Mining and the Media?

In an era where media industries seem to be the centre of the technological revolution, the ownership of these industries becomes increasingly important. Within the media ownership is synonymous with control. The decreasing number of people who hold ownership to media industries control the one ideological perspective that is put out. Put it this way, you control the media, you control the beliefs of your audience – as it is the only perspective they have access too.

You could say that Gina Rinehart, the richest person in Australia with a net worth of $9.7 billion dollars has a lot to lose. Particularly in regards to the carbon tax, which former Prime Minister Julia Gillard revealed plans for in early 2011, which would cost Rinehart, who made her fortune through the mining industry a $23/ton price on carbon. Gina, who earns $598 a second, was not very happy about this.  You could say its coincidence that the previous year the mining tycoon had taken out a 10% stake in the channel ten network. That same year she also laid out a massive $285 million dollars for a 18.6% share in the Fairfax media group, who control the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and a collection of radio stations.

You could say that Reinhart was using her ownership of media networks to shape public opinion to suit her financial gain. Interestingly but not surprisingly, Reinhart discards the concept of global warming, claiming in 2011 that:

“I am yet to hear scientific evidence to satisfy me that if the very, very small amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (approximately 0.83 per cent) was increased, it could lead to significant global warming.”

This was of course in light of the looming carbon tax, which cost mining companies $574 million dollars. Rienhart The media helped to warp public anxiety of the carbon tax by in some cases wrongfully informing Australians on what the tax would cost them, which unsurprisingly by June 2011, had changed public opinion of the tax to only 38% in favor.

The ownership and control of the media has a large impact upon the educated and informed opinions of the public regarding an issue, which in the case of the Reinhart media escapades, was the Carbon tax. I also find it very interesting that in early 2015 Reinhart sold the entirety of her Fairfax shares.

Until next time,

Lily x

Terrorists || Freedom fighters

These terms were often thrown around between 1968 and 1998, during the troubles in Northern Ireland.

For those of you who don’t know, ‘the troubles,’ was the name given to the conflict that occurred between British Unionists, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain apart of the United Kingdom and Irish republicans, who wanted Northern Ireland to be granted independence. Throughout the 30 years that the troubles spanned, 3600 people were killed. 

You must be thinking, “Um, excuse me, I thought the assignment for this week was about how we read the media, the marking criteria didn’t ask for a history lesson.”

Although the contextualisation of the Irish troubles may be boring to some, it is vital to understanding how the text below is read.

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What is immediately represented in the image: three soldiers, three guns, one blue sky and one Irish flag. This arrangement of images, is what I discovered last week to be the signifier.

The signified image, however is a little more complicated. On Facebook last Thursday, I stumbles upon a video of a dancing baby pig. I showed the video to two different people: one who loves pigs, the other could not care less. As you can probably gather there was a difference between the two reactions about the signified image: positive and indifferent, caused by the different ideas held about the animal by both parties, following?

Just to spell it out, the way an image is viewed is impacted by a persons ideology, or, a set of ideals and beliefs that one possesses.

A British Unionist would have viewed the above image with a large amount of disscontempt. They would see three terrorists posing with guns – representing the violence that Irish Republican groups brought with them. The words used in the mural “our day will come” would be seen as a threat, combined with the guns shown, a startlingly obvious display of what these people would be prepared to do to throw them out of the country they reside in.

Meanwhile, show the same image to an Irish Republican during the troubles, and it would have been viewed a little differently. The three triumphant freedom fighters, are celebrating in honour of achieving their long sought after goal, reuniting Ireland once more, appropriately in front of the flag that many gave their lives for. The bright blue, cloudless background along with the text “Our day will come,” represents the possibilities of a new tomorrow and and Ireland free.

The real question is, what do you see?

Lily x

I-SIS

In late 2014 ISIS posted a video featuring 17 year old Abdullah Elmir from Sydney’s South West declaring that the Islamic State would “not put down our weapons until we reach your lands.”

“First they became ice addicts, and now they are joining ISIS because of videos on the ‘instagrams? What is happening to our children?” Thought my Grandmother (probably) after seeing the video.

Her, and her age group, are who I’d imagine would amount to a large percentage of the population affected by current media anxieties. These videos, posted on social media by the Islamic State, combined with ‘scare statistics’ released by the mainstream media allow them to believe that the media is responsible for turning their children into jihadists. One of these reports, which was conducted by the Home Office in the United Kingdom state that the Islamic State is on a 24 hour social media crusade looking for recruits with reportedly over 50 000 ISIS linked twitter accounts in existence.

Expert on Jihadist groups, Aaron Zelin, suggests that these twitter accounts have an exposure that spans across millions of people. According to Ashton Carter, the US Pentagon chief, “People who are very distant from any battlefield… are suddenly becoming enticed through social media.”

Hang on, this seems like the answer people, admittedly like my Grandmother were hoping for, blame the media entirely so we do not have to examine the real societal problems at bay. Genius.

Although obviously far more sinister than the anxieties of the 1960’s that ‘rock and roll’ is turning the children to Satanists, the notion of blaming the medium and not its environment still endures. It has been well established throughout history that education and employment rates, as well as the lack of the possibility of societal advancement is the context likely to turn people to radicalism. This is also evident of those wishing to join the Islamic State.

Abdullah Elmir enticed other youths at his Bankstown Youth Centre to join ISIS through offers of friendship and shelter, just to name two. I think particular attention should be paid to the first offer listed. Maybe we as a society should direct our anxieties toward not what the media is giving but what we as a society are not.

Maybe the media should not be the only cause of my Grandmother’s anxieties.

Until next time,

Lily x

Hello?

It’s me. I guess this is the beginning of my double degree and four and a half years at UOW. 

I’m Lily by the way, a Wollongong native and documentary addict.

The latter of the above awkward introductory statement is part of the bigger reason why I am here. I’m passionate about people and ideas, whether it be education, human rights or ‘dance moms.’ From ideas themselves stems my passion for communicating them.

On Sunday I watched an oscar awarded film, ’spotlight.’ And on a day where I was confused about my life, my choices and where I was heading, the movie worked to clear my brain and reinforced in me why I wanted to be here, studying Communication and Media as an aspiring journalist.

For those who don’t know, the film, which is based on a true story, follows journalists from The Globe, a newspaper in Boston investigating and uncovering the extensive and systematic abuse of children within the Catholic church. This work helped to uncover 1000 victims of abuse within the Boston area and the 249 Priests responsible for abusing them.

The journalists involved received Pulitzer prize nominations for their efforts.

Anyway, the movie instilled in me the essence of what they were working toward. Change. Ideas can and do promote change.

Whether it be on a ‘smaller’ scale in giving the victims recognition of the abuse they endured, or changing the public perception of a revered institution that has been standing for 2000 years. Communication is and promotes change, and that is why I’m here.

Introductions have never been my strong point.