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How Media Control and Ownership Affect Mainstream Media

Mergers and media conglomerates are the by-products of globalization... 

There are some places in the world wherein large corporations are both owners of media stations and other companies with diverse interest.  The idea of influential corporations that own media stations is not that awful if transparency and rigor are observed in all the decisions that involve the media management.  However, most of the time,  large and powerful concentrations of ownership may influence how mainstream media operate. 

But what are some of the disadvantages of mergers and media conglomerates?

. Media Outlet and Corporate Interests
A reality that  may present an adverse influence with regards to media control is when media establishments survive only on advertising fees.  This may lead to the media outlet being affected by corporate interests.  A company that employs the specific media outlet for advertising its products may tend to receive a diverse treatment from the said media outlet because of their economic dependence on them.  Most often, this may affect what is covered and not covered by the media outlet.  For example, when a negative issue that involves a corporation (which is  an important advertising client of the media outlet)  arises, the media outlet in question may tend to “treat” the news in a different manner.  News or issues could end up being biased in order to “protect” the interest of the big and powerful client.

. Interlocking Directorate and Media Control
An interlocking directorate is also an important aspect to consider in relation to media control.  Interlocking appears when a directory of one company sits in a board of another company.   Powerful media corporations often share members of the board of directors with an assortment of other companies like investment companies, real estates, banks, etc. This 
situation may lead to conflict of interests that (eventually and inevitably) is reflected on how the media operate and decide on certain issues.  Furthermore, this situation may likewise affect and sometimes mine the editorial independence of the media outlet.   

. Vertical Integration and Media Decisions
Vertical integration is another concern that can influence all aspects of media decisions.  Vertical integration happens when large media companies have, at the same time, operations and businesses across other industries and verticals.  This can be in the form of distribution networks or retailing. While this is profitable for that specific media company,  the range of news and issues being covered or discussed in the media outlet may be limited and tendentious. This is because the media outlet do not have the interest to cover news that may involve competitors. 

. Censorship and Media Management
I think that the greatest influence that media conglomerates can have on media management is about censorship. This may happen in the form of direct and forthright interference on the political and social ideologies contained in news, magazine articles, movies, even in TV and radio programmes. But most often, this sort of intrusion is done in a subtle level.  Journalists and subordinates learn the habit of following the political and social ideas of the owner.  But whether it is a direct interference or a subtle one, the result is just the same: the media audience are fed with a deformed reality and scanty ideas and opinions. 

As a conclusion, I think that mergers and media conglomerates are one of the by-products of globalization.  Although objectionable for its influence on media management,  it is impossible to stop the merging of huge corporations, the concentration of ownership  and their control over outlets of expression.  For this reason, media users should always bear in mind that a lot of factors are involved on how certain issues are covered and treated by media outlets.  And as a consequence, media’s definition of reality is likely to be angled and tendentious.


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