Sunday, February 12, 2012

Media Ownership: Who owns it all?

The constant creation of new premium cable channels, online newspapers and social media websites makes it appear that there is a diverse array of media to chose from for audiences. However, growing media ownership continues to be one of the most debated unresolved issues in the media industry and its ability to create products that cater to different viewpoints. The Media Access Project, "a non-profit, public interest law firm and advocacy organization" plays an active role in addressing the Federal Communication Commission in the policies that they enforce in regards to media ownership. MAP addresses the limitations in concentrated media ownership and the many implications they have towards citizens.

To the average consumer of media, there appear to be many diverse sources through which to consume media. The continuous creation of media targeted towards niche target audiences takes away from the truth behind media ownership. Ownership regulations continue to be one of the most contested areas in media regulation. As larger companies continues to acquire smaller, independent companies across media industries, there is a concern on how well media sources will be able to cater to audiences needs. The need for 'diversity of voices' and 'localism' amongst media products is at the forefront of MAP's stance against the increasing media ownership concentration. Media ownership concentration has direct influence on what media is consumed as well as social and cultural implications for those that consume it.

I believe the hardest challenge for public support towards the MAP and owner regulations is that to audiences there are appears to be diverse content being created by media companies. The increase in what appear to be independent content, especially online, has created the perception of increasing diversity in media. However, even these so called independent media sources like YouTube soon find themselves the part of larger media conglomerates. Concentrated media ownership is one of the less evident forms of media regulation yet it strongly influences the content that we consume everyday.

Here are some current discussions revolving media ownership & its regulation by the FCC:
FCC Commissioning New Study on Audience Needs
ACLU takes a stance against lack of diversity in media ownership

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