A key talking point amongst the intelligentsia is the dangers posed by a lack of diversity and representation in the mainstream media’ s coverage. The phenomena of media concentration, which has seen greater consolidation in the last decade, give rise to the production of news content that serves the interests of the select media elite. This concentration of power in the hands of large media conglomerates makes it easy for them to set the political agenda on the national scale as exemplified by Rupert Murdoch’ s near-monopoly ownership of media space in Britain.
In fact, when Tony Blair first came to power in 1997 his first foreign visit was to Australia to have a one-on-one conversation with Mr. Murdoch. Irrespective of the official rhetoric, this gesture on part of Mr. Blair can only be construed as an informal pact of media-state cooperation in the subsequent years of New Labour rule. It is no surprise then that the issues that media coverage, in general, is infested with their personal biases, prejudices, and interests. The general public, made helpless by this system, is presented a narrow political agenda that holds no real significance for them (Eldridge, Kitzinger & Williams, 1997, p.
27). In other words, while the media has the power to elicit a policy response from the government, the outcomes tend to benefit the media elite and ruling classes rather than people. Only a few news stories get picked for publication/broadcast among numerous other pieces competing for the same space/time. The journalists in charge of deciding the news content are subject to personal biases, external coercion (both implicit and explicit) and other constraints that influence their decision making.
For these reasons, there are only a minority of journalists who adhere to standards of objectivity and professional integrity, while the rest succumb to various pressures consciously or otherwise. This decline in journalistic ethos is seen across geo-political entities and cultures, making it a cause of concern for all (Eldridge, Kitzinger & Williams, 1997, p. 28). While media industries across geopolitical entities have similarities, no two media organization operates in the same environment. To this extent, one cannot draw sweeping generalizations with respect to ascertaining the independence or the lack of it in the media industry.
Not only is the difference induced by the realities of individual nation-states, but they are also demarcated by the political transformation from within.
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