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Apr 6, 2010   #1

Debate is rife whether the Media whose primary role is to inform, is gradually evolving to become the New Age dictator in all aspects of our lives. Journalism ethics have been shoved aside for commercial gains, whereas it is believed that the Media's main objective in the market-place is to service democracy.

Killing Competition

As our trusted source of providing information and entertainment, the Media holds the power to shape public opinion. In recent times the Media has abdicated its role of educating us and is today focused entirely on improving their profits. Big Media companies in their quest for larger audiences and super profits have turned to buying out small independent media firms. This Consolidation is crudely strangling upstart Media companies and undermines democracy through limiting sources of disseminating information.

According to Ted Turner in his article; My Beef With Big Media, appearing in the 2004 July/August issue of The Washington monthly ''When you lose small business, you lose big ideas''. Consolidation limits competition as new promising upstarts are swallowed up. A dangerous precedent indeed as whatever appears or does not appear on screen and print is thus determined by the profit aspirations and political intrigues of large media conglomerates.

Sensational Sells

Sensationalism is also slowly killing quality reporting as the modern scribe, substitute's substance for impact. In a speech about his tenure as Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair spoke disapprovingly over News Sensationalism, '' the changing context in which communication takes place in the 21st century has led to a more intense form of competition, the result is a media that increasingly and to a dangerous degree is driven by 'Impact'. Impact is what matters. Impact gives competitive edge. Of course the accuracy of a story counts, but it is secondary to Impact'' (Blair 2007).

Market-driven Journalism has put pressure on News Makers who have opted to use Sensationalism as a means to attract attention of their audience. Eager and engrossed viewers or readers are a financial miracle as they attract advertisers. The focus on what is shocking and discarding that which informs and entertains, can only be termed as a disservice to democracy and an abuse of Power by the Media. Tyranny is simply; -unfair or cruel use of power or authority.

Internet: A Check on Big Media

The advent of the internet seems to have aroused hopes of putting a check on Big Media from becoming the Dictatorial Big Brother. Blogs are now whispered to be the new ''Fifth Estate'' and most are even quoted by the mainstream Media as sources of information. But, our sighs of relief can only be short lived for; as a once Media Mogul Ted Turner pointed out - ''the top 20 internet new sites are owned by the same media conglomerates that control the broadcast and cable networks''.

The importance of a free press in democracy should not overshadow our quest for responsible journalism. The media's power to sway public opinion through published opinion should be ethical and in tandem with our democratic ideals. Mainstream media should be subjected to checks and balances lest it evolves to become, the New Age Global tyrant.