The primary aim of the book is to explore and critically analyse
and evaluate the ways in which the business of running large
national and international media organisations in a free market
economy affects, for better or worse, the integrity of the
communication of information to the public. Insofar as information
can be defined as "instructive knowledge" which must meet the
traditional conditions of truth, justification and belief, the
selling of information as another consumer product on the market
may in some circumstances be both epistemologically and ethically
One of the main objectives of the book is to enquire into and
analyse how and in what ways, if at all, the commercial and market
interests of media organisations, especially as concerns news, may
be undermining and in some instances corrupting both the process
and the product of the communication of information to the
Some of the factors that will be investigated as possibly
affecting the integrity of information communicated to the public
by the media are convergence of the mediums of communication and
the related issue of cross-media ownership, concentration of media
ownership in the hands of a few powerful moguls, such as for
example, Rupert Murdoch and Berlusconi, and the perceived 'unholy'
alliance between journalism on the one hand and advertising and
public relations on the other.
A close conceptual analysis of the notions of information and
persuasion will be conducted to determine some of the theoretical
and practical inherent inconsistencies that may underlie those two
concepts and how those inconsistencies are manifested in media
practice. Moreover, the book will investigate how these inherent
inconsistencies when allowed to covertly undermine the integrity of
media communication may constitute the corruption of communication.
Infomercials and advertorials, product placements within news
content may count as instances of such corruption.
Another objective of the book is to enquire into how, if at all,
the aims and methods of business markets generally and media
markets specifically can be reconciled with the media's aims and
methods of communicating information on matters of public interest.
Can the fourth estate be trusted to tell people the truth all the
time or even some of the time? Should the public adopt a more
sceptical attitude towards the media?
Finally another objective is to examine the concept and practice
of self-regulation and whether it provides effective ethical if not
legal regulation over the media. If the market constrains on the
media are such that the media's ability to communicate information
to the public comes under question, then more regulation of the
media may be required. Opposed to that suggestion, considerations
of censorship come into play. Theoretically, however, insofar as
the media's freedom of communication of information to the public
is based on the public's right to receive such information, then
the media's freedom is constrained and overridden by the public
interest. And the argument can be put forward that the public
interest opposes information that is tainted by commercial and
other interests that are not in the public interest with regard to
an informed citizenry.
The book will include relevant cases in each chapter that will
illustrate and contextualise the issues examined within a practical
and professional setting.
Additionally, the book will, in some of the chapters, include
interviews with leading media practitioners that will elicit their
views on the issues examined.