Having the media ownership overwhelmingly dominated by One organisation with the majority of the remaining controlled by two other organisations facing the same direction is not good for democracy or free speech.
I know people aren’t happy with the media in this country – I see them talking about it in forums, social networks and twitter. I see people tweeting politicians and asking for something to be done. I see people talking about how bad the ABC is or Murdoch media is or GinaFax – and yet we all keep watching, listening and buying, and then complaining.
Do we just prefer to be outraged like christians who watch television with a notebook at the ready for anything that might offend, rather than switching off and ignoring it.
We no longer have to the choice to switch off, all media is telling us the same message “Tony Abbott says”, and alternatives are getting fewer and fewer.
So what can we do about it? Beside moaning to each other.
Balanced media is not Right and Far-Right- it is both sides, it is fair, honest reporting and a willingness to ask questions.
We just need to take a look at what is being revealed by the Levenson inquiry in the UK, where the Murdoch agenda has been faithfully served by politicians too afraid to lose the support of this media empire – and there he controls about 30%. In Australia Murdoch’s tentacles spread across about 70%, can we really expect what is happening in the United Kingdom is not happening here too?
If we are going to lose all hope that the media can ever be more than just a Liberal Party propaganda tool, then we need to act… if we are going down, might as well go down fighting.
It seems unlikely that writing a ‘letter to the editor’ will have any effect, so that just leaves taking the message directly to the politicians, the ones who have the power to do something. They do need some help though, since the only message they are hearing is from the media.
D-day looms for Gillard in her fight with the media barons
As tabloid TV stoops lower still, Labor is being urged to take on the press.
Word is that media policy is coming up for cabinet consideration over the next little while.
So let’s make that “consideration” a reality. Here’s how:
1. Write a letter, to be posted to your local member and every senator in your state. They are there to serve you. Make them earn their generous wage. Make it short, make it concise, one page if possible. Mention only one or two points, what is that you want to see as the result of your letter
For example: it might be an inquiry into the concentration of media ownership in this country
or, an inquiry into whether the ABC fulfils its charter of balance
2. Write the relevant minister, in this case that would be
Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy,
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002
3. If you don’t know who your Senators are: here is the list
List of Senators – 43rd Parliament as at 15 June 2012
4. If you don’t know who your local Member is, or your electorate, visit this page Members and enter your postcode. Or, this page has a list of the ALP Ministers. Liberal or National members may be less receptive than ALP or Independents.
5. Make sure your letter is formatted correctly.
This page How to address senators and members, explains what title to use, how to conclude a letter and all those other formalities.
6. If you don’t want to send a letter, then consider sending an email. Politicians do read those. To find out where to send an email: visit this page Members, click on the name of the Senator you want and it will come up with a page with all their contact details, if that doesn’t work, google them and find their personal website and look for “Contact”.
Will this achieve anything? Probably not, not unless a few people do it, and make our voices heard. But complaining to each other on social network sites is probably going to achieve less.
Sending an email takes 5 minutes. Surely the future of an open media is worth 5 minutes. Is this really something you want to leave in the hands of others, in the assumption that someone else will write or call?
If you have time to tweet a politician that “someone must do something” then you are that someone and the something you can do is write or email your local MP and state senators.
And, before anyone asks, I already have: How Not To Write A Letter To A Politician – My participation in democracy