The media will always be a contested space. Some insist there should be no controls over the amorphous beast that is the media; others insist we cannot have a free-for-all. In South Africa we presently walk an uneasy middle road between a free press, a powerful public broadcaster as well as corporate and political oligopolies, which wish to place self-serving limits on our freedom of expression.
The sleazy British phone hacking scandal within the extensive Murdoch media empire poses a fascinating counterpoint to our situation. Our media is fairly broadly controlled and while there are some powerful media houses, we are apparently not as prone to the bias in the UK and USA.
Amongst most mainstream media outlets – print, newspaper, radio and television – corporate ownership is the rule rather than the exception. Yet the rise of citizen centred, Internet media has radically changed the playing field. Many credible news services have emerged over the past decade, forever changing the power dynamic.