When we wake up in the morning, for many people the first thing we reach for is our phones. We may look at the news, read the weather forecast for the day or most commonly, scroll through our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds. When doing this, have you ever stopped to ask yourself who owns the media platform you are using? For many of us, the answer would be no. Because we have our own profiles, we believe we are in control, and to some extent that is true. We post the statuses we write, we upload the photos we take, and we comment and like the things that we are drawn to. But what about the actual media site itself. Who controls it? Who has authority over what you see and what you can do? The answer to these questions might surprise you.
In today’s world, the diversity of media ownership is declining significantly. This is due to the fact that powerful, wealthy individuals are owning large portions of companies. The key issue with this is that the fewer the ‘owners’, the fewer the voices.
Let’s take one of Australia’s most popular radio networks as an example. Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch has a one hundred percent stake in Nova FM. This staggering statistic from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, is a demonstration of how restricted media ownership is. Using this same example, we can discuss the effects of such an extreme ownership. Lachlan Murdoch, being the largest contributor to Nova, will therefore have a powerful voice in the business. This is a worrying issue as it means that businesses can censor their media platforms. Audience members will only hear what the company and stakeholders want their listeners to hear. This issue was captured by American singer/songwriter Jim Morrison, “Whoever controls the media controls the mind.” Essentially, this quote highlights the fact that limited voices in the media open up to bias opinions that wouldn’t be so prominent if media ownership existed in large numbers.
But what about the media platforms we use on a daily basis, like Facebook? Well, according to Who OWNS Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg has a 28.2% stake in the company. Apart from Zuckerberg, only six others have weighty stakes below 10% and above 1.6%. This clearly demonstrates that for a global giant, only seven people have significant control.
Ultimately, it reveals that the media platforms we all use daily, are controlled and manipulated by the owners, filtering the information we receive.
Until next time,
- “Australian Communications and Media Authority – Media Interests Snapshot”, 24/03/16, http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/media-interests-snapshot
- “Who Owns Facebook – The Definitive Who’s Who Guide to Facebook Wealth”, May 2011, http://whoownsfacebook.com
- “Love of Life Quotes – Jim Morrison quote on media control”, 19/10/2013, http://www.loveoflifequotes.com/uncategorized/jim-morrison-quote-media-control/
- “Mumbrella – Watchdog ACMA launches new interactive guide to media ownership in Australia”, Nic Christensen, 15/01/2016, http://mumbrella.com.au/watchdog-acma-launches-new-interactive-guide-to-media-ownership-in-australia-339936
- “UFO International Project – Media Control and the ‘Awakening'”, http://www.ufointernationalproject.com/ufo-photos-and-videos/media-control-and-the-awakening/