As a result of economic conditions or circumstances, access to the marketplace of ideas is restricted to a privileged few who own or are a part of conglomerates through being a share holder. These share holders such as Rupert Murdoch, Gina Reinhart, James Packer, Bruce Gordon have stakes in companies such as Ten News, Win Televison, Fair Fax Media, News Limited and many more. The problem with having only a few large stake holders in charge of many newspapers and news television stations is that news stories can become riddled with bias and the publics informed opinion of societal issues can therefore become limited to the opinion of those in charge of media coverage. Malcolm Fraser wrote, “In present circumstances the print media espouses the most conservative economic policies” (Malcolm Fraser 2012).
For example in the 2013 elections terrible bias was shown in the media between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. Specifically News-Corp owned, The Australian and The Daily telegraph which had headlines such as “Kick this mob out” and “Rudd a Nazi”. It was clear through these headlines, just whose alliance Rupert Murdoch was with. But is it fair to have two of Australia’s biggest newspapers slamming one election party with opinionated piece after opinionated piece? No! Shoving bias media headlines down Australians throats and one sided arguments is surely going to affect polling as Bob Hawke stated, “The corrosive effect of having derisory front page treatment of the Government every second day and flattering treatment of the Opposition every other day is very real,” (Bob Hawke 2013).
This example shows why it is so important for the public to have a diverse array of people in control of the media. The very backbone of democracy stands on the belief that everyone should be free to express their own opinion and elect who they see fit to run their country, if this opinion has been warped by a select few wealthy, powerful people, then do we have the freedom to real factual information at all?.
1. 2012, Fraser Malcolm, “Malcolm Fraser: Does it matter who owns our papers? Yes it does” https://theconversation.com/malcolm-fraser-does-it-matter-who-owns-our-papers-yes-it-does-7738 accessed 31.3.14
2. 2013, Hawke Bob, “Former PM Bob Hawke slams ‘terrible bias’ of News Corp election coverage” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-28/hawke-joins-chorus-against-news-corp27-election-coverage/4917014 accessed 31.3.14
3. Werner A. Meier “Media Ownership- Does it matter?” http://lirne.net/resources/netknowledge/meier.pdf accessed 31.3.14