independence – self-determination – autonomy

A Toxic Media Concentration

The debate about the media in Scotland tends to get reduced to a discussion about broadcast bias or anti-Scottish or anti-independence reporting, all of which are a massive problem. But – as we’ve been arguing for years – the problem is far deeper. It’s not just tax-dodging Press Barons that are distorting democracy it’s the concentration of power and the unabated right-wing messaging that drowns out diversity.

This is a toxic media concentration in which just three companies control 70% of UK newspaper circulation. Please share this post and support us if you value the alternative media.

Read this massive new report from the Media Reform Coalition ‘Who Owns the UK Media?’ They ask: “What does it mean to have a ‘free’ media when the nation’s TV channels, news outlets, radio stations, search engines and social media platforms are owned by a handful of giant corporations?”

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9 Comments

  • Ken Waldron 1 year ago

    Anyone interested in this should sign up to "Medialens" who produce regular "alerts" on the subject:
    http://medialens.org/

    They also have a good message board where anyone can post and share on contemporary events and highlight media inaccuracies and false narrative:
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/

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  • 1314 1 year ago

    A long time ago I remember reading that if you invaded a country the first thing to do was to gain control of broadcasting.

    In the 80's, I think, a certain person who now owns newspapers, TV channels etc and yet is unable to pronounce his own name correctly, said 'by the year 2000 their will be 10 people in control of the world's media - and I want to be one of them'. He should have been locked up then - at the very least for his own good.

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  • Astragael 1 year ago

    The report is interesting but its data appear to be drawn from two main sources : Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for 'national' coverage ; and MediaTel for 'local' coverage.

    In the report

    "National newspapers are defined ... as those classified as national by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, but not including those that have an area of focus smaller than the UK. Therefore, national newspapers in Scotland …. are not included…" [p4 footnote 1]

    but neither, apparently, are Scottish papers included as 'local papers':

    ‘National’ regional papers, such as those serving Scotland …. in [its] entirety, were not included [as 'local newspapers'] [p 8]

    It goes on to say, in respect of daily 'local' papers that

    "… the MediaTel designation of ‘national’ newspapers disqualified a number of titles [as daily local papers]" and that "Scottish national newspapers serving a population of over 5 million people, were not counted. In the MediaTel database, Scottish ‘national’ daily newspapers included: The Herald, Daily Record, and Scotsman. For the wider analysis of local newspapers, national Sunday papers – the Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald, Sunday Post and Sunday Mail were not included." [pp 21-22]

    If nothing else, this seems to demonstrate once again the difficulties faced by bodies based south of the border in comprehending the phenomenon that is Scotland.

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  • Douglas MacPhail 1 year ago

    Astragal wrote:

    "If nothing else, this seems to demonstrate once again the difficulties faced by bodies based south of the border in comprehending the phenomenon that is Scotland"

    I think it's simpler than that:

    "If nothing else, this demonstrates that bodies based south of the border have no interest in Scotland and will attribute statistics solely derived from England upon Scotland"

    People living in Scotland have failed to grasp how unconcerned England is about our affairs except when they thought we were going to leave.

    England is britain and britain is England. This too is how the rest of the world sees things, in fact I'd proffer that more people world wide could tell you about England rather than britain.

    England increasingly has and 1, 2 & 3 red generation immigrant and foreign born population greater than that of Scotland's population. uk government, uk media and uk broadcasting are reflecting this and Scotland is not a distinct priority, we will get whatever they decide.

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  • Greatbighoo 1 year ago

    "it’s the concentration of power and the unabated right-wing messaging that drowns out diversity."

    If (to use this parlance) as many people were interested in left-wing messaging, then the left-wing media would be of a similar size and power as teh 'right-wing' media.

    But it isn't. What does that tell you?

    (Rash prediction: You will say it tells us how 'brainwashed' people are and how incapable people are of making their own choices and making up their own minds).

    It tells us that maybe hardly anyone is interested in left-wing messages.

    “What does it mean to have a ‘free’ media when the nation’s TV channels, news outlets, radio stations, search engines and social media platforms are owned by a handful of giant corporations?”

    It means they are not owned by the State, which is an infinitely preferable situation to the media being owned by the State.

    You are absolutely free to use the Internet the spread your left-wing messages at minimal cost (as opposed to 'the mainstream media' etc.) and I support and celebrate that diversity, man.

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    • Kenny 1 year ago

      That's not necessarily true though, is it? If you assume that editorial policy is at least "guided" by the ownership of very rich, transnational white men, you can reasonably assume that there will be a distinct skewing towards more conservative, less progressive political ideas. When politicians choose to play into that (as New Labour did so enthusiastically) then alternative voices get closed down pretty completely. I'm not sure a free market solution is the right way to look at a problem that has complex causes like the massive entry costs for a new newspaper (establishing correspondents in important places, attracting advertising for the first issues, printing and distribution, predicting appropriate print runs etc.), the ability of others (notably News Corp) to assume loss-leading predatory pricing to squeeze out a competitor, the problem (in Scotland) of newspapers (whether new or old) not being a part of the "national" media discussions on things the The Papers or the Andrew Marr Show and so on.

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  • Ken Waldron 1 year ago

    Greatbighoo ...(Rash prediction: You will say it tells us how ‘brainwashed’ people are and how incapable people are of making their own choices and making up their own minds)

    People can only make up their minds on information presented. If that information is flawed skewered or partial then they obviously will make wrong decisions or come to hold mistaken views on a subject. The whole purpose of advertising, public relations and propaganda is to influence the decisions and views of the public. Governments and Corporations spend billions on skewing the views of the public to suit their agenda using the media because they know it works.
    It's lovely that you live in bubbleworld where no such things happen and supply merely reflects demand.

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  • C Rober 1 year ago

    So is the politician the whore of the rich media owner , or the reverse , in where one hand washes the other.

    There is a reason why Murdoch is a self proclaimed king maker , and of course why SNP did a wide berth.

    Mediacorp was all too eager to get into bed with Nulabour pre 95 , and the feeling was mutual. Snp are doing something similar with their "believers" , spouse and family members trying to infiltrate the old world media.

    During the late 80s onward the new class of infiltrator was born , editors , reporters and sub editors of the red tops , to counter of course the black tops of the Tories.

    To say it was to redress bias and the establishment of the autobiographers of the time are wrong , it was fight fire with fire , something that the SNP have still to do , even with the "national" , as the majority of Scots still read the red tops , with their pro Uk stance.

    The circulation of papers is on the decline , more and more get their news free online , but we still have the centralized news direction of or by the rich , evident when all papers do the same stories , and all live tv news is the same. I liken it to the wizard of oz , all is well as long as one doesn't peer behind the curtain.

    Wealth is created or protected by the wealthy , on the backs of the worker or poor , so it is in both the politicians and media owners best interests to be looking out for one another , much evident when there was no real outcome of the NOTW and phone hacking.

    Media is the weapon of choice , from Newspapers , tv news to all Tv programming , all made to subdue the masses , including soaps and any show with dial in voting - verging on a religious cult worshiping z list celebs eating kangaroo anuses or is it anusi?

    The new war on the people is something truly Orwellian , take downs of the internet via a cobra declaration , mobile phone masts instant off , and social networking all are now firmly in the sights of the politician.

    Only a short time ago the same politicians derided the use of kill switches on the Arab Spring movement in Westminster , or the way the North Koreans are kept in the dark on news outwith its borders.

    We have full and real time recording of phone calls , email , social networking , and even GHCQ laws amended to monitor the Scottish Parliament.

    The Uk is North Korea.

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    • Fearchar 1 year ago

      Not quite, but the German "Democratic" Republic (DDR), quite possibly, if not today, then soon.

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