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The word conglomeration is defined as the formation of a large company by the merging of separate and diverse small firms. Media conglomerate is a large company or corporation formed by merging of different small media outlets such as TV, radio, newspapers, and internet. Big companies tend to buy out other smaller companies in the market to increase their revenue by increasing their viewership, and to control the smaller companies’ resources. This creates media oligopoly by which few firms dominate the market.
This media conglomeration is threatening democracy because of its negative impact on audiences. Those negative effects are profit becoming the main focus of conglomerates effort, media bias, and elimination of local media. The most important negative impact of the conglomeration of media is that profit becomes the main focus of corporate effort. Ivan Fecan, CEO of CTV, says: “If we can’t make money, we have no reason to exist. ” (Mirrlees 1). This leads to reduced program quality and hyper-commercialism.
Media companies became commercially driven and loyal to their sponsors not to the public interest.
Audiences became products rather than consumers because media companies sell them to advertisers. Therefore, space for news and important information shrank to make room for advertisements. Conglomeration of media also leads to reduced quality of programs because they shift the interest of audiences to less important news such as celebrity scandals. When celebrity Anna Nicole Smith died in 2007, cable news net-works gave more coverage to her death than any other important news such as war in Iraq (Baran 38).
Bill Moyer, a journalist, says: “As conglomerates swallow up newspapers, magazines, publishing houses and broadcast outlets, news organizations are folded into entertainment divisions. The news hole in the print media shrinks to make room for ads, celebrities, nonsense and propaganda, and the news we need to know slips from sight. ” (Baran 37). The second negative impact of conglomeration of media is media bias. Due to lack of competition and diversity, people are being manipulated by few conglomerates’ opinions. Israel Asper, known as Izzy, is the founder of CanWest, the largest media conglomerate in Canada.
He is also known for his Zionist views and turned lots of Canadians against Arabs and Muslims by representing them as terrorists. In August 2003, he stated in an interview with Jerusalem Post that “In all our newspapers…we have a very pro-Israel position…we are the strongest supporter of Israel in Canada. ”(NECEF 6). When Asper bought The National Post, the paper strongly supported the state of Israel and its government. The paper also supported Israel during its conflict with Hizbo Allah in Lebanon during the year of 2006, to the extent that one of the paper’s columnists called Hizbo Allah “cockroaches. (Gross 1).
During the year of 2004, the National Post covered the deaths of Israeli children at a rate of 89. 5 times greater than the deaths of Palestinian children (NECEF 7). Also, in 2004, not a single Palestinian child’s death was captured in a National Post photo/caption (NECEF 7). The third negative impact of the conglomeration of media is the elimination of local media. By buying out smaller stations in the local market, these stations’ programs are either cut back or eliminated.
The Reporter, one of the oldest Canadian local newspapers, has been shut down after being bought by Torstar Corporation. Torstar Corporation bought the Reporter in 1999 and since then the corporation reduced the Reporter from being a daily newspaper to a free biweekly one to cut costs (Robock 1). With the closure of the Reporter in 2003, the city of Cambridge lost its oldest local news coverage source in Southern Ontario. Some criticizers claim that Torstar closed the Reporter to make room for the other more profitable daily newspapers (Robock 1).
Mirko Bibic, senior vice-president of regulatory affairs for both the network and its telecommunications parent, BCE Inc, says “We won’t continue to fund chronically unprofitable stations, tiny stations in tiny little towns. ” (Sturgeon 1) . With the closure of many local media outlets lots of employees will be left unemployed. In 2009, 1000 journalists lost their jobs in local newspapers in Northcliffe in the United Kingdome because Northcliffe Media Company lost 37% of these newspapers advertising revenue (Toynbee 1).
Also, Guardian Media Group closed 153 of its local newsroom in the same year (Toynbee 1). In conclusion, conglomeration of media needs lots of attention as it is threatening democracy in Canada. Conglomeration of media made corporations care about the business part of the media more than the ethics of the profession. Conglomeration of media also caused media bias and loss of objectivity in delivering the news to the public. Finally, conglomeration of media is the major cause of the loss of the local news in Canada. As a result, lots of media professionals are losing their jobs.
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