It was the 1992 headline reading ‘It’s the Sun what won it’ taking up the front page of the tabloid newspaper referring to the influence of the Sun’s reporting on the votes of the British citizens, which resulted in an unexpected win of the General Elections by the conservatives. Nowadays, the political influence that newspapers have is still enormous, and despite the fact that the big names of Fleet Street claim to take ‘serious measures’ to prevent big news corporations from having too much influence, in practice, not much has changed since the headline 22 years ago. Considering the fact that these newspapers are mainly owned by rich white men, often with a right-wing political view, means that the mass media fails to represent the British citizen. In other words: the mass media takes on an oligarchic rather than a democratic form.

The three national daily newspapers with the largest circulations (a combined total of 5 million) in the UK, are all tabloids, and have similar political views. The Sun, which is the biggest UK newspaper with more than two million copies sold on average every day, is owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch. ‘The idea of one man or company controlling a large proportion of the nation’s newspapers and broadcasting interests is an issue of public concern – particularly when that person takes a close interest in the political agenda of his newspapers,’ former BBC news reporter Torin Douglas said on Murdoch, whose company News Corp owns many Australian newspapers, and has ownership over The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times (more than 2.5 million in daily circulation and 3.5 including the weekly).

The alleged political agenda is not the only thing driving the tabloid newspapers. With the strong competition and the threatened existence of print newspapers, the mass media strongly relies on circulation to make profit through advertisements and money from sold copies. This means the articles that actually make it into the newspapers will be on popular topics, to ensure high sales, rather than topics they consider to be important for their readers to know.

This concentrated media ownership is incredibly harmful considering the fact that the majority of people develop their views on politics based on information gathered from mainstream media. Luckily, there are less commercially driven mediums providing information. ‘Wikipedia is one of the most consulted media sources in the world without a single penny spent on marketing its content,’ WikiMedia states. Despite being harshly criticised by teachers worldwide, Wikipedia is a source providing information on practically every topic, using open sourcing, which makes it easier for readers to check the quality and reliability of the sources used.

Looking at conflicts going on in the world right now, especially those with a clear division between ‘sides’, like Ukrainian nationalists and separatists, Israelis and Palestinians and even Scottish nationalists and those who oppose Scottish independence, individuals and groups decide what side they are on or what political stance they take based on the information they get from mainstream media. Information providers have a great deal of power, and that power should be in the hands of the people in order to maintain a democratic state.

In order for the media to take its place as an independent watchdog over the government, big businesses and policy makers, it is important that they do not have a strong political agenda, or connections with policy makers. To be able to represent the people properly, media should be owned by a more diverse group of people. Editors of the most notorious newspapers are rich, white men, unable to have a thorough understanding of the discrimination non-white people, LGBTQ, people in general and women go through. Newspapers and broadcast media are our main source of information therefore, it is of vital importance this source is not privately owned, as that makes one company or one person too powerful.

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