Thursday, July 24, 2014

Digital media should challenge oligopoly in media market

By Nisha Garud

Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Journalism and Media(SUSI) 2014 entered its full second week with lectures on the media and political structures and journalistic practices in two nations of Chile and Costa Rica. Then it was turn for the Indian sub-continent with lectures by Zin Mar Kyaw from Myanmar and Aruna Lokuliyana De Silva from Sri Lanka.

Lionel Rossi from Chile during his lecture.

Lionel Rossi , an Argentinian working in Chile at the University of Chile, compared the media structures and journalistic practices in both countries. Sime of dictatorship has a lot of influence on the Chilean citizens. The situation is exactly opposite in Argentina. Talking about media ownership, Lionel said, The media market is oligopolistic, especially the newspaper industry. It is in the hands of powerful economic groups and politicians of the right wing. There is no political diversity i0n the ownership. He added that to ensure freedom of the press, it is important to create and encourage new spaces of information and to use the growing digital media to challenge oligopolies.

Lorna Chacon-Martinez from Costa Rica said that media ownership in her country was similar to Chile. There was monopoly in the internet market but the situation is now changing. The scholar was proud to inform that the reach of cellular network in her country was almost 100 percent. There is lot of political pressure on the journalists but the press is relatively free and ranks 18th on World Press Freedom Index. At times, the media favors the left wing, which the youngsters do not approve of. She said that there was friction between the traditional media and the social media and social media relied on traditional media for its news.

The media censorship is stricter in Myanmar and Sri Lanka and the once war-struck nation of Sri Lanka is not a favorable ground for journalists, concluded scholars Zin Mar and Aruna. The government owns newspapers and internet in Myanmar. There has been a strict censorship since 1962 but with the new government in 2011, censorship laws are becoming less strict, said Zin Mar. She added that documentaries about Burmese culture, Korean and Indian movies dominate the television content. The army, which has to play a major role to avoid domination by neighbors China and India has its own station, which broadcasts educational programs and is a mouthpiece for the army.

The Rajapaksa family dominates politics and holds most of the ministerial positions in Sri Lanka, informed Aruna from Sri Lanka. Using interesting info graphics, the scholar who has won two national awards for the best cover pages and written numerous books and directed short documentaries, said print medium was dominated by private owners until the government took over the biggest organization called Lake House. The main issues are lack of right to information and lack of investigation into atrocities against journalists.

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