Who Owns The Media in Australia?

In the Australian media landscape, Fairfax and News Corp own 11 of the 12 capital city newspapers. Fairfax also owns numerous regional newspapers including Newcastle Herald and our very own Illawarra Mercury.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has control over many Australian newspapers, including The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Courier-Mail. His son Lachlan Murdoch has shares in Nova, Network Ten and various other media outlets. American beat poet Allen Ginsberg famously said “whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture”. I believe this to be particularly true when talking about Australian media. Not just culture, but also control of politics.

Rupert Murdoch has come under scrutiny many times for using his power to influence politics. Tucker 2013 cites “Numerous reports say that in the 1972 federal elections Murdoch used his newspapers to support Gough Whitlam and the Australian Labor Party. By 1975 he had turned against Whitlam over concessions for a mining operation and his request to be appointed High Commissioner to the UK”.

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Source: Keogh Cartoons

Tucker 2013 also mentions, “Murdoch’s newspapers and other Australian media became hostile towards Labor around the time of its parliamentary Caucus voting Julia Gillard into the role of leader and Prime Minister in 2010. Gillard introduced a carbon price as a first step towards a carbon trading scheme. Murdoch advocates investment in non-renewable energy sources and is a climate change denier”. If Australia had a more diverse media, it would mean that media moguls like Rupert Murdoch would be less likely to have influence over politics and the electoral process.

It is important to note that two of Australia’s major news outlets, the ABC and SBS, are owned by the federal government. The ABC has legislation which specifies it must maintain an independent national broadcasting service. It is prohibited from broadcasting advertisements during news programs to ensure it maintains independent of commercial interests. The SBS has a similar act which requires the board to maintain independence and integrity of the organisation. The fact that both these organisations are owned by the government, but legislation does not give the government power to control content or editorial policy, is a relaxing thought. The reach of the ABC and SBS is not limited to television; they also control radio stations and online news sites which have the potential to reach millions on a daily basis.

References:

Tucker, B. 2013. Truth in News Media. Available at: https://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/tag/australian-news-media-ownership/. [Accessed 01 April 16].

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Anti-Smoking Ad – CONAC (Chilean Corporation against Cancer)

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Source: Caffarena, P (2008)

In today’s media-heavy advertising world, we are no longer strangers to shocking and controversial ad campaigns. Whether print or digital media, these ads frequently use politically incorrect images to make their point. Additionally, in most of the extreme examples of controversial ads, companies use children to get their messages across. This raises an ethical question itself, whether it’s right to use children in advertising. Some people would agree that these kids don’t know what is happening at such a young age and have to live the rest of their lives as the poster child for a controversial ad campaign. The reason behind most advertisements is to make a point, and sometimes incorporating harsh images prove to be an effective method. Also, including children often appeals to the audience’s emotional tendencies.

CONAC, or the Chilean Corporation against Cancer, featured this advertisement in their campaign ‘Smoking is Murder’ released in 2008. CONCAC is a non-profit organisation designed to serve the community through education and research into treatment of cancer. In 2008, it was estimated that 22,000 people died from a type of cancer in Chile. The author of this poster is saying that second hand smoke is affecting people around the smoker, including children. The tagline, “Smoking isn’t just suicide, its murder” is a very severe statement, especially featured with the image of a young child suffocating.

The reason behind controversy in this particular advertisement arises from the child looking extremely distraught, suffocating from a cloud of smoke resembling a plastic bag. This would be particularly effective in appealing to emotional tendencies of parents as it is common knowledge that children can often choke on plastic. The smoke in the image, representing a bag, surrounds the child’s head, causing him to not breathe. The black background can suggest a lot of things; perhaps the dark themes and sorrow of cancer and other diseases. However, I believe the black background is used to focus attention solely on the child’s harrowing facial expression. The black and white contrast, the white being the child’s face, also emphasises the proposed effects of second hand smoking.

At the end of the day, I believe CONAC wants to make the point that people have the right to destroy their own body with smoking, but smoking also affects surrounding people who inhale the toxins, including children. CONAC wants people to stop smoking for the sake of other people.

 

References:

Paulino Caffarena, (2008), Smoking isn’t just suicide. It’s murder. [ONLINE]. Available at:http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/conac_chilean_corporation_against_cancer_blonde %5BAccessed 19 March 16].

Social Media Anxieties

Social media has become an essential part of human life. Most of us have grown up with computers, mobile phones, etc. and couldn’t function properly without social applications such as Facebook. For most of us, Facebook has become a key part of how we interact with one another. We use it to message friends, share our thoughts, organise events, and keep up to date with our favourite musicians. As the years progress, we are introduced to a greater excess of social media platforms that become a part of everyday life.

Posting pictures online has become an important part of life and sometimes warps our sense of reality. Social media has become a tool for flaunting glamorous life styles that may not be entirely honest. Recent studies find that social media is causing anxiety, especially in younger generations. Moseley 2015 writes about a study which “found half of all teens feel anxious about missing out when they see what others post online. The findings come just days after a young girl with more than half a million Instagram followers quit the site because she felt her staged shots were making other kids feel bad”. This is an example of how social media can cause people to feel self-conscious. Social media accounts based on superficial things like body image and money almost always have negative effects on an audience.

Cyberbullying has been a prominent issue with younger generations using social media. Some media outlets claim that without the internet, bullies would not have the ability to target victims beyond school gates. Bowden 2016 claims “A potent mix of cyberbullying, increased anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation are increasingly linked to mental illness in children”.

Social media addiction is also an issue that has been raised. Elgan 2015 writes “social networking is engineered to be as habit-forming as crack cocaine”.  The article compares Facebook notifications to click-bait advertising in the sense that when you get a notification, it forces you to interact with the site and become dependent on it. Elgan argues that “Seeing a red “3” on the Facebook notifications bar is like a clickbait headline: “You won’t believe what three people have said about you.” You’ve got to click or tap. It’s compulsive. And over time, it becomes addictive”.

Social media can be used for both good and bad things. It is easy to become addicted and be prone to taking things too seriously – like the way other people represent themselves online. But if you’re smart about the way you use sites like Facebook, you’ll be okay.

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References:

Bowden, G. 2016. The Huffington Post UK. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/12/social-media-affects-child-mental-health_n_9202460.html. [Accessed 10 March 16].

Elgan, M. 2015. Computerworld. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3014439/internet/social-media-addiction-is-a-bigger-problem-than-you-think.html. [Accessed 10 March 16].

Moseley, A. 2015. ABC News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s4349664.htm. [Accessed 10 March 16].