19 July 2005

Media for profit

Sex and violence on TV and in movies. Provocative music videos, not just on TV, but also on large screens in shopping malls. Music lyrics replete with f****** expletives. What are the moral values of the men and women who control our TV, film and music industries? Ever wonder about that?

As if entertainment wasn’t enough, even news reporting is influenced by the media’s desire to make a profit. After all, most media outlets are owned by corporations whose primary interest is to make money for their shareholders. And, the corporates and other advertisers are pretty much lined up to ensure this happens. The question is: How much can we trust the entertainment and news media we are exposed to everyday?

According to FAIR’s "What’s Wrong With The News?" (see my post of 17 July), "Independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with the economic and political powers they should be watchdogging. Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting the spectrum of viewpoints that have access to mass media. With U.S. media outlets overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, independent journalism is compromised."

The U.S. media outlets are not alone here. What about the Indian for-profit media conglomerates like the Times of India group or the STAR network in India? Is all of this happening in India as well?

If this thought is worrisome, here’s something (also from FAIR) even more scary: "Most of the income of for-profit media outlets comes not from their audiences, but from commercial advertisers who are interested in selling products to that audience. Although people sometimes defend commercial media by arguing that the market gives people what they want, the fact is that the most important transaction in the media marketplace – the only transaction, in the case of broadcast television and radio – does not involve media companies selling content to audiences, but rather media companies selling audiences to sponsors."

Guess that means the media has roped in you and me as well. One solution is to create your own medium – like this blog – tipping the balance of power to the content provider. But, that’s a pretty big job.

1 comment:

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