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Fall 2012 CMNS 130 Reading Questions Week 9.docx

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Simon Fraser University
CMNS 130
Kathleen Cross

Week 9 Introduction & The Cultures of Democracy: How Ownership and Public Participation Shape Canada’s Media Systems (Shade) 1. Why do the authors suggest that ‘who owns the media raises the rather daunting question of who owns Canada’s democracy’? (p. 201) How does ownership affect democracy?  Media are source of entertainment, information, news, ideology, history, ideas, and information about products and services  Media are used to achieve political power  Media are center of Canadian cultural, economic, social and political reality  Media are center of democratic reality  Ownership affects all these aspects of democracy  Owners decide what people know and care about and how they view issues 2. Describe the four major trends in global communication.  Convergence o Digital technologies alter and blur the traditional distinctions between print and broadcasting media o Media Corporations provide information and entertainment, content and distribution, telephone and cable, subscriptions and advertisements o Convergence strategies have shifted from multimedia content convergence to cross-media opportunities for advertisers  Conglomeration and concentration o Structural features of global media system whereby a small number of media firms end up (through mergers and acquisitions) owning the majority of media products o Conglomerate media firms operate across various media platforms (television, newspapers, satellite, cable, film, publishing, internet)  Globalization o The transformation of communication spaces and social relations occurring across national borders o Economic globalization: integration of global economy through free-trade mechanisms and international bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) o Cultural globalization: absorption and integration of global cultural forms into other cultural products and services  Deregulation o The belief by government and international trade bodies that competitive markets are fostered by not regulating the media 3. Define: horizontal concentration ownership, vertical concentration and cross-media ownership. Give examples of each in Canada.  Horizontal concentration of ownership o A firm in one line of media buys a major interest in another media operation not directly related to the original business, or takes a major stake in a non-media company o Example: CTV Globemedia  Vertical concentration of ownership o A concentration of firms within a single line of business in order to extend a company’s control over the process of production and/or distribution o Example: CanWest Global Communications  Cross-media ownership o A firm in one discrete industry acquires a firm in another industry (e.g. a broadcaster buying a newspaper) o When a firm owns properties in two or more kinds of media o Example: Quebecor buying Groupe Vidéotron 4. What options are there for public input into media policy?  CRTC: oversees creation of media policy through a process that invites public participation and comment on significant policy changes; holds public hearings such as The Diversity of Voices hearings  Organizations such as Campaign for Democratic Media 5. What is net neutrality and why is it important? What about the sale of the electro- magnetic radio spectrum?  Net neutrality o Internet service providers (ISPs) should and must treat all content and applications equally o is being eroded by “throttling” (the intentional slowing of internet service by an ISP) and “traffic shaping” (delaying some or all datagrams to bring them into compliance with a desired traffic profile)  ISPs single out data to treat differently  Sale of electromagnetic radio spectrum o radio frequencies are being auctioned to the highest bidder o large communications companies bid prohibitively high  concentrated ownership, limited competition (newcomers cannot afford to enter the market) 6. What is the argument for public service broadcasting?  Designed to protect the public
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