The answer is yes.
Media ownership is an extremely fundamental aspect of ensuring that media outlets present to the public the most unbiased, informed and diverse news possible. By limiting media ownership to a specific powerful figure, such as Rupert Murdoch with News Corp, this could lead to a concentration of ownership, and limits the number of available alternative media sources available to the public.
The vast majority of people across the globe get their daily dose of news from local newspapers and free-to-air television. While an informed audience will be able to look for alternative news sources from unbiased and reliable news outlets, especially online through media platforms such as Reddit and Dailydot, by having someone such as Rupert Murdoch at the helm would mean that the news published by these corporations would be greatly influenced by Murdoch’s views on sensitive issues such politics, particularly elections, who should be voted in and which party should be in power and which shouldn’t be.
And with such a huge newspaper accounting for 59% of daily newspaper sales, with over 17.3 million papers sold each week in Australia, theres no doubt that the integrity of public opinion would be compromised.
But this is old news of course.
It has been shown time and time again that having a single man leading a media conglomerate will mean that they can assert their political interests strongly on the public, without fear of persecution.
And this does not mean that the people who own the media have to maintain any significant part of responsibility regarding what happens within the media outlets they own. A classic case against media consolidation being the News International Phone Hacking Scandal where News of the World, a British tabloid had hacked into the phones of some 4,000 individuals and bribed police for information.
When Rupert Murdoch was pressed with possible allegations associated with the doings of News of the world he replied, “The News of the World is less than one percent of our company. I employ 53,000 people around the world who are proud and great and ethical and distinguished people, professionals.” So instead of admitting that his corporation was in the wrongdoing, he instead deflected any possible accusations that he was aware of any illegal actions and proceeded to shut down News of the World instead to limit fallout.
This sort of scandal really questions the ethical credibility of media conglomerates, and exposes huge issues related to concentrated media ownership.
If one man, the head of a media empire, was able to shrug off any accusations that he was implicated in a scandal within his company and was in turn able to get off scot-free, what does this say about the importance of media ownership? What will stop them from flaunting their journalistic influence, censoring what they want when they want?
Image courtesy of;
Pat Bagley 2011, Hacking Rupert, image, The Cagle Post, viewed April 16 2015 < http://politicalpackrat.blogspot.com.au/2011_07_01_archive.html#.VS88mZPvj6i
Terry Flew 2013, Factcheck: Does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia?, The Conversation, viewed April 16 2015, < http://theconversation.com/factcheck-does-murdoch-own-70-of-newspapers-in-australia-16812 >
BBC UK 2012, Q&A: News of the World phone-hacking scandal, BBC, viewed April 16 2015, < http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-11195407 >
Mary Truma, 2011, The News Corp Scandal, theragblog, viewed April 16 2015, < http://theragblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/mary-tuma-when-one-man-owns-too-much.html >
Reuters 2011, HIGHLIGHTS-Murdoch apologises, testify to being humbled, Reuters US, viewed April 16 2015, < http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/19/newscorp-idUSL6E7IJ1NB20110719 >
James Robinson 2011, News of the World to close as Rupert Murdoch acts to limit fallout, theguardian, viewed April 16 2015, < http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jul/07/news-of-the-world-rupert-murdoch >