A research conducted at the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows the influence of media magnates, or major shareholders of media corporations, to editorial freedom. Politics lecturer Dr. Chris Hanretty investigated the influence wielded by owners in over 200 print and broadcast media outlets in 32 European countries including France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and United Kingdom.

Views on Editorial Freedom

His investigation showed that this influence is more evident in media outlets where voting and decision-making are made by individuals or families rather than corporate owners. Groups which have only domestic titles are also more likely to exercise more power and wield influence than groups that have ownership and titles across different countries.

Dr Hanretty and Editorial Freedom

Dr. Hanretty says that the results of this investigation are important to regulators and policy-makers. If the focus of scrutiny by regulators is on concentration of ownership in media outlets, equal interest must also be given to the identity and type of the ultimate owners to determine their tendency to influence media. The study differentiates how the types of owners behave differently in terms of exerting their influence and compromising media independence.

Policy-makers often put up regulations to hinder or to discourage ownership by corporate groups operating internationally, and this is not wise because these groups are the equalizers. Their presence was found to reduce owner influence.

 

Reference:

University of East Anglia. “Research reveals influence of media moguls.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2013. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135345.htm