Why Jack Ma bought SCMP?

The South China Morning Post is one of the most influencing English-language newspaper in HK and its political spectrum was changing dramatically. The journal’s circulation has been relatively stable for years — the average daily circulation stands at 100,000. On 5 April 2016 Alibaba Group completed the acquisition with 2.06 billion Hong Kong dollars.

Many of us may raise a question about why Jack Ma purchased SCMP. As mentioned by Jack Ma, he wanted SCMP to be a global media by taking the responsibility to report China in order to let the foreigners know more about China in a more angle ways without misunderstanding.

However, many people think what’s said wasn’t true at all because there is a big conspiracy behind. Jack Ma once said ‘fall in love with the government but don’t marry them’. That makes people thought that he had a close relationship with the Mainland government and hence this action is related to Beijing. Eventually, the Hong Kong media will then be controlled by the Chinese government.

Actually, I am not Jack Ma so I cannot tell the actual reason why Jack Ma bought SCMP. However, I believe with the access to Alibaba’s resources, strong database and their relationships, the reports on Asia and China will be more accurate which will be beneficial to China, also to Alibaba. Jack Ma can then successfully expand his business in Mainland without the intervention of the government.

So media is inevitably biased? Can we build a truly objective media outlet (avoid the five filters)?

I think it’s impossible to build a truly objective media outlet because there are still