Concrete evidence of the ownership concentration of Canada’s media industries includes CanWest’s acquisition of several newspapers, Quebecor’s ownership of TVA network, and Bell Globe Media’s control of CTV and The Globe and Mail. (Thrift 227) These corporate bigwigs should give due deference to the fact that more important than their right to do as they please in running their media empires is the public’s rights to information and the complete picture of what is going on. Unsurprisingly, there have been complaints voiced by readers regarding the inadequacy of the news materials that were made available for public consumption.
Their rights to know the truth and to see the freedom of the press exercised have, as well, been compromised. (Mills 29) The media also has the duty to protect the public interest. There lies the question as to what constitutes it, and author McQuail gives the following answer: Perhaps the most useful distinction in [the] conceptual definition [of public interest] is the clear dividing line between preference and interest. What interests the public, in terms of its wants, desires and tastes may not necessarily be in the public interest.
Even in a democracy, majority rule might be in conflict with the public interest. [This] public interest definitional dilemma illustrates the still turbulent nature of the debate over this most complex of concepts… [Through it all], free press is a means by which the public interest is transmitted and eventually achieved. It is the visible barometer, the expression of performance. The free flow of information is in the public interest. (McQuail 166) One important goal that must be achieved in line with the protection of public interest is the freedom of speech and expression.
This freedom has been a prize worth dying for, as history would tell. The following quoted lines from Encyclopedia Britannica serve to further stress the utmost necessity of such freedom: In the circumstances of a people actually governing itself, it is obvious that there is no substitute for freedom of speech and of the press, particularly as that freedom permits an informed access to information and opinions about political matters… ‘Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
So wrote Thomas Jefferson to a friend in January 1787. (Encyclopedia Britannica website) The media convergence and the ownership concentration of media companies in Canada are, indeed, signs that bespeak of the deviation of the country’s media industries from the journalistic ideals of a free nation. Work Cited Tate, Marsha Ann Tate. “Canada 2025. ” Canada’s Broadcast and Production Journal 16 February 2009: 14. Mills, Russel. “Control Ownership. ” Canadian Speeches May/June 2003, Vol. 17 Iss. 2: 29. Thrift, Samantha.
“Who Controls Canada’s Media? : Annual Conference of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Montreal, Quebec, February 13 to 15, 2003. ” Canadian Journal of Communication 2003 Vol. 28 Iss. 2: 227. McQuail, Denis. McQuail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory. United Kingdom: Sage Publication, 2002. <http://books. google. ca/books? id=kBXO2iw4yKUC&printsec= frontcover#PPA157,M1> “Freedom of the Press. ” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. <http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/218549/freedom-of-the-press>