Just a few years ago, the corporate media houses were euphoric about the so called ‘growth’ of the Indian economy and were eulogising Ambani’s, Tata’s and the other modern lords of Indian capitalism. Even average Indians were also influenced by this gold rush, which obviously was accessible only to privileged sections of the society at the expenses of the Indian working people.
The same corporate media were hardly bothered about the real issues affecting the Indian working people from price rise to health care crisis. They were not even bothered about the effect stock markets were having on farm suicides, which has killed over 250,000 peasants in the last 17 years. In this article, we examine the role of corporate media in today’s world.
“Corporate media” is term used to refer to the system of mass media production, distribution, ownership, and funding which is dominated by corporations and big businesses with a motive to make profit.
Traditionally the popular media like newspapers, magazines, Radio and Television broadcasts was controlled both by private and public or state entities. But in today’s market based economy, media today blatantly serve the interests of big business corporations and their vested political interests.
The published news today serve the interests of the economically powerful groups and frequently take conciliatory approach towards the establishment. Lucrative markets have been created by sensationalizing news and with the involvement of celebrities.
The political bias, that is inherent within the mass media, has hardly changed in its fundamentals, even in this modern information age. The much researched book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky – Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), have correctly analysed that the news being reported and also how they are being reported are all direct outcomes of the profit motives and commercial interests of those big media moguls.
In other words, the role of the corporate media is to spread news favourable of big business corporations and pro market governments, thus justifying privatisation of, say, the Indian state owned companies, deregulation of petrol prices, showcasing luxury goods in the news channels, selecting and deselecting the news items depending on their TRP’s; and above all, lobbying among the millions of households in favour of those rich and powerful people.
Free, politically neutral and non biased mass media, which is essential for a healthy and transparent democracy, is a mirage under capitalism. The mass media could only be independent when it is publicly owned under democratic workers’ control in a socialist society, open to all communities and all shades of public opinion, otherwise the very concept of freedom of the press holds no meaning. Only then could it be the media of the commoners.