Ownership and control of the media

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  • Created by: Amy2603
  • Created on: 18-03-21 12:44
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  • Ownership and control
    • Pluralism
      • The media as a democratic mirror
        • All interest groups are given a media platform to express their views so all points of views in a democratic society are catered for
        • Media outlets controlled by the state are impartial (eg BBC and Channel 4)
          • BBC set up in 1926 by a royal charter which states the BBC has a legal obligation to remain impartial
          • They are restricted (eg in some societies, the government does not allow owners to own too many or different types of media
      • The free market and profit will always trump the idea that media corporations are a means by which owners impose their own political opinions on audiences and consumers
        • In free market economies, media owners compete against each other to attract people to their product
      • The audience holds the power
        • Because they exercise consumer sovereignty (the right to buy or to not buy/ freedom of choice)
        • If the audience suspected bias they would not buy the product or find another product that reflects their views
          • The media company would go out of business
        • The market determines media content and product, not the owner
      • The global media marketplace is segmented
        • Variety of media products aimed at different markets
          • This therefore counters any attempt to influence a mass audience
      • Media products are costly to produce so the company will want to maximise their audience as much as possible
      • Owners don't have the time to control and check every piece of media of theirs produced
        • Whale (1977)- "media owners have global problems of trade and investment to occupy their minds"
      • Media professionalism- journalists have too much integrity to be regularly biased in favour of one particular perspective
      • Criticisms
        • Curran argues that media owners have undermined newspaper independence/balance  e.g by choosing editors that 'fail' to toe their owner's line
        • Over-states the impartiality of journalists. Blumler argues journalists are over reliant on official sources (e.g politicians and the police which undermines journalistic objectivity
        • Trowler (2004)- 500 journalists were embedded in the British and American troops during the invasion in Iraq
        • Feminists- the range of female voices available in the marketplace is actually quite narrow
        • It is difficult for ordinary people to decide what they want to see if the media provide their only source of info
    • Marxism
      • Instrumental /manipulative
        • Miliband (1973)- mass media represents an ideological instrument which plays a key role in the reproduction and justification of class inequality
          • By transmitting a conservative and conformist ideology in the form of news and entertainment
          • Media owners shape and manipulate how people think about  the world they live in
        • Media representations of ethnic minorities tend to portray them as criminals, migrants and extremists to divide and rule the working class
          • Distracts from the real cause of inequality
        • Marcuse (part of the Frankfurt school)- media owners playa key role in helping to control the working class through a 'bread and circuses approach (deliberately make sure the media output is mainly entertainment-orientated to keep people docile and happy)
        • Evidence
          • Italy- Silvio Berlusconi's control of three television stations (40% of the Italian audience) was instrumental in his party winning the general election
          • 1920-1950 press baronslike Lord Beaverbrook who owned the Express newspaper group openly stated their ideological intentions
        • Criticisms
          • Rarely explain how an owner's media manipulation works in practice
          • Feminists-they ignore the role of the media in transmitting patriarchal ideology
          • Assumes ruling class ideology has an effect on its audience in the form of a false class consciousness
      • Hegemonic
        • GUMG- media content does support the interests of those who run the capitalist system
          • Journalists and editors tend to believe in 'middle of the road' (consensus) views
        • Criticiams
          • Vague about what constitutes ideology and the effects it allegedly has upon powerless groups
          • GUMG's focus on media professionals implies that owners have little or no input into media production which is unlikely
          • Because the media is largely owned by men, agenda-setting is a patriarchal exercise that serves to limit women's roles in media production
    • Postmodernist
      • Strinati (1995)- countries such as the UK have been transformed in the past 30 years from industrial modern societies with manufacturing economies to postmodern and post-industrial soceties with service ecomoies
      • 3 characteristics that have an impact on the ownership and control debate
        • Media-saturated society
        • Globalisation
        • The truth is unattainable and irrelevant. People have become sceptical so all ideas have an element of truth (Trowler)
      • Baudrillard (1998)- the postmodern revolution in communications media means that they find it difficult to distinguish between real life and the media version of reality ('hyper-reality)

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