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New Edition: Spoonfed Beliefs – Out Thursday!

From a young age, your parents decide on every little thing that you do so as to develop your understanding, beliefs and morals. So how come we let money-hungry media giants decide for us when we are adults?

Simply, because we do not have a choice anymore. Media corporations such as NewsCorp and Fairfax are deciding what we digest over our Sunday cup of coffee. Some people may brush this off but as Malcolm Fraser states in his article, that if we continue down this road of monopolizing media,”Australia will be effectively without independent print media” or potentially any type of media.

I have been raised to not just believe what you see, hear or read for you should always question it and come to your own conclusions. As mentioned many times before, I borderline Gen Y and Gen Z therefore making me lazy and addicted to social media – but is this necessarily a bad thing when it comes to media ownership? Personally, I think it is, for younger generations are more likely to believe what they are presented with due to laziness and potentially their upbringing. If you are not constantly questioning what you are presented with, how can you form your own arguments and ideas about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to media?

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Conversely, I believe that older generations are more skeptical of what the media produces as ‘old’ people are skeptical of most things – and this is partially due to their upbringing and beliefs that the media is a very “powerful instrument for propaganda” (Fraser). And this is where the issue of sly political messages are sometimes evident in media – print especially.

The issue of media ownership will be ever-present as we move into monopolised ownership. This is particularly unnerving as how are younger generations supposed to unbiasedly choose who to vote for, who to believe or even what to believe,  if the constant onslaught of media is one-sided because the media moguls are breathing down the editor’s neck ? This is an age that I hope not to witness.

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I Want to Break Free – Copyright in the 21st Century

There is something vile about that statement – copyright in the 21st Century. But why?

As Steve Collins rightly states in his M/C Journal that “few if any, things…are strictly original throughout. Every book in literature, science and art, borrows, and must necessarily borrow” So where does the issue of copyright stand in this modern age when thoughts and ideas are so easily stolen?

In the previous decades, copyright was introduced as a means to “encourage learning and the creation of new works”.(Collins, S. 2008) The Statute of Queen Anne (1710) supported this notion and granted owners monopoly for 14 years after publication. However, as owners began to understand the immense power that copyright could have, they became greedy and by 1886, the Berne Convention extended the laws of copyright to at least 50 years after the author’s death. But this was simply not enough for modern times. The current US copyright stands at 70 years after author’s death and 120 years after creation – and we all have Walt Disney to thank.
Another interesting point that is raised in Collins’s article is one made by William Patry when he states how the original grounds for developing copyright has been blown out of proportion: “its principle functions now are…to suppress new business models and technologies and to obtain enormous windfall profits from activity that not only causes no harm, but which is beneficial to copyright owners.” Prime example of Patry’s theory is Time Warner copyrighting “Happy Birthday” so whenever it is performed, they receive some sort of financial benefit. What is happening? Is nothing sacred?

So if you haven’t already guessed from the symbol up the top, I am studying Tumblr as my emerging media platform – and of course it fits nicely with the idea that copyright does not have a valid case in the modern, technological world. After browsing Tumblr‘s Terms of Service, there is a small but significant section where they state “Tumblr may immediately terminate or suspend Accounts that have been flagged for repeat copyright infringement.” But what constitutes as an infringement of copyright where the whole idea of Tumblr is to express your ‘personality’ by copying – or reblogging – someone else’s photo? However, after more research and endless dead ends, I found the copyright law that they follow – The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. (For all the people who want to read in-depth, here is the link). So the real question here is, is the likes of Tumblr and Pininterest leading the way in the 21st Century redefining copyright and copyright laws? Could this century potentially end copyright? Frankly, I think so.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is controversial ad?

After countless years and millions spent on “Quit Smoking” campaigns, has this ad taken it too far? Or, have we finally found the right way to address this issue as expressed in this 2009 ad?

As this advertisement began to disseminate globally, public outcry grew rapidly. The obvious denotations of this ad are a young, innocent boy, losing sight of his mother at a busy train station and the horrific sense of panic that arises. However, the study of this text’s connotations and semiotics, reveals the once ambiguous divide of a nation’s cultural ideologies as the reality of this young boy’s predicament dawns on the audience.

My father smoked for 20+ years before going ‘cold turkey’ after my mother announced her pregnancy. He did this so he could be around to watch myself and my sister grow up and lead happy, healthy lives. When this ad debut in 2009, my father would always walk out of the room as he could not watch this young boy’s pain for it could just as easily been his children’s reality.
This ad signified – and broke down the ideologies surrounding smoking -to the myriad of people who viewed it, that dying from smoking does not have to be when you are old and grey, leaving behind adult children. And for this reason, it mortified many people and encouraged them to seek help and quit.

Post-2009 most advertisements for “Quit Smoking” have become more graphic yet less personalised. We can simply turn a blind eye to the grotesque images of mouth cancer and the wheezing of lung cancer. It is estimated in these statistics that by 2030, one in six people will die of lung cancer if trends continue. So where are we going wrong? Education about the affects of smoking has increased significantly in the past decade or so. So, does the answer lie in this type of heart-wrenching advertising?

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Pass the blame to the left hand side

When most people are asked, “does TV make you fat?” the majority will scoff at this idea – and I was no exception. It seems utterly absurd that by sitting in front of the televsion it somehow magically expands your waistline. This is the theory of causality – one thing (in this instance, televsion) causes another thing to occur (people becoming fat). Whilst most people can accept this theory, others – such as David Gauntlett – digress:
“the connections between people’s consumption of the mass media and their subsequent behaviour have remained persistently elusive..”

Gauntlett later states:“The’media effects’ approach..comes at the problem backwards, by starting with the media and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings, rather than the other way around.” This grahic of obesity in America supports his statement that the media is constantly being blamed when in actual fact 60% of people who were surveyed said it was too much in-home entertainment that led to their obesity and 84% saying that it was eating too much fast food. This leads onto the question of does watching violent media, make you a violent person and do violent things?

The horrific case of James Bulger is a true testament to Gauntlett’s belief of the backwards approach of the media effects model. In 1993, a 2 year old boy was abducted, brutally beaten and subsequently killed. His killers were two ten year old boys. In court, the judge stated, “violent films, possibly Child’s Play 3” had “striking similarities to the manner of the attack on James Bulger…” The media went into a frenzy, blaming violent videos and games saying that it led young children to re-enact scenarios that they had seen in various forms of media. However, further investigation into the lives of the two young killers exposed dysfunctional families where violence and neglect were common.

So, I leave you with this: is it really the media’s fault, or are we simply passing the blame to the left hand side?

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