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The issue of media ownership is a complex one and therefore, I look to answer this question in exploring the importance of media ownership in society and the significance of such an issue. I shall do this by exploring the different major concerns

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Introduction

Why does ownership of the media matter? The issue of media ownership is a complex one and therefore, I look to answer this question in exploring the importance of media ownership in society and the significance of such an issue. I shall do this by exploring the different major concerns posed to the public by concentrated ownership of the media, including the threats to pluralism and the consequences had on the economy (focusing on the idea of competition and efficiency). It's an issue of complete conflict and often contradiction in that there are many counter-arguments available and thus it is difficult to conclude as to whether concentrated ownership is good or bad, however, in either situation ownership of the media remains something that matters. The first and foremost concern of media policies is the "potential socio-political and cultural implications of media empire-building" (Gillian Doyle, 2002). This is the concern for the threat that concentrated media may pose to 'pluralism', being the diversity obtained within the media (embracing both diversity of ownership and diversity of content). It is essential to have present, a number of different 'voices' to promote both 'political' and 'cultural' pluralism, requiring the need for a range of different political views and opinions, and the need for a range of cultures to be represented in the media. Media concentration is commonly perceived to decrease the number of independent suppliers and, with regards to this, affects the range of output. ...read more.

Middle

This actually caused a change of vote when viewers had been watching the Berlusconi channels, becoming more right wing. Hence, media ownership is of great importance because this complex issue can have serious consequences on the reflecting society, and so, certain media policies are in place to strengthen that which is most important; pluralism/diversity. On the contrary, there is yet again another counter-argument to this. For if we allow for concentrated media ownership, there is the high possibility of producing cost-efficiencies, which in turn would support a greater level of diversity of content and also the development of new products, therefore aiding to pluralism and benefiting society. To conclude issues of pluralism, we see that a diversity of owners prevents any single supplier from obtaining absolute control and therefore reduces the risk of public influence through minimised voices. It is also strengthened by certain media policies which promote a diversity of programmes genres and a duty of impartiality, both within the need for diversity of content. Secondary to the main seeming danger of over-representation, is economic welfare of the media industry and how efficient the business is run. In studying the different formations of ownership through expansion we can see the various benefits it can have for the firms, namely increased 'efficiency' and increased 'market power'. Efficiency suggests that the produce of a firm is of the "right quality and quantity to satisfy the wants and needs of society" (Gillian Doyle, 2002), and therefore, if its gains are used for innovation of resources than it can be very beneficial to the public. ...read more.

Conclusion

In addition to this we have the problem of monopolies forming due to technological change. This can often bring about concern for gateway monopolies or bottlenecks, where an individual firm has complete control over vital communications, choosing who they do (or do not) allow access to their activity. This confirms the anxieties had about excessive concentration of media ownership where systems can become corrupt, diminishing competition and thus efficiency, pluralism and thus overall diversity of the media industry. The topic of media ownership therefore is one of vital importance and great controversy. It matters because it is something that forms and shapes the media industry, which in turn forms and shapes the society we live in. We are an active audience and thus choose what and what not to believe, however it is the restrictions and regulations of media policy that aid to find a balance within this whirlpool of conflicts. Media ownership is significant because there are pros and cons in each extreme case and the ultimate balance will never be perfect in any field. It is a situation of complete compromise and often trust in the firms who provide produce, and whilst there is evidence of certain monopolies abusing their power, we have a fine example in the UK of a monopoly that is beneficial to our society. The BBC is confirmation that there can be no consistent philosophy within the ownership of media (i.e. monopolies abuse power; it isn't the case here). It is an important and complex issue and should always remain significant to the society we live in. ...read more.

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