Every year the process of media concentration is increasing and with it comes growing concern for the impact on media quality, pluralism and diversity.
Public concern about corporate and political dominance over media and information services is greater than ever. Confidence among readers, viewers, listeners and users of information is low and there is an increasing perception that journalism is failing to carry out its watchdog role in society because of the vested interests that drive the media business. Not surprisingly, politicians are worried, too. The media concentration process has paralysed policy makers and it is time to stimulate fresh debate and prepare concrete actions to confront the challenge of corporate power in mass media.
There are many political and private threats to public service broadcasting. One of the main issues includes limited finances which hold broadcasters back in competing against massive resources that large global media groups can draw on to develop programming, acquire sports rights or launch new subscription and pay-per-view channels.
That private media conconglomerates are only in the hands of a few powerful global media groups adds further difficulties. Their size allows them to take control of the expanding media and leisure market spanning film, television, book publishing, music, new online media, theme parks, sport, the print media and even the theatre. Deregulation has boosted both the commercial power of global corporations, but it also gives them political power. They are currently demanding even greater relaxation of rules on media ownership, spending enormous sums on political donations while lobbying key politicians.
Often governments of developed countries enact legislation that speed up the process of media concentration. The threats to diversity and plurality in our media have never been greater, and there will also be a damaging impact on the range and quality of the work that journalists produce.