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Concentration of media ownership (also known as media consolidation or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media. Contemporary research demonstrates increasing levels of consolidation, with many media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.
Globally, large media conglomerates include Viacom, CBS Corporation, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox and News Corp (the former News Corporation, split in 2013), Bertelsmann AG, Sony, Comcast, Vivendi, Televisa, The Walt Disney Company, Hearst Corporation, Organizações Globo and Lagardère Group.
As of 2012, The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the US, with News Corporation, Time Warner and Viacom ranking second, third and fourth respectively.
In nations described as authoritarian by most international think-tanks and NGOs, media ownership is generally something very close to the complete state control over information in direct or indirect ways.
Large media looks as if serves corporate interests, but given the rave for who produces information, they need to come up with a lot of important stuff that's happening and can't afford to miss out much. Also, given broader dissemination of info, they have to be on their toes and can't afford to mess up with facts. New York Times and The Washington post on the other hand, they have to pander to popular tastes and a lot of them seem to merely hands out highlights and missed out on information that might be uncomfortable or not so interesting. To think that this hegemony is overarching is to be blind to multiple sources of reliable information and imagine that there's some conspiracy amongst them to hoodwink people. But given their more commercial nature, they do compromise, especially visual media. Unfortunately, the extent to which they compromise seems to be a function also of the general levels of education in a society. This is a problem.
Adding to the theoretical challenge of generalizing about patterns of media power is the core question of just what we mean by media these days. With the fragmentation of mass media channels and audiences, and the proliferation of new digital communication formats, it is difficult to draw sharp boundaries around discrete media spheres. As various media become interactively connected, information flows more easily across technological, social, and geographical boundaries.
The rapid development of new media has been the main force accelerating the trend of globalization in human society in recent decades. New media has brought human interaction and society to a highly interconnected and complex level, but at the same time challenges the very existence of intercultural communication in its traditional sense. It is under this circumstance that we see more and more scholars becoming involved in the investigation of the relationship between new media and intercultural communication
Job of the media: to disseminate info. For people to form their own opinion and NOT to propagate opinion.
Global media conglomerates: organisations running Fox News, BBC, CNN via their reach hegemonize not only the process of this but also take sides in discourse and focus on certain aspects while denigrating others. These orgs run a Eurocentric discourse Ie one which expresses the side of the NATO.
Rupert Murdoch shows how powerful this hegemonization is.
Also there is clear distinction between independent media and dependent media. Corporations in their dependency on state structure and funds are caught up in the spiral where they are forced to outline certain aspects of news in lieu of not creating displeasure among sponsors (which are again corporations) and state.
(Analyse this in light of decline of print media)
New age media has taken
The reach provided to it by the internet and social media and bought a different age of information.
1) Social media: youtube: channels creating access for people like John Oliver, Russell brand who present neutralised stands on world issues.
2) Julian Assange, bradley manning and Edward Snowden. Basically whistle blowing, media has made such actors independent.
3) Rise of citizen journalism.
Problems with new age media: no redressal mechanism or accountability. Eg. If one person posts something during a riot, instant reach is to all his friend list and further even though the information he has posted can not yet be conclusively verified but still it has a chance to cause a superficial stigma. Disassociation of biases is important for media to function in an egalitarian fashion.

