A fairer world - The Tasmanian Center for Global Learning

Did you know?
  • In Australia, two companies have control of about 90% of the capital city and national newspaper markets.*
  • It is estimated, that in the United States, television alone is responsible for 10% of youth violence.*
  • The average American child while watching TV will see more than 20,000 commercials each year and will have watched about 8,000 murders by the time they finish grade school.*

Mainstream media

The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly.
Noam Chomsky

The mainstream media influences all of our lives and yet it is controlled by a relatively few people. Generally, these are either political leaderships pushing particular ideologies or corporate boards driven by economic gain. Motivated by self-interest, they show little concern for the very real information needs of their captive audiences. They often fail to provide a balanced and well researched viewpoint, choosing instead to offer dogma, distraction-based “entertainment” or thinly disguised advertising.

Dissenting voices struggle to be heard because of their limited access to the mainstream media. This situation has started to change with the growth of the Internet. It is now possible for individuals or groups to make their protests heard and to find or build communities of support. As a consequence, there has been a rising call for responsibility in the media, demanding broader ownership, more diligent and balanced reporting and freedom from political and profit-based influences on content.

Accessing the mainstream media

These sites provide online access to mainstream newspapers, radio and other media.
  • Newspapers.com will take you to websites for international newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Kidon Media is a good portal for newspapers and the news media worldwide. The Global News Index of the Media Channel is an option for finding sources for moderate "independent" news.

  • australianpolitics.com provides quite a good listing of Australian news and media links.

  • Web-Radio lists radio sites worldwide.

Seeking a just media

As mainstream media ownership falls into fewer and fewer hands, there is often a growing rationalisation of the “product” which can lead to increased bias and a lowering of standards. Politics and media become intermingled and the user comes to be seen simply as a target for propaganda and advertising.  There are a number of organisations which are actively trying to raise public awareness and to encourage a more critical assessment of media output.
  • Free Press is an American site which contains a broad overview of the problems associated with the mainstream media. While it has an American focus, it is still useful because the majority of the global media onglomerates are based in the the United States. Their Beginner's Guide and Media Issues sections provide good background information. Znet also offers an American perspective with its Mainstream Media page. 

  • Who owns the media? A summary of the main media empires can be found at Stop Big Media.

  • Ketupa.net overviews the major media and advertising groups but places more of an emphasis on the historical context and on those companies that have a significant impact within Australia.

  • Anup Shah was concerned with the poor mainstream media coverage of international affairs and he developed the Global Issues website. This provides an interesting analysis of the mainstream media exploring areas such as corporate influence and media manipulation. 

  • Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship in the United States. Here again, their comments are quite relevant elsewhere because of the pervasive influence of the American media.

  • Media Lens and Spinwatch report on media bias and propaganda in the United Kingdom. 

  • The Media Research Service has a helpful page on "how to identify media bias".

Victims of the media

The mainstream media are generally profit-driven and their output is designed to titillate and distract their consumers. Advertising has a powerful influence upon content. Violence and stereotypes abound and this impacts most heavily upon women and the young.
  • About-Face fights for a respectful and realistic portrayal of women in the media and advertising.

  • Media Report to Women monitors the depiction of women and women’s issues in all forms of media. The article Airbrushing in Catalogs examines some of the effects of artistic techniques.

  • Advertising is a primary factor in the ongoing erosion of our mental environment. It is a powerful force which often shapes media content and lifestyle. Adbusters seeks to undermine the role of advertising in society.

  • Young people are some of the heaviest media users. Young Media Australia  and ParentFurther look at the ways in which the media impacts upon them.

  • Violence and stereotyping in the media are analysed at the Media Awareness Network.