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MURDOCHISTAN. Our media is more concentrated than ever

Government cuts to our ABC will reach a cumulative total of more than $1 billion by 2024, according to a new study of media and its ownership in Australia.

It shows that total funding lost each year by the ABC will reach $638 million this year and just over $1 billion by 2023-24, in the absence of any additional funding.

The report, commissioned by GetUp also looks into the concentration of media ownership in Australia, and the results are alarming.

Written by Sydney University Associate Professor of Communications, Benedetta Brevini, and PhD candidate Michael Ward, the paper is entitled “Who Controls our Media? Exposing the Impact of Media Concentration on our Democracy.”

Key take-home messages from the report also include:

The vast majority of Australia’s media power sits with two media corporations – News Corp and Nine Entertainment – giving them excessive political and ideological influence. 

News Corp is the unchallenged dominant player in almost every media market. Their power extends into digital news, radio, and television, adding up to a dangerous amount. 

Deregulation of media ownership has been designed to serve major media moguls. Australia’s very last controls on excessive media ownership were removed in 2017 after years of lobbying by powerful media executives. 

The recent News Bargaining Code will only make media concentration worse. The Code was designed to increase the economic power of major corporations like News Corp, leaving smaller media companies struggling to compete. 

It’s extremely difficult to find out who owns and controls our media. A systematic lack of transparency plagues our media sector, making critical information about who owns and controls the media extremely difficult to access. This makes it even harder to hold owners of media corporations to account for their actions. 

READ A REPORT FROM MICHAEL WEST MEDIA

The report also makes some recommendations:

Enhancing the legislative scope and authority of the Australian Communications and Media Authority

An overhaul of media regulation changes that have effectively entrenched media concentration

Reintroducing caps on media ownership in geographical markets

Increasing public investment in news journalism

READ THE FULL REPORT

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