A fairer world - The Tasmanian Center for Global Learning

Did you know?
  • The average Australian spends over three hours a day watching television and an hour and a half surfing the internet.*
  • In 2010, 37% of American internet users contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.*
  • In the Asia and Oceania region, women make up only 13% of those in senior management positions in the media.*
  • Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 typically send or receive 50 text messages per day and nearly a third of young adults prefer getting a text message to talking on the phone.*

The myth of the liberal media (2006, 5.33m): Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky discuss “the manner in which the news media are so subordinated to corporate and conservative interests”.

How cybersmart are you? (2011, 4.59m): An Australian Government guide to keeping children safe online.

Mainstream media

News Corporation, Yahoo.com, CBS, the New York Times, the BBC. These and similar institutions deliver the world to countless millions of people. Yet, the information they provide is often biased to suit political agendas and national or corporate interests.
We live in a world where information can travel around the world at the speed of light. Unfortunately, the same is true for disinformation. Those of us who have internet access have the opportunity to browse hundreds of different media outlets from around the world, at the click of a mouse. However, the challenge is to find an alternative viewpoint, let alone one that we can verify is trustworthy. Increasingly social media is becoming a significant part of the overall media mix.
Stories that circulate as ‘news’ often originate from a single source, despite the apparent diversity of the media in which they appear. It is not unusual to find the same stories – sometimes repeated word for word – appearing in media outlets in the United States, New Zealand, India and Japan.
Australia’s media ownership is more highly concentrated than most other Western countries with 86% of newspaper sales in the hands of just two companies.

Accessing the mainstream media

  • Kidon Media is a good portal for accessing Australian and worldwide newspapers and other media.
  • Australian Aboriginal newspaper resources are listed on the Creative Spirits site.
  • Radio-locator lists international radio stations.

Voices for media integrity

There are a number of organisations around the world that are actively trying to raise public awareness and foster a more critical assessment of media output.
  • A Centre for Policy Development Issue Brief provides a good overview on media ownership and regulation in Australia.

  • Australian Policy Online provides background material on public interest issues including the “culture and communications” sector.

  • The Australian Press Council promotes media standards, community access and freedom of expression relative to the newspaper and magazine industry. They are also the body to whom complaints about the media can be made.
  • Mediawatch is an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television program that questions and evaluates the Australian media. Their website includes access to past programs and a blog.

  • World-Newspapers has a list of, (primarily American), media criticism and research sites.

  • Media Watch is an American site that challenges “abusive stereotypes and other biased information commonly found in the media.”

  • Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting seeks to offer well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship in the United States. Their comments are quite relevant to other parts of the world because of the pervasive influence of the American media.

  • Freepress is an American site which contains a broad overview of the problems associated with the mainstream media. The site encourages individual activism and provides toolkits for creating change.

  • “As the media watches the world, we watch the media.” The Media Channel seeks to encourage media responsibility.
  • Media Lens and Spinwatch report on media bias and propaganda in the United Kingdom.

  • Reporters Without Borders fights against censorship and for freedom of information. It also acts to assist and protect journalists.

Women and children and 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.
  • Media Report to Women monitors the depiction of women and women’s issues in all forms of the media.
  • Women are underrepresented in the world’s media; the International Women’s Media Foundation encourages, trains and protects women in journalism.

  • Based in Ghana, Women, Media and Change is an another example of an agency which is trying to improve the place of women in society by increasing their presence in the media.

  • The Australian Government has a children’s online safety site called Cybersmart and also an Easy Guide to Socialising Online which provides cyber safety information for social networking sites, search engines and online games.

  • The Australian Council on Children and the Media seeks to improve the media environment for Australian children, encourages their activism and provides useful background materials and links.

  • Canada’s Media Smarts helps children and youth to develop the “critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.”

  • The International Clearing House on Children, Youth and Media consolidates data on research and relevant organisations around the world.

  • Children Now is an American body which does research on the impact of media on children, (and other childhood issues), and actively fosters appropriate national policies.