How is information massively circulated today?
- International News Agencies (Reuters, Associated Press, Al Jazeera etc.)
- National Agencies (mainly state owned)
- National Mass Media Groups (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Web-Portals)
Which story becomes news?
It’s these Mass Media Groups that define:
- what will become news in national and global level
- how will the news be presented, from which viewpoint
- what will become the top story
- which will be the hierarchy of the headlines
- how long these “story” will remain in the headlines
- which aspects of the story will be highlighted
Who owns the Media Groups?
The Mass Media Groups are owned by monopoly groups, by owners of oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, construction companies, etc.
Mass Media are owned by capitalists.
Why do capitalists own Mass Media?
They do not sick primarily to make profit out of their use.
Advertisements usually cover the cost of the programs.
They aim to:
a) Improve their individual interests in relation to the state.
b) Improve their position in the competition with other capitalists and increase the profitability of the other companies of the monopoly group.
c) Serve the collective interests of the capitalist class in the class struggle against the working class and the popular strata.
Mass Media in Relation to the State
- The state is giving them licenses for the free use of the public frequencies.
- The competition of the media for the state advertisement affects the content of the information.
- Journalists are on “payrolls” of the state, ministries or political parties.
Media in the capitalist crisis
- Since the capitalists usually do not make direct profit out of their Media Corporations
- Within the crisis they do not have the percentage of profit they would like to have though their other investments
They might choose
a) to close some Media down
b) proceed to mergers
c) or/and attack trade union rights, collective agreements, flexible and long working hours etc.
How do Mass Media act under capitalist ownership?
Marx and Engels wrote:
“the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production”
a) Putting pressure in the governments: This way the hold their political personnel captive to serve their individual or collective interests.
b) Manipulate the public opinion targeting mainly the popular factor: the working class and the popular strata. They cultivate false consciousness. They make the workers think as if they were capitalists, according to the bourgeois ethics. (racism, anti-communism, drug culture, sub-culture, corruption etc.)
c) Promotion of the bourgeois agenda and strategy though the hierarchy an the choices of the news stories.
d) They terrorize the people and slander the history of the people and the trade union movement
e) They form a perverse reality by hiding the exploitative nature of the capitalist system which is the true cause of the acute labour and social problems.
f) To promote the capitalist products they have to create a perverse perception of what are the actual needs of the people.
Two types of people working in the media:
a) A labour aristocracy which plays an active and conscious part in promoting the ruling ideology (with huge wages, party payrolls, direct contact with governments or even secret agencies)
b) A majority of poorly paid, hard working people who under the pressure of dismissal, terrorism, directions or false consciousness, willingly or unwillingly function as the communicators of the ruling ideology and morality.
What is the role of the trade union organisations?
- to organize the media staff in order to play a progressive role beside the limitations: to expose the capitalist strategy and plots, to promote the working class interests and the struggles of the trade union movement.
- To form the criteria to the people in order to be able to filter the information they receive and see it through their own class interests.
- to organize the progressive working people in the media to use their skills and knowledge for the creation of media of the working people, media owned by trade unions, democratic organizations, progressive parties.
- To use photos, video, analysis, publications to circulate the information around the world in order to enhance international proletarian solidarity.
Which are our goals?
- Cultivating class consciousness
- Belief in the power of the people
- Belief in the victorious historic role of the working class
- Exposing capitalism and the capitalist mode of production
- Exposing the parasitic role of the capitalists
- Cultivating the main principles of the working class: solidarity, internationalism, class unity
- Exposing the defeatist role of the corrupt, sold-out trade unionists
- Building action though feeding information
- Give orientation to the struggle.
We need media that will be “the collective propagandist and collective enlightenment but also the collective organizer.” Those kind of media that can be compared to the “scaffolding built around a building under construction, that carve the outline of the building, facilitate the communication between the different construction workers, they help them to allocate the work and have the oversight of the common results achieved by the organized work” (V.I Lenin “Where to begin”)
WFTU Head of Mass Media and Communications Department
Mass media and the trade union movement
13 July 2012, Kathmandu Nepal