 How have global forces in the field of media communication influenced the way news is constructed, presented and disseminated? Use relevant examples from print, TV and new media. [10]
“Some nations can influence and control their media greatly. In addition, powerful corporations also have enormous influence on mainstream media.” Says Anup Shah, author of the article- Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership in www.globalissues.com.
Global communication at the turn of the 21st century has brought about many effects. On the one hand, it is blurring technological, economic, political, and cultural boundaries. Print, photography, film, telephone and telegraphy, broadcasting, satellites, and computer technologies, which developed fairly independently, are rapidly merging into a digital stream of zeros and ones in the global telecommunications networks. Economically, separate industries that had developed around each of these technologies are combining to service the new multimedia environment through a series of corporate mergers and alliances. Politically, global communication is undermining the traditional boundaries and sovereignties of nations. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) is violating national borders by broadcasting foreign news, entertainment, educational, and advertising programs with impunity. Similarly, the micro-media of global communication are narrow casting their messages through audio and videocassette recorders, fax machines, computer disks and networks, including the Internet and the World Wide Web. Culturally, the new patterns of global communication are creating a new global Coca-Colonized pop culture of commodity fetishism supported by global advertising and the entertainment industry.
In some places major multinational corporations own media stations and outlets. Often, many media institutions survive on advertising fees, which can lead to the media outlet being influenced by various corporate interests. Other times, the ownership interests may affect what is and is not covered. Stories can end up being biased or omitted so as not to offend advertisers or owners. The ability for citizens to make informed decisions is crucial for a free and functioning democracy but now becomes threatened by such concentration in ownership.
The idea of corporate media itself may not be a bad thing, for it can foster healthy competition and provide a check against governments. However, the concern is when there is a concentration of ownership due to the risk of increased economic and political influence that can itself be unaccountable.
Prospects for contesting media power may appear to be smaller today than ever. Observers note a combination of global media trends that have diminished the quantity, quality, and diversity of political content in the mass media. These trends include: growing media monopolies, government deregulation, the rise of commercialized news and information systems, and corporate norms shunning social responsibility beyond profits for shareholders.
Examples: A famous CNN-IBN media personality who also writes columns frequently for Hindustan Times — Karan Thapar. What you may not know is that the Nehru family itself is related, through blood and marriages, to the high-profile Thapar family. India’s Army chief during the 1962 debacle against China, Gen. P. N. Thapar, is brother-in-law of Nayantara Sehgal, the daughter of Vijaylakshmi Pandit and niece of Jawaharlal Nehru. Gen. Thapar’s son is pro-Congress journalist Karan Thapar. Gen. Thapar’s sister is Romila Thapar, a famous “top” typical JNU Nehruvian communist ideologue historian, who gets to write our textbooks and pollute them with pro-Congress Marxist propaganda.
Similarly, 1. Hindustan Times – Shobhna Bhartia, owner and editor-in-chief of Hindustan Times is a Congress MP from Rajya Sabha.
2. Vinod Sharma, HT Political Affairs editor, is essentially a Congress spokesman on all TV panel discussions, because once his boss’ term gets over, he will be looking out for her RS seat next
3. Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi, famous Congress stooges (and intermediaries for UPA allies) who were exposed in the Radiagate scandal, and are virtual Congress spokespersons in their capacities as electronic media personalities, are the ones who write opinion and op-ed columns most frequently (once every week) on the editorial pages of HT. In return, Barkha and Sanghvi are rewarded with Padma Shris and other monetary compensation by the Nehru dynasty or Congress party.
4. NDTV’s promoters are Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy. Radhika’s sister Brinda Karat is a famous CPM leader (well known for anti-Baba Ramdev views) and Brinda’s husband Prakash Karat is the CPM Politburo General Secretary (well known for preferring Congress over BJP). And Prannoy Roy’s first cousin is the famous far-leftist pro-Maoist-Naxalite pro-Kashmiri-terrorists “intellectual” Arundhati Suzanna Roy.
Also, an article by Megha Bahree on Reliance taking over Network 18 states:
“If India’s biggest corporate conglomerate is also India’s biggest media company, what does it do to diversity of opinion, plurality of opinion, what it does do to unfavorable news coverage?” asks Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, an independent journalist and teacher who was a member of the Press Council of India where he co-authored a piece on “Paid News: How corruption in the Indian media undermines democracy.”
“What happens when big business interests get into the media business?” says Thakurta. “They influence what comes out into the public, what is heard and read…. [Suddenly] You have your large business groups, conglomerates determining what people read, hear, watch. It does raise concerns and questions about what happens to the voices of not just those who are contrary to RIL, but the marginalized?”

 

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Written By Ronit Borpujari

Vivid writer, active traveller and a media professional. Currently working in the marketing sector. Looking to inspire and get inspired!

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