♪♬ Rinehart, Murdoch, and Packer… Oh My! ♪♬

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Scott Ludlam (from The Guardian“Oh the bias!”) has said that a diverse media ecosystem is the backbone to any democracy, including Australia. He argues that regardless of your own political beliefs we should all be fighting for the diversification of media ownership. And to an extent, I certainly agree.

The usual argument put forth is that when there is a dominance of media ownership by a few ‘big guns’ (Murdoch, Packer and Fairfax), the under-saturation of Australia’s media market will lead to abuses of power. As well as conflicting interests, a lack of diversity in content, analysis and opinion.

 

This all seems common sense on first consideration. However, when I begin to really think about the question why does it matter who ‘controls’ the media, I feel a little underwhelmed by my own personal conclusions.

It is certainly true that currently, if you turn on your TV you are guaranteed to be watching a channel produced by one of six companies. The fate of newspapers is even grimmer, with only four major players. So why does this matter?

Media not only informs, but also holds the power to shape the publics perceptions. We are all familiar with Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR as extreme examples of what abuse occurs when the public are manipulated by one dominant media source.

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Let’s not all run away crying in despair, just yet. I would like to think that most Australians are intelligent enough to navigate the contemporary media landscape, by ascertaining if a story has a particular agenda. Never, is a story going to be 100% objective or free from bias, to think that way is both naïve and idealistic. Journalists have their own ideologies that inevitably contribute to how they interact with a particular issue or story.

I suppose, why people are panicking, is that they are afraid that if there is only a few opinions being thrown around by the media, they will be left in the dark about alternative ideas. However, I really don’t believe that to be the case. Perhaps I have too much faith in the general population of Australia; currently we are in a time of dramatic change in how we communicate with one another, with social media taking centre stage. Although much of how we receive our news online is via the mega media companies, we are provided a platform via blogs, Twitter and Facebook to discuss our own opinions about current affairs amongst our peers.

I feel it needs to be said that virtually all the research that went into this blog post has come from publications that were produced by the ‘monopoly’ including the criticisms made by Ludlam…Oh the irony!


References:

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2 Responses to ♪♬ Rinehart, Murdoch, and Packer… Oh My! ♪♬

  1. Hi April,
    I completely agree with many points you have raised in this post! The power trio being Murdoch, Packer and Fairfax, maintain a surplus of control over the current media sphere leading to a lack of diversity in content, analysis and opinion, as you have said. I find this alarming too and, even though it may be a stretch at this stage, the current shape of our media environment is comparable to past forms of censorship. I do appreciate that you acknowledge social media as being an emerging platform largely free of regulation. I have found that I derive much of my news from twitter and always enjoy reading the varied opinions presented on there!

    Fantastic post – love the irony too!

  2. harryottley says:

    I agree totally with almost everything you said. The amount of power that the big 3 have is ludicrous. The perfect example of this was the election last year, the bias around was boarding on propaganda. Over and over again Rudd and Labor were smashed by the Telegraph, Australian, Herald etc over and over again. To say that didn’t have a massive impact on the end result would be silly. People need to think more about this sort of stuff. Thanks!

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