This section will explore what controls the media.
There are generally 6 ways that the law holds the media to account.
The law of libel ensures that the media cannot make up lies about an individual person.
The official secrets act forbids the media from reporting on something that is considered to be an official secret by the government.
Defence And Security Media Advisory Notices (DSMA) stops the media from releasing information that could be regarded as a threat to national security.
The Racial and Religious Hatred Act (2006) and the Equality Act (2010) stops public discrimination against someone because of their race, religion or any other category.
The Obscene Publications Act (1959) stops the media from releasing content that is considered obscene and distasteful.
'Contempt of court' forbids the media from releasing information that is currently in course to ensure a fair trial.
Why is the media important?
Around 77% of UK households had internet in 2014. According to ONS records:
89% of adults in Great Britain used the internet at least weekly in 2018, up from 88% in 2017 and 51% in 2006.
46% of adults watched videos on demand from commercial services in 2018, up from 29% in 2016.
The proportion of adults aged 65 years and over who shop online trebled since 2008, rising from 16% to 48% in 2018.
93% of adults had a mobile phone with 61% owning a smart phone. 7.5 million newspapers were sold nationally every day. and 96% of households owned a TV. These statistics are evident that media is very important in every day life.
Bauman in 2007 stated "during the last thirty years more information has been produced in the world than the previous 5000 years". Technology is now a part of our every day life and evidence suggests that it is now becoming a significant part of our socialisation process. This is called media saturation. The media, therefore, holds massive power over the information we as the audience absorb. We must therefore question the relationship the media has with us as consumers.