Being shown only one side of the story poses a huge threat to Australian democracy.
Media ownership has become exponentially concentrated, with the majority of our media outlets under the control of just two corporations: News Corp and Nine Entertainment. Of the two, Murdoch’s News Corp owns 59% of our nation’s key print markets— up from 25% in 1984 (GetUp!, 2021), blanketing Australian society under the excessive influence of a media monopoly.
When one or two corporations own the majority of a nation’s news outlets—they then have excessive influence over what that nation collectively reads, hears sees and thinks.
Image: News Corp giving Kevin Rudd identical coverage across all its newspapers (The Guardian)
In recent events, former prime minister Kevin Rudd launched a petition to establish a royal commission into Australia’s media diversity that attracted more than half a million signatures and began a Senate Inquiry into the current state of media in the country and Murdoch’s sweeping influence (RMIT ABC Fact Check). Rudd, along with the support of ex-prime minister Malcom Turnbull, have been utilising New Media to wage an awareness campaign against the News Corp media monopoly.
New Media Revolution
The New Media Revolution and the advent of social media has dramatically transformed the news landscape and the ways in which people consciously or unconsciously source information to form opinions on the world around them.
Websites and social media as tools for public information sharing are a double-edged sword—arming the people with a powerful way to subvert the mainstream media monopoly, while simultaneously furthering the already expansive reach of the media monopoly and risking the spread of misinformation. Media that saturates us with inaccurate information or only one side of the story undermines our ability to make informed autonomous choices, such as which political party we choose to vote for, and raises serious issues for democratic discourse (Owen, 2018).
Power can be returned to the people through drawing awareness to the extent of media bias and encouraging careful and considerate critical thinking when forming opinions; to look at not only one side of the story.