• Elżbieta Solecka

Who Controls the News?

Like any industry, news outlets have owners. While this does not mean that the outlets are automatically biased, it does mean that they are prone to it, due to the owner's perspectives and demands.



This is not necessarily a bad thing, since these owners are people that either worked their way up to the status they now own or have inherited the status from someone that has. These are people like the rest of us and therefore have the right to do as they wish within the confines of the law. They can dictate the direction in which their company will move, however, this also means that they cannot claim their product as objective.


The guide below demonstrates the ownership chains within key news outlets around the globe. As you may notice some are owned by governments or are publicly funded rather than owned by private entities, and some are eventually owned by shareholders.



Private Owners


Lachlan Murdoch/Murdoch Family


The Murdoch Family Empire and its influence on global news

Political Affiliation:

Conservative


Supported Charities:

New South Wales Service for The Treatment and Rehabilitation Of Torture And Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) & Overseas Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (OSSTT) Ltd.


Interests:

Australian Rugby League, Family


Country of Residence:

Australia


Net Worth:

$29.2 Million


Background:

Lachlan holds a B.A. from Princeton University and has taken on the role of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Corporation. With family support, he runs significant media companies in the world, including The Sun and The Times in the UK, and The Wall Street Journal in the USA. After taking over the leadership due to his father's stepping down after decades leading the media empire, Lachlan has developed several media-related initiatives and has grown the family business substantially.



Jeff Bezos


Billionaire Jeff Bezos owner of The Washington Post

Political Affiliation:

Centre/Non-partisan


Supported Charities:

With Honor, Joining Forces Initiative and GovCloud


Interests:

Star Trek, Space Travel, Family, Self-care, Ocean Exploration


Country of Residence:

United States of America


Net Worth:

$182.1 Billion


Background:

A Princeton University graduate, Jeff is a 'poverty to success' story. He is the CEO and chairman of one of the world’s most successful companies: Amazon. Jeff has donated significant amounts of funds to candidates on both sides of the political spectrum in the USA. In 2013, his private company, Nash Holdings, bought The Washington Post for $250 million.



Naguib Sawiris


Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris and his influence on the news

Political Affiliation:

Free Egyptians Party/Liberal


Supported Charities:

Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Beirut Explosion Victim Support, Fight against Corona Virus.


Interests:

Politics


Country of Residence:

Egypt


Net Worth:

$3 Billion


Background:

Naguib is a member of one of the most influential families in Egypt. Educated in Zurich, he now owns businesses in several industries. He is vocal about his support for the development of Egypt and his affiliated political party, and admitted that his decision to buy a 53% stake in Euronews was motivated by political reasons. He is also significantly involved in charity work.


CNN and Stakeholder Workings

The process of decision making for a company when shareholders are concerned is a complicated one. Though essentially it involves a series of decisions that eventually provide a set of rules and aims that the company will answer to, through their approach to governance. Depending on the political affiliations, economic interests and personal feelings of the shareholders or their representatives, the ‘Rule Book’ will be formed. This is something that can be seen in the CNN chart, where the companies eventually end with stakeholders as owners.


Publicly Funded



Government of the Russian Federation and RT

Is Russia Today controlled by the government?

The Russian Government, in general, is more on the conservative side of politics, with the development of Russia economically and socially as a key long term initiative. RT, previously known as ‘Russia Today’, is now an internationally reaching news outlet founded by the Russian government in 2005.



British Government and the BBC

Is BBC News funded by the UK government?

The BBC is an interesting organisation, as even though we have categorised it with media entities under ‘Publicly Funded’, it is neither that nor a private organisation. The BBC is governed by two entities collaborating to ensure that it adheres to the government provided charter. They are dependent on compulsory licence fee payments from the public for funding.


Head to our article, Is the BBC really unbiased?, for more information.



Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Daily

Is People's Daily controlled by the Chinese Communist Party?

This paper is the representative of the sole political party in China. The party is of Communist political direction, though some methods of working by citizens suggest a capitalist approach to business dealings.


People’s Daily is directed and owned by the government.




Private and State sponsors differ greatly in their funding forms and governing methods. The above guide will hopefully provide some background on the owners of the news outlets and their interests.


In a previous article, we highlighted the importance of knowing what the motivations of any company are, as this can help us as readers determine the bias of any given article.



For more resources on media bias and ownership, head to our dedicated Fake News & Role of the Media section.

Recent Posts

See All