CROSS MEDIA OWNERSHIP: A NEMESIS TO FREE MEDIA
Dominance and monopoly have never proved out to be beneficial for the end consumer in any market; similarly, the present scenario prevailing within the media industry is that of leverage and mastery of some behemoths of the industry over the commodity called “Information”. The congestion caused by the influx of various media outlets and channels for the dispensation of information from various forums and sources has been the result of the supremacy of some few organizations exercising what has been termed as cross mediaownership. This paper analyses this phenomenon of monopoly and the ownership pattern of such organizations and shows how they are connected to the political and business worlds and what influence this has caused upon them. The media is often referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy which separates the grain from the chaff for the common masses in order so that they can conceive in their opinions and participate in the democratic process of debate but when the media which is the ultimate information source is bent then it results in serious ramifications adversely affecting the democratic setup of the nation. This paper elucidates that how the control mechanism in the hands of a few individuals from the upper echelons of the society blur the public perception and promote misconception. The research also seeks to understand the trends in cross media ownership and its corollaries. Showcasing the hazards of such trends in a democratic country the paper establishes the need for a statutory regulatory mechanism which is requisite in order to curb the menace of this evil. The paper also suggests ways by which the concerned authorities can exercise their powers within the law in order to put in place and regulate this extremely significant sector of an intrinsically democratic nation like India without hampering its functioning and also without violating the fundamental right of free speech.