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Do corporate media threaten free expression?

With many of the world's major media outlets owned by a handful of corporations, proponents of free expression worry that independent perspectives are increasingly at risk.

Do you think media conglomerates self-censor the media outlets they own to fit the corporation’s ideology? Are there problems with putting media in the hands of a few? Are there benefits?

IJNet would like to hear your opinion. We invite you to answer these questions or add some of your own. Join the discussion by clicking on "Add a Comment" below. Please identify your country if possible. Thanks for your participation.

It seems that w

It seems that way, with everything nowadays. Getting a chance to be independant and free of constrains is getting even more difficult than ever before. Few own the rights to many.. and everythings costs a lot. Luckily, i found Kantabiz.com, which allowed me to freely advertise my salon business on their network. A brilliant site for small independant businesses like mine. I would rather join Kantabiz for their independant approach that give yellow pages or google adwords the money to do so.. These few want to squeeze every dollar they can from all before offering anything.

I am a New York

I am a New Yorker, a translator married to a local journalist and living in São Paulo, Brazil, where the pernicious effects of media concentration are starkly visible and the profession of journalism long ago degenerated into a Hobbesian state of nature as a result.

It is still common to see elected officials illegally controlling the broadcast concessions they vote to approve, for example, and using them to promote partisan propaganda for electoral ends -- a practice that goes back to the Vargas and the military dictatorships and the vexed legacy of Carlos Lacerda.

The handful of major major media groups in the country, the so-called Six Families, often operate as a cartel, tailoring political and business coverage to their private interests. The result is a news media prone to bombarding audiences with shrill, vicious, factually-challenged, scandal-mongering nonsense.

An illustrative factoid I like to trot out: Google News for the U.S. lists over 4,000 news sources. Google News Brasil lists a little over 200, and most of them simply parrot the same three national wire services: Globo, Folha, and Estado.

As I often tell friends and colleagues back home, if you want a preview of the dystopian consequences of concentrated media ownership, taken to extremes, watch the Brazilian media cartel in action. Read the O Globo daily and Veja magazine, and watch the nightly Jornal Nacional or Fantástico. The level of indiscriminate slander, disinformation and open scorn for professional canons of ethics has to be seen to be believed.

A local critic was not exaggerating, I think, when they wrote recently of the "privatization of censorship" here.

But there are also signs of organized, effective resistance as well. Business journalist Luis Nassif, for example, has been publishing a series of case studies of Veja magazine recently that clearly identify the degradation of ethical and quality standards there, and the conflicts of interest that drive the process. The Observatório da Imprensa is an important space for daily critique and debate. Regional broadcasters and publications are emerging to provide a counterpoint to the Rio and São Paulo media monopolies and write the stories of local and regional interest that would not otherwise get told. The Internet both helps and hinders: It provides an alternative venue for diverse voices, but also serves as a temporary autonomous zone in which "noise machine" rumor campaigns and "echo chamber" black viral marketing proliferate.

In short, Brazil is a fascinating media scene to watch, and watching it has made me much, much less complacent about these issues.

Yes, It's true

Yes, It's true

Coporate Media is a baised media. they want to control the voices and expression of people. They want to show what they like.

In India, NDTV, IBN7, CNN IBN are some examples of baised media houses.

Objectivity dem

Objectivity demands that we follow a generally accepted view in reporting. That is to say, reporting without bias. But with the trend of things in our soceity one hardly reports without belonging to one media organisation or the other. Since he that pays the piper dictates the tune especially here in my country Nigeria, there is that tendency or even an assurance that what journalists report are shaped by the interest group sponsoring them at any given time. It will therefore, be difficult to maintain independent perspectives in reporting since almost every one is working for a pay to meet the economic standard of our society. So, once a media outllet is owned by a particular group or cooporation, sure it will be influenced; and that objectivity found in independent perspective reporting will be hamppered.

Okechukwu Ndubuisi is my name. from Nigeria.

Media houses th

Media houses that find themselves in this dicey scenario have no altenative but to preserve the corporate image and identity of the sponsor. Secondly, such media cannot even be compared to civic journalism, a form of hyphenated journalism that tends to be tilted towards a participatory approach in their treatment of news. As it tursn out corporate media does not qualify under this form of journalism which unlike the former compels editors to state clearly why they decidedly approach a matter in a subjective manner. While some school of thought think subjectivity is acceptable in some cases, it however defeats the very fabric of journalism that is all about balance, fairness and objective reporting. A good example of a media houses propagating corporate media in their coverage of African affairs is the BBC. The crisis in Zimbabwe folowing the delay in releasing poll results is a case in point. The BBC has continued pouring mud on Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF with villainy overtones while portraying the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai as the angel that should light the dimming light in once-upon a time Africa's food basket. It is such kind of reporting that makes the citizenry to go to sleep once an election is over only to be awoken by an economic downturn.
Therefore, such media have nothing to do with journalism, worse still, have nothing to do with independent journalism is a broader issue that is lackng even in so called independent tabloids in countries such as Nigeria, Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe.

Corporate media

Corporate media or any other media that has some influence in the public here in Africa is nothing but the fourth estate of thieves. Where I stay in Zambian we have broacast media whose main news bulletin are sponsored by certain companies. In fact news in preceded by some long boring advert of the sponsor and the words 'this news is brought by...' Suppose there is a complaint about this particluar company from a member of the public, can that item be published? Now, we are talking about in a country where the media financial base is fragile. To get one advertiser is who actually pays is a miracle, unless you are corrupt. So what happens is that, there is a lot of superflous reporting about government activities but corporations that sit on the rights of people such as consumers are given a blind eye. Media owners won't allow reporters who write stuff that may endager their source of income. This is equally true for the print media. One wonders why certain people are always the ones being quoted in the media. Usually, yuo discover that some people are bank signatories to entities whose adverts constantly appeasr in geiven papers. So free expression costs money here.

Most of Myanmar

Most of Myanmar's weekly journals owned by the privates have to give their front pages for ad. Even government's daily newspapers have to share their main pages for ad.

My former newsp

My former newspaper, The Times of India, now said to be the largest circulation English broadsheet in the world, with over 2 million copies daily with several publishin centres, is selling EDITORIAL space. It has also bought shares in companies for which it "pays" by discounted advertising. These are typically companies which are going in for a new issue of shares. You can well imagine what coverage the newspaper gives of companies it partly owns. I would like to know if there are parallels anywhere else in the world?

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