Couch Potato No More.
We live in a mass media society, particularly dominated by electronic media. If you are like myself, then you sleep, eat, go to the toilet and brush your teeth with you iPhone (it’s sad, I know). This assures a constant stream of media in our lives leaving no room to doubt that it actively changes and influences society, rather than merely depicting a detached reflection of it. Therefore the question begs to be asked, with the media influencing our daily lives, does it matter who controls it?
The media have the ability to the control of the flow of information, knowledge, values and images of society. From only a handful of people dominating this global media market comes a lack of diversity in the news (A Goodman & D Gooman 2005). This not only has a negative impact on assuring healthy competition within the media, but also leads towards a one-sided industry full to the brim of bias news stories.
Certain media channels, News Corp (News International Communications) as a prime example, demonstrate this supremacy through their domination of main news networks, leaving the smaller channels without a voice. It’s becoming disconcerting for a handful of people to have that much sway in the world, especially with self-regulation becoming a common occurrence in media today (Meier 2002).
With reference to the powers the media have on politics, sociologist, Anthony Giddens, explains the dangers of a prejudice media industry.
‘The media…have a double relation to democracy. On the one hand …the emergence of a global information society is a powerful democratising force. Yet, television, and the other media, tend to destroy the very public space of dialogue they open up, through relentless trivializing, and personalizing of political issues. Moreover, the growth of giant multinational media corporations means that unelected business tycoons can hold enormous power’ (Giddens 1999, cited in Meier 2002).
However, within this question over media ownership, Giddens introduced me to a larger question. If ownership is as important as I, and I hope you, believe it is, then who gave the right for Rupert Murdoch or Mark Zuckerberg to have all of the power? By watching their channels and reading their newspapers are we encouraging their growth of control?
Meier, W.A. 2002, ‘Media ownership – does it matter?’, Networking knowledge for information societies: Institutions & intervention, Mansell,R, Samarajiva, R, & Mahan, A (eds.), pp. 298-302, viewed 27 March 2013, <lirne.net/resources/netknowledge/meier.pdf>
Goodman, A & Goodman, D 2005, ‘Why media ownership matter’, Seattle Times Newspaper, 3 April, vewied 28 March, <http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2002228040_sundaygoodman03.html>.
Banksy, n.d. TV Heads, image, SincerelyShannon, viewed 28 March, < http://sincerelyshannon.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/lost-introduces-its-womans-line/banksy-tv-heads/>.