purpose of this argument, any one not in direct control of media ownership is a consumer) should be naturally wary of the nature of our media. Why?
“I would like my media biased, completely censored and I want to be unaware of 100% of it’s origins” – said no-one ever.
Because we don’t want to be absorbing dribble that’s been passed through the hands of a few select individuals with a few select opinions, ideologies and most importantly – motivations. Don’t think these media magnates and CEO’s could possibly control output? Think again. They set the guidelines and they call the shots. If they weren’t doing this, they’d probably just be fanny-ing around the office and counting their fortunes.
The fundamental truth about media ownership is that these individuals who regulate and control the media are still operating in business and therefore operate in response to the best interests of their business. And as has been theorised, eventually media ownership will become so concentrated that there may only be one dominant figure.
Further reasons why this matters. Just one more really really important reason why this matters;
– Consider your reliance on the regulated media owned by these figures and other figures across the globe? Chances are, if it’s anything like mine then it’s pretty extensive. We expect unbiased and at the very least, “trustworthy” information from these media sources. In Australia, we’re lucky to have access to media that’s factual and uncensored – speaking on a generalised basis. However the more concentrated media ownership becomes, the less likely our information is to stay that way.
As Elizabeth Hart suggests in the reading, concentrated media ownership has the “potential to limit freedom of expression”.
Never fear though! In a bit of a catch 22, the technological age which has increased the prevalence of media and concentrated media
domination ownership has also brought about the participatory culture in which we see the rise of the might ‘prosumer’ aka – you and me! Could our participation in mostly unregulated, free-talk platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook spell a turn for concentrated media ownership? Let’s bloody hope so.
I sincerely struggle to find justification in such a small number controlling the information received by so many.
Hart, Elizabeth, ‘Media Ownership’ in Media and Journalism, Bainbridge, J., Goc, N. and Tynan, L. (eds.) Oxford University Press: Melbourne, 2008, pp. 400-‐408 http://www.oup.com.au/__data/assets/…/Bainbridge_1e_Case_Study_6.pdf