Media Ethics In Professional Journalism: Media Monopoly – Essay
By Prof. Dr. Sabahudin Hadzialic
Media Giants And Ethics
Six mutually connected tendencies precisely describe the world of mass media at the beginning of XXI Century:
- Attrition of media
- Division of public
- Distribution of the products across the boundaries of the media
- Creation of conglomerates
- Digital convergence
Logically, a giant is one who would like to control everything, who is bigger than others and according to that should be behaved – ethics is questionable and is under the pressure of the market.
Democratic political processes are in danger when small number of media firms controls production, distribution and exposure.
Critics, like Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky (his famous and excellent point of view reflected in 10 Strategies Of Manipulations By The Media are very well known which I have also analyzed through the series of essays in Eurasia Review, back in 2015) claim that politicians desperately want to have support from the media, especially during the election campaign, and for that reason politician they often closely cooperate with media firms, because they are afraid that their presence, without that exposure, would be much more modest without it.
Politicians think that informative parts of big conglomerates will not pay enough attention to the Draft of the Laws which are within their interest. That makes it possible for the politicians, as critics underlined, to less take care about general social interest than it would be the case if those businesses would be in the center of attentions of the media.
Defenders of most media claims, as opposite to above, that there is any of kind of deflection from the journalistic responsibility. In contrary, critics claim, that there are and that always will be. As a matter of fact, in countries where democracy is still fragile, media conglomerates can even have more make influence on political processes (example-Former European Eastern countries). That kind of power, as critics underlined, seriously can jeopardize the rule of law.
Globalization And Morality
Ethically, globalization is very questionable within the moral point of view. As a matter of fact, we have, through globalization, or shall I say neo-liberalism, already established conflict between domestic ethics and foreign ethics point of view (read USA). No, I do not want to say that one system of ethics is better than another, because there are general ethical issues which has to be equal at Ghana and USA, but some other things are different and that reflects relations between globalization and morality, above all.
The tradition of one society is very important and when it is harmed within the conflict with much bigger and higher source of power that it is, we have a problem.
Recent events demonstrated to the world a growing sense of interconnection and interdependence that call for universal values and ethical behaviors on the part of journalists.
There are both positive and negative short term effects of globalization. Positively, we have become conscious of being one world. Information flows are now more democratically available. Human Rights language increasingly permeates a wider global consciousness. Among the alleged negative effects of globalization is its gross insensitivity to short term human suffering and dislocations. A second negative effect entails polarization (political and economic and in terms of life chances and life expectancies) between and within nations. The gap between the poorest and richest nations has been steadily growing, not declining under globalization. The inequalities within sectors of the developed world, itself, have also been growing.
The facts, once again, are glaring: less than one percent of Africans have ever used the internet and there are more telephones in Tokyo than in all of Africa. Forty percent of Latin Americans still can not read or write. As the Canadian social scientist, Pierre Hamel, puts it: ” Uneven development trails globalization like a shadow. The buzzword is globalization but we inhabit a divided world”. A strong fear is that the poorest countries of the world ( and in the case of Africa, entire world regions) will become marginalized to the process, so that there will be both world integration and permanent loser societies, in a kind of globalization apartheid.
So, there is no better place and time to apply ethics of professional journalist in a broader sense than within the globalization issue. Why? To have morality on a pedestal, instead pure and rigid interest of minority against majority of people population. I think that I do not need to underline who are minority and who are majority.
Last but not least, within this topic I will quote part of my essay from Eurasia Review from March 3, 2016, and by that, maybe provoke some of you to an opposite thinking, which is my which, by all means, to be convinced that I am wrong, especially on this…wrote:
“What is knowledge within the world of developed society? What does it mean for us to be aware that every 11 hours the knowledge in the world is doubled? We are so developed and yet so uncivilized. How it can be? It all depends on how you “read” an understanding of development and civilization.”
