Living in a world as influential as the 21st century, consumers are programmed to believe what they hear and see in terms of mass media consumption. Therefore, it is crucial to understand who is controlling the media outlets we are exposed to.
To break it down, there are 6 key stakeholders in ownership of mass media in Australia, these are; The Murdochs (Rupert and Lachlan) who own a large number of newspapers and shareholdings in Nova and Network Ten, Fairfax who own a large number of newspapers also, Kerry Stokes, a major shareholder in Channel Seven, James Packer owning a substantial share in Network Ten, the Gordons (Bruce and Andrew) who own a number of regional television networks and Gina Rinehart who holds stakes in Fairfax and Network Ten.
As there a few key stakeholders contributing to media ownership in Australia, these entrepreneurs are monopolising the Australian media marketplace therefore exposing society to only a limited perspective, and allowing these key influential power players to persuade society to view current affairs from their perspective.
This is where the Australian Communications and Media Authority come into practice. The ownership and control rules in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA) regulate concentration of control within broadcasting licence areas and across different media. This Act was imposed to generate a diversity of views with the market and across varying sectors. But is this really the case?
‘Mr Murdoch is entitled to his own view… he owns 70% of the newspapers in this country’ – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
This quote that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had said during a press conference in 2013 is factually incorrect, but does arise the issue of a small minority having power over what information is being portrayed to society. This will therefore see a rise in significantly common ‘news’ stories being addressed to society, and a glacial change in the views of social and political issues within society as a whole.