Jul 20 ยท Last update 17 days ago.

Should billionaires be allowed to own newspapers?

Media freedom is thought to be deteriorating globally, with media companies being banned in some countries, and journalists harassed, undermined by leaders, or even murdered. But is there an inside force also acting on this trend, are media owners degrading media freedom in stable democracies also? Does a media company's ownership have an effect on what they publish? In Russia media freedom is fairly low, with media companies being owned by the state directly or by state-friendly cronies. But is the picture much different in the United States, where just 15 billionaires own the majority of the countries news networks? forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/06/01/these-15-billionaires-own-americas-news-media-companies/#51bed437660a freepressunlimited.org/en/news/how-media-ownership-threatens-press-freedom
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In fact, in times of massive media turmoil for traditional news media and the struggle to find a workable digital model billionaires should be welcome into the industry, representing proven management and deep funds that can help support good journalism just as they often support the arts, such as theatres and ballet. Newspapers have always had wealthy owners; they are the only ones able to create jobs on the scale a printing press requires, and this is no different in the digital age. The acquisition of the Washington Post by the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, is a good example, since taking the helm at the company Bezos has made heavy investments in the newsroom and the latest technology. However probably more importantly he has vertically integrated the business with Arc Publishing, a content-management product tied to many other news companies, his business expertise is likely to make the Washington Post more future proof than its competitors.


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