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Game of Thrones – Who’s King of Australian Media?

Forget Lannisters, Starks and Targaryens – we’ve got Rineharts, Packers and Murdochs battling to claim every slice of media they can and come out on top in the fight for the Australian media throne.  Simply put, the media industries are becoming more and more powerful; as we see an increase in channels of information, there is a steady decrease in the number of media owners.

Some of the largest players in the game are:

  • Gina Rinehart  (Ten; Fairfax)
  • Kerry Stokes (Channel 7; Foxtel)
  • Bruce Gordon (Win TV; Channel Ten)
  • James Packer (Ten; Foxtel)
  • John Singleton (Macquarie Radio Network)
  • Rupert Murdoch (News Limited)

The result of this?  A big tangled web of who-owns-what. {1}

How much does it matter though, who owns the media?  Isn’t the content going to be the same regardless?  Well, not quite.

These influential figures in our media have the power to shape and change what information we receive, and pass it through a filter of their own opinions.  This way, these “media moguls” can impose their beliefs and ideas on others if they wish to.  Rupert Murdoch for example, as a climate change denier, did not allow any publishing of works that endorsed the idea of climate change.

This kind of censoring and doctoring of information raises questions of integrity – can we trust any media to be unbiased?  These kinds of anxieties about industries and the truthfulness of media are only reinforced by the scary extremes we see pictured in novels and movies.  The “Big Brother” figure in George Orwell’s 1984, the “brave new world” in Aldous Huxley’s novel, and modern young adult movies and books reference it again and again; the media is a tool of those in power.

Scarily enough, these extremes are not farfetched – North Korea in particular is a real life example of media control, and is commonly known to restrict and filter the masses’ access to media and information.  All newspapers are owned by the state, and Korean Central Television, the country’s state-run TV channel, runs news programmes and documentaries praising both Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung. {2}

While Australia’s access to the media is nowhere near as controlled as that of North Korea, the dwindling number of media industries with a stake in Australian media can be seen as alarming.  If Rupert Murdoch owned all, for example, would discussion about climate change be non-existent?  You be the judge.

Brooke xx


[1] http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/media-ownership/media-interest-snapshot.jpg

{2} http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-16255126

 

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7 thoughts on “Game of Thrones – Who’s King of Australian Media?”

  1. Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog! Juxtaposing Game of Thrones with the Australian media is great, it was seriously funny but really highlights the cut-throat rivalries between those in control of the Australian media industry. It has expressed the really significant issue in this monopolising set-up, that the agenda’s of individuals can influence the content of news. The use of the climate change example with Rupert Murdoch was especially interesting in representing the issue. North Korea certainly does embody extreme’s of media propaganda; however, as it is a state that has isolated and alienated itself from the rest of the world one could hope it would not be seen in other countries (probably to farfetched for Australia). I absolutely agree that an individual in control of ALL media would be disastrous for any sort of objective dissemination of current affairs through the media. 🙂

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  2. Hey Brooke! First of all, I’m a sucker for Game of Thrones references so you had me straight away with that one. But fantastic television shows aside, the fact that you referred media ownership to Game of Thrones helped to heighten my understanding of how large the scope of media ownership is in Australia with the limited number of players in the game. It was really informative that you spoke about the very controlled media in North Korea, as it stresses how important media owned by multiple platforms is. Your blog post left me a lot to think about

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  3. Hey this was a really interesting read! It’s so difficult to trust what you read from certain media sites when you know that they’re most likely controlled articles proof read by rich, white, right wing media giants. It’s so crazy to think about how we probably aren’t even that far off living in a society like what Orwell ‘predicted’ in 1984. Really informative graph/ picture thing too especially useful when wanting to know more about the Australian media circus, so often I find myself reading about America’s corporations but this is so much more relevant. Nice work!

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  4. I really love the structure of this blog post. It clean, crisp and straight to the point. It was a great read with concepts which have obviously been developed with time and effort. The comparison to North Korea’s media control and if Rupert Murdoch controlled Australia’s media completely is very clever. It allows the audience to think about how true that final statement is. Inviting the audience to think about your blog post is also a very clever way of creating interest in future blog posts. I believe that it was a great read and i really look forward to reading more of your posts in the near future.

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  5. Hey, loved your post! The intro was so cute, love the analogy that you used. It’s so interesting thinking about the effects that the media has on societies and their politics. The points you discussed were really good! I feel like Orwell was really onto something, maybe that book was a warning! I love John Street’s book, Mass Media, Politics & Democracy, he goes in depth about media effects and just how censored our content can be! From reading your blog, I think you’d get a kick out of it too 😉

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  6. Hi Brooke,
    Love the analogy, makes it instantly engaging and enjoyable to read throughout! The dystopia angle is interesting too, as while Orwell depicted a society oppressed to the extreme, ours is also undoubtedly controlled by a select few individuals – more similarities than we care to admit! The only thing I would maybe say is to add some of your own experience with the media? Clearly you have a well informed perspective and I think it could add an extra component to speak from personal experience. Otherwise I loved it, and will be back for more 🙂

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