…Only Six?

An issue most of us are unaware of is media ownership, and who is controlling what we view. What seems so diverse is far from being so. With some research and simple facts, eyes can be opened tremendously to the unfair and corrupt ways of media ownership.

Six major companies have control of the majority of the media. This leaves programming and news to be controlled by fewer companies, therefore controlling what Americans actually receive. The diversity of ownership is limited and is influenced by the major media conglomerates. For example, there are many different channels for cable television which leads one to believe there is diversity in the media, when in reality they are all owned by only three different companies [1]. Because of this consolidation a media has been created that is destined for profit, censored, and irrelevant [5].

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Another issue with the media companies is the employment standpoint. White and male get better wages and jobs in the media industry versus female and minority. Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild-CWA states that, “Women and minorities bring different viewpoints to news and entertainment that is absolutely essential to our diverse democracy. Concentration of media ownership by corporate giants exacerbates the historic under-representation of women and minorities in our media industries. Preserving and expanding diversity of media ownership is absolutely critical to growing employment for women and minorities in the media industry” [2]. Now only is it critical to growing employment in these industries, but it is important to what information and media influences are being distributed. Not only are there limited companies that have the majority of ownership in the industry, there are now limited types of people who are choosing what messages are to be seen. The media plays a critical role in forming the public ideas of minorities, and the causes of social issues, as well as solutions to these problems. A more expanded group of society having access to the media is necessary in making sure that all viewpoints and way of life are exposed and represented realistically. This is possible through equality in media ownership and employment [3].                                                         

There are many alternative media sources and organizations that stray from the major corporations, giving diverse information and equal opportunities. One is a news outlet, Axis of Logic. The staff comes from around the world with diverse backgrounds and unique experiences. Everyone involved with Axis of Logic volunteers their time, so there is no chance for unequal wages. The diversity of volunteers includes homemakers, healthcare professionals, writers, educators, and factory workers to name a few. The writings are selected based on three major criteria: How new the information is, “fresh insight into existing information” [4], and the quality and style of the writing. The wonderful thing about the unique selection of volunteers who create these news stories and writings is that it opens the door to the diverse views and experiences of everyday people. It can be relatable to anyone, and it is not controlled by a specific status. According to their website, their purpose is “to promote peace, equality, human rights and the right to self determination for all nations throughout the world” [4].

Another alternative media organization is Films For Action. Their goal is to use the powers of film to cover issues that are not shown by the mainstream news. They have over 1,500 films and videos on their website that can be viewed for free. Another goal is to connect at a community level. While their films are internationally available, they connect at a local level by screening documentaries at independent theatres and venues. Through having their recourses available they want to reduce the dependency on corporate media, thus creating better ways of being informed. Through this sharing of knowledge via their website and screenings, they want to be able to launch campaigns and movements for social, economic, and environmental justice as well as new ways of thinking. They want to inspire a change in people and the earth. They state, “It all starts with independent media” [5].

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 While media ownership seems to have a strong hold on what is around us, there is hope that it will change.  With independent media like Axis of Logic and Films For Action, there are strong fighters who are seeking that change for the better of society.  Media ownership is an issue that needs to be brought to the attention of people, so there is an awareness of this system, and a want for change.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Lamont

 

 

1. http://www.civilrights.org/media/ownership/

2. http://www.civilrights.org/publications/employment-trends/

3. http://www.civilrights.org/publications/media-ownership/

 4. http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_100.shtml 

5. http://www.filmsforaction.org/about/

 

Images

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Films-For-Action–A-Compl-by-Tim-Hjersted-120716-436.html

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