The media works as an integral mouth piece for a perpetual amount of social issues.  It is a powerful communication tool which aims to inform people about current affairs, give air time to particular issues and political events, aid justice by recruited the publics help and in most cases provide a source of entertainment. The public trusts the media to provide them with objective information that is not intended to sway them in any direction but rather to be informative. However, an alarming issue that is frequently overlooked is the concentration of media ownership, which greatly effects the variety and diversity of the information we are being fed. Media Concentration is the process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organisations control progressively increasing shares of the mass media. “It refers to the concentration of ownership of news, information and entertainment sources in the hands of fewer and larger corporations as well as cross ownership of multiple media outlets in a single market” (Breshears, p1). Consequently, despite the plethora of different titles and media channels the number of media owners have been steadily dwindling since the 1950s.

http://introsociology.net/blog/2012/04/05/the-big-6-media-conglomerates-how-much-do-they-really-control/

At this point in time the vast majority of the Western world’s media is being run by very few large media conglomerates. Referred to as the Big Six, Disney, General Electrics, News-Corp, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS control 90% of American Media, which greatly effects Australian media and countless other countries which consume American media. For example News Corporation, run by Australian Rupert Murdoch, owns more than ten Filmed Entertainment Companies, fourty five television channels and over fifteen online websites in the US alone, not to mention countless newspapers and magazines including the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal. In Australia his list of assets include 20 Metropolitan Newspapers, over 100 Community Suburban Newspapers, 25 regional and rural Newspapers and 25% of Cable Television Company Foxtel  (Newscorp, 2012).

 

“The Big 6 Media Conglomerates 

To see more facts on Media Concentration click here:

http://introsociology.net/blog/2012/04/05/the-big-6-media-conglomerates-how-much-do-they-really-control/

 

 

This concentration of media ownership can not be overlooked as just one mans astronomic success. Rather we must look deeper to understand the consequences of such Monopolistic Control. The List of Rupert Murdoch’s assets is just a small glimpse in to the incomprehensible number of media companies that one man or organisation can own. Referred to as oligopoly, where few firms dominate a market, this happens when large scale media companies buy out smaller scaled or local companies and as a result become even more powerful through their sheer size and through the elimination of other business competition.  (Shah, 2011)

 

Consequently this can lead to the political views, personal morals and values, opinions and beliefs of one man or one organisation being filtered down through different channels to hundreds of millions of people believing they are consuming information from many different companies and expecting to be presented with many different points of view. With this Monopolistic control we face a limit in the diversity of interests and information that is available to us. A person can read 5 different magazines, watch 10 different T.V channels and listen multiple radio shows in order to gather their news and not realise that they are all coming from the one Media organisation.

http://introsociology.net/blog/2012/04/05/the-big-6-media-conglomerates-how-much-do-they-really-control/

 

Media concentration effects the publics right to know in a number of different ways. “To serve the publics right to know, competition must exist in the marketplace of ideas. That belief is at the heart of the case against media concentration” (McManus). Diverse media ownership is needed in order to create debate that allows the best ideas to prevail. Media Consolidation, on the other hand, constricts the number of information providers and cuts down the debate needed to maintain a successful democracy. (McManus). Secondly, Media concentration provides media owners with the ability to push their own political agenda. In 1973, when Rupert Murdoch took over The Sun Newspaper, he changed the paper’s political orientation from Labour to Conservative. As a result readers of The Sun were presented with countless pages of anti labour articles in the days leading up to an election.

 

For centuries media has been referred to as the fourth estate, which can be defined as a societal and political force or institution. Its role has often been to hold the government accountable for its actions (Breashers). It is consider a powerful source which can be investigative and successfully aid democracy by revealing government policies, actions and secrets to the public. However media consolidation can drastically hinder this process, especially when a company has a vested interested in a political party or politician. In fact in the ‘American Government and the Vision of the Democrats’ report, Mark Louis LaTour stated “Media consolidation can undermine democracy, as the media has the power to define (or slant) what political candidates stand for; can determine which candidates get air time; and can determine who participates in widely viewed debates on important issues” (LaTour, 2007).

 

“Today the chief executive officers of the 23 corporations that control most of what Americans read and see can fit into an ordinary living room. Almost without exception they are economic conservatives. They can, if they wish, use control of their newspapers, broadcast stations, magazines, books, and movies to promote their own corporate values to the exclusion of others. When their corporate interest is at stake – in taxes, regulation, and anti-trust action – they use that power in their selection of news and in the private lobbying power peculiar to those who control the media image – or non-image – of politicians.” (Bagdikian, 1992)

 

Media Consolidation – Who Owns Mass Media?

 

Unfortunately the chances that media consolidation will change anytime soon, if ever, is very unlikely. Therefore the public must decide what they are able to do in order avoid the negative effects that Media concentration can produce. People must make an active decision to stay alert and be very aware of the media they choose to consume.  Audiences must constantly challenge the reality that is presented to them and understand that in most cases the media has and agenda that they are trying to push. Opting for independent publisher, deciding to look for more information and evidence from other sources are both things that ca benefit our understand gin of social issues and current affairs. We must make a concerted effort to venture further for new sources of information and actively seek secondary sources of evidence before settling on what has been provided to us through mainstream media.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Bagdikian, B.H, 2004, “The New Media Monopoly”, 4th ed, Beacon Press, Boston

 

Breshears. D, eHow Contributor, “Media Consolidation Definition”http://www.ehow.com/about_6691283_media-consolidation-definition.html#ixzz286hMqGsY

 

LaTour. M, 2007, American Government and the Vision of the Democrats, University Press of America

 

McManus. J, 1996, “Merger Mania in the Media: Can We Still Get All the News We Need?”, http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v7n1/mediacon.html

 

O.Evan, “The Media Monopoly”, http://www.teenink.com/opinion/all/article/9982/The-Media-Monopoly/

 

Shah.A, 2009,  “Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership” Global Issues, http://www.globalissues.org/article/159/media-conglomerates-mergers-concentration-of-ownership

 

William. S, eHow Contributor, “Define Media Consolidation”,  http://www.ehow.com/about_6582479_define-media-consolidation.html#ixzz286faF2vH

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_of_media_ownership

News Corporation, 2012, “Corporate Governance”, http://www.newscorp.com

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Source: http://www.ewebmarketing.com.au/blog/ceo-blogging-for-the-first-time/#

Habermas described the Public Sphere as being “made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state”. He explains that “through acts of assembly and dialogue, the public sphere generates opinions and attitudes which serve to affirm or challenge–therefore, to guide–the affairs of state” (Habermas, 1991) The public sphere is an intangible concept in which people gather to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions. Obviously the public sphere has changed over time with new technologies and inventions to aid its formations. None more powerful than the invention of social media, which has brought with it another form of public sphere.

Blogs are websites, often maintained by an individual who consistently add entries which can be a personal diary of sorts or commentary or recent events and current affairs. Collectively blogs are referred to commonly as being a part of the Blogosphere. The term suggests that blogs exist together to form a connected community or as a social network where people can post their views and opinions. Similarly to Habermas’s Public Sphere they are both places where individuals share their knowledge and personal thoughts.

How ever it is vastly different as people are not face to face with one another and on many occasions do not even know the person they are communicating with. This is a very important aspect of the blogosphere and Twitter sphere as anonymity dramatically changes the way people interact with each other.

 

Soules, M,  Jürgen Habermas and the Public Sphere, http://records.viu.ca/~soules/media301/habermas.htm

Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

I find the act of ‘making culture’ a particularly hard thing to discuss as i see it as an almost entirely unconscious an unintended  consequence of what are seemingly impromptu actions. The only example that comes to mind is  my passion for music and cinema. I would be lying if i said i didn’t enjoy Australian music and made a concerted effort to go and see good Australian films.

However, I don’t believe the fact that i play Triple j exclusively in the car is due to myself consciously trying to support or promote Australian music or culture. In fact I just enjoy the songs that are played. I do go and see many Australian  films but that doesn’t mean that i would go and see them if i thought they may be bad just to be patriotic. I usually just do what Margaret and David tell me too.

Unfortunately, I’d feel false if i said i actively ‘made (or intended to make) culture.’ I believe culture is what happens when people go about there daily business and act however is most comfortable to them. Therefore it  consequently stems from the norms and habits of the majority of people in that society.  Well, at least thats my view, or perhaps I’m just pathetically naive and don’t even notice the effects of my own actions……that could be it.

 

If the Melbourne Cup is seen as the race that stops the nation then I think it would be fair to say that the Olympics Games is the event that stops the world. We would be kidding ourselves to try and deny the power of the Olympic Games and the unparalleled reach it has to countries all over the world.

 

It would be hard to deny that during the Olympic Games, nations and their people are brought together in a way that may rival even times of international crisis. People travel, interact and learn about different people and cultures more than in any other sporting event in history.

 

However on the other hand, like any competitive sport, it has the ability to promote segregation and extreme patriotism that may in fact have more negative effects than one would think.

“Participation in the olympic games binds increasing numbers of nations to a status hierarchy” (Thossaloniki).

 

Regardless of both these factors the olympics an grab the attention of any man or woman, interested in sports or not.   Some people may be opposed to its glorification of competitiveness and in some cases arrogance. Or all for its showcasing of a nations talents. One thing is for sure and thats is its ability to polarise the globe like no other event in history. It is one of, if not, the most globalising force i have yet to come across.

 

References :

Thossaloniki, 2004, pre olympic congress – http://www.vanbottenburg.nl/downloads/154.%20Van%20Bottenburg%20&%20Wilterdink%20-%20Globalization%20inequality%20and%20Olympic%20sports%20success.pdf

http://www.gorrellart.com/ – Olympics immobilienblasen.blogspot.com

grinningplanet.com

Imageetherealthoughts.wordpress.com

I would be lying if i said i didn’t enjoy the freedom and ability i have today to easily browse the Media in all of its forms in order to keep myself up to date and ‘in the know.’  However as a media and communication student who often studies the effects of the media and the behind the scenes power of it conglomerates i feel adequately aware. 

At the moment, most of the worlds media is being run by very few large media conglomerates. With this Monopolistic control we face a limit in the diversity of interests and information that is available to us. A person can read 5 different magazines,10 different T.V channels and multiple radio shows and not realise that they all come under the one Media organisation. Companies such as Time Warner and Disney have international relations with subsidiaries in countries all over the world engaging in every form of media imaginable. 

Ted Turner, former Vice Chairman of AOL Time Warner, “The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much. There’s really only five companies that control 90% of what we read, see and hear. It’s not healthy.” 

Imagesteppesinsync.com

Unfortunately there is not much we can do about this Media control, perhaps sign a petition here and there or write a few benign strongly worded letters. What i believe we can do is just make sure we stay switched on and aware when we consume Media. We must constantly challenge the reality that is presented to us and understand that in most cases the media have an agenda. Perhaps try to venture a bit further for our sources of information and avoid most of the larger conglomerate outlets. 

References

O.Evan, The Media Monopoly“, http://www.teenink.com/opinion/all/article/9982/The-Media-Monopoly/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_of_media_ownership

The Americanisation of the world

 

The United States economy, television, music, movies and just about everything else is an ever-present force in the world around us. You only have to turn on your television or go down the street to notice the impacts American media has had on our country. We are being constantly bombarded with American music and T.V, we eat at their food chains,  buy their brands and products and have even taken on a more american way of speaking.

 

This Americanisation of the world is seen by many as a dangerous downfall in to some serious degradation of cultures. People are worried, and rightly so, that countries are losing some of their national culture and a global culture, which is of the western influence, is overtaking.

 

However, as a country that was founded on the beliefs and ways of a different country, who are we to

judge? “Australian culture has always been  influenced by imported cultural products, and indeed has been largely built on selective adoption of overseas cultural practices “(pg50). So how is this any different?

 

 

References

A.Guild,The Americanisation of Australian Culture, Discussing the cultural influence of the USA upon our nation’s way of life, http://www.ironbarkresources.com/articles/guild2004americanisation.htm

J.Pickering, pg 51, Globalisation: A Threat to Australian Culture?, http://www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au/doc/jape48_3.pdf

 

The 21st century has brought with it many new gadgets and technologies that have revolutionised the way humans are communicating.  People from opposite sides of the world are now able to interact with ease.

However, how is this effecting the social interactions that occur in our day to day lives. Since the creation of new media and gadgets people are less frequently making eye contact or engaging in face to face conversations. “I’ve started to notice more and more the number of times you walk down the street and all you see are people, head down, smartphone in hand”.  No longer do people jump on public transport and start up a conversation with the person next to them.

Click Here -> Smart Phones Effect on Society

In fact, even when at home many people are sitting with the eyes directed at their television, computer or phone screens rather then communicating with the family members that are at home. we even hear stories of people who live the majority of their lives online. opting to live this way, creating their own online persona, rather than communicate with people in the ‘real world’ as it is much harder.

 Surely this depletion of social interaction      will effect the human race in the long run. It is bound to influence and change how people grow, mature and learn how to form relationships with other people.

Of course these new gadgets and technologies are providing us with countless benefits and opportunities to reach out to those across the globe. but they are undoubtedly taking away from the formation of natural relationships and negatively effect our interactions with other members of society. “It’s important to note that, effectively, every major idea in technology that has changed the course of our civilisation. (Ferran)”

Reference

Are Smartphones Killing Conversation?http://www.squidoo.com/smart-phones-ruin-society

B. Ferran, How much impact could smartphones have on society?, Telephone Communications, http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/smartphone-impact-on-society

2012, 6 Ways Against Cell Phone Addiction, indonesiaforyou.com