Posted: November 26th, 2013
Currently, the Federal Communications Commission suggested changes have raised mixed reactions in the media. Some oppose the changes while some agree to them. These changes will have several implications on the legal and ethical philosophy in the media. Merges would reduce the number of media owners. The implications include unfair competition in the market. Some of the changes suggested include allowing broadcast stations to reach 45% of the United States market, on the geographical area compared to the current 35%, lifting the ban that allows the media to own more than one station and newspaper (Hirst & Harrison, 2007). This changes address deregulation of the media.
The implication of these changes can be that few owners of the media stations will have less competition from small stations. When one company owns several media stations in both print and broadcast, resulting to one big company, it leads to an increased degree of monopoly. Consequently, this tends to cause ignorance of ethical practices in any given industry. Customers have no power to bargain and can easily be manipulated. The small stations and public associations will have no influence on the market. This would lead to the small local stations either closing down or merging. Hence, news about certain areas will not be comprehensive. The big stations will now aim to cover or dominate markets and are going to dwell on commercial activities like promotions and advertisement, which will help to cover bigger areas.
This will contribute to lack of quality in media. This allows malpractice of ethics since the regulator is not there to stop them. One media ethic is that broadcast stations are public property for people, where they can have their views aired. When they are deregulated, the public does not have any influence on the stations. In addition, diversity of news is an important ethic in media for a sound conclusion about the truth. Mergers will tend to create the same information in the several stations owned by one company. There will be unaccountability of news items and the way information is conveyed to the public when there is no competition. The suggested changes will cause unfair competition in the industry leading to frustration among the small media firms, since they shall be under the influence of the dominant ones.
Another implication is the disparity of influence on the market focus because of lack of control. There will be unequal market concentration, which means that advertisement will not be effective hence, a loss in value. There will be biasness in advertising as it will only be affordable to the big firms. This means that advertisement will not be reliable to serve the local people’s goods. Some areas where the few station employees may not cover will be left out. Information may not reach the intended audience or possibly will not be advertised. In an example, a small firm targeting to advertise in a small local area will have to incur costs of the bigger range covered by the paper. There are also advantages of these changes. The big coverage will be an added advantage for firms. It could also stimulate growth of media stations as mergers and wider coverage will contribute to higher profits (Perebinossoff, 2008). For big media firms, this would be ideal for them to make big profits.
I agree with the public relations and the lobbying team. The FCC should not make these changes since they only favor a few who will benefit highly but deny others an equal chance. In my opinion, the changes have a far more negative implication than positive. The basic ethics of media practice will be ignored and the quality of services will go down. Considering the above implications, it is evident that firms will also be affected. Lack of proper regulation or easing them will have serious repercussions on the media democracy too. Manipulation of information will arise because of monopoly, which is known to change how things are done in various industries. I support the team completely in stopping the FCC from making these changes because the disadvantages outdo the advantages.
Hirst, M. & Harrison, J. (2007). Communication and New Media. London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Perebinossoff, P. (2008). Real-World Media Ethics: inside the broadcast and entertainment industries. Amsterdam: Elsevier Focal Press.
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