Especially, if development and civilization means neo-liberalism, and the “exporting” of “my way of thinking-democracy” as it “should exist all around the world” and let the markets to do everything – to liberalize the liberalism. It is amazing that those who were fighting against Mao Zedong’s (1893-1976) “flourishing of thousand flowers” are doing nowadays exactly the same thing, but instead of operating with the system of “communism” they are doing it now within the guise of “capitalism”.
Mediocrity And Infantilization
Cynicism of mediocrity is a lack of eyesight and a surplus of blindness — (Hadžialić S, 2017)
If you just put aside 30 minutes and see the popularity of mediocrity (so-called “celebrity, intellectual and elite people”) within the area of South-East Europe you will be able to completely confirm Noam Chomsky’s tenth strategy for manipulation:
“To encourage the public to be complacent with mediocrity … Promote the
public to believe that the fact is fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and uneducated…”
So, let’s begin:
In Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo*, Slovenia it all too often appears that the most popular people are those for whom we are, usually, saying that they are stupid, vulgar and uneducated – politicians, drug dealers, tycoons (owners of the soccer clubs), red-neck singers, criminals. Indeed, even if we do not mention several individual cases of athletes, soccer and tennis players, the most popular ones are those listed above.
Simply put, because it can be shown that this is the ultimate goal for everybody to reach their maximum potential is through identifying themselves with the above-mentioned types of people, instead of being identified with inventors, university professors, humanitarian volunteers, writers and scientists.
Because, in that case you will not ask expletive questions regarding any of the truly important issues. Instead, you will simply adjust yourself to the general setup of stupidity, vulgarity and uneducated sense of living.
But, let us see if the people with whom we are identified are really just that?
THEY: All of them have good positions, income and decision-making posts within society, regardless of their quotient of intelligence.
US: We can dream about that and through identification, at least, become like them, regardless of anything. Just being like them. Being stupid or not.
THEY: It is so funny when we hear and see them cursing each other through the yellow (or in public) press and it shows that they are just like all of us, simple people.
US: They are fashion-makers and if they curse, we can do so also.
THEY: Even though they have finished only “evening schools” or not any school at all, they have everything! Even, if they went through some schools and/or university, the school and/or university did not go through them at all.
US: Why would we not do the same? Who gives a sh…t about school if it is easy to be like them.
Outside of that region, if we look at some of the former presidents of USA (George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, maybe…or Sarah Palin as one of the candidates to become one?) we are able to see that it is a general problem (or solution) for the whole world. Not to mention that politician leaders within the South East Europe region — among which you can count on the fingers of one hand — how many of them deserve respect (out of thousands).
Are we faced with a Conspiracy theory?
Not at all, but just with the plan of the rulers all around the world to make it easy to govern, by becoming stupid, vulgar and/or uneducated, and making it easier for them to be much easier manipulated.
For What Cause
Since Plato’s time – The state will never cease to exist. We have just to adjust our Media (il)literacy to it. More we know who they are, the less manipulated we will be.
How to achieve that?
Easy, through the implementation within the curriculum of schools, from the primary level and up to university level, the following subject: Media literacy
To upgrade the knowledge towards the establishment of a society that will serve their citizens. Not to manipulate them. It will be a very difficult trip, but the longest trip starts with the first step and to upload the essence instead of the shape.
Has anybody in the World made it? Not yet.
Nobody would like to be the first one. It is more important nowadays to know more about Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber than anything else, so far.
But, as I said, who will be the first?
There was this guy, 2016 years ago, who tried exactly something along these lines, including among other things for the good of the people to establish a society that would serve its citizens. The same citizens that he was trying to help, however, crucified him first and then afterwards glorified him. As usual, our (society at large) first step is always the wrong one.
We can, for the first time, begin with the right step. In the name of ethics. If we apply it in a way to be a change we want to do. In professional journalism, above all.
Question to think about: Is the media monopoly equal globalization of morality, or…?
Next: Media ethics in professional journalism: Economy and Media – Ethical questions