Friday, October 9, 2009

Analysis Question #2 - Global Governance

As McChesney illustrates, the global media “system is dominated by fewer then ten global TNCs, with another four or five dozen firms filling out regional and niche markets.” Should we be concerned that so much power is held by only a few entities? Absolutely. With conglomerates controlling the content of information distributed to the public, we as consumers are not always getting unbiased, unfiltered, objective information. The information that we do receive is subject to the whims of the corporate conglomerates that produce the information in a manner which is beneficial to their bottom line, as well as the bottom lines of their sponsors. McChesney describes the global media system as “one that advances corporate and commercial interests and values, and denigrates or ignores that which cannot be incorporated into its mission.” Nation-states indeed must consider revising the global governance of media systems in order to increase the diversity of information that is produced. The current global governance system does not encourage media companies to produce information that would be considered critical of their parent company. Therefore, how can we rely on them to adequately and objectively inform the public of diverse views.

There needs to be strong national governance over the media systems. This is necessary in order to ensure that the public sphere allows for discourse on public issues without the influence of media conglomerates that have their own agendas. In the reading “Global Governance,” the authors(Siochru, Girard & Mahan) explain that the public sphere provides “diversity in media content” where voices that are disinterested in sectional interest and more concerned with transparent and open communication and debate can express themselves on matters of common concern. A functioning public sphere is essential for democracy, however the current global governance systems does not allow for this. With media conglomerates dominating the information that we consume, we are not exposed to a diversity of ideas, but rather, we are exposed to information that highlights what is in their best interests.

The authors of “Global Governance” explain that plurality encourages “a multiplicity of different types of media, offering people different avenues for media participation and reaching different audiences with a variety of range and depth of content.” However, what good are these various sources if they are all being controlled by one entity. Just because there are many different media outlets does not mean there are a diversity of opinions being expressed through these channels. It just means that a singular opinion is being expressed through multiple channels. In fact, the increase of media offerings is perhaps more dangerous to the public sphere because it gives the guise that diverse opinions are being expressed, when in fact this is not the case.

With more national governance, we will be more likely to receive information that would allow for uninfluenced public discussion without the interference of corporate interests. The public sphere is necessary for democracy, and it will only work properly if the media stops functioning as a tool of corporate interests and is governed on a national level.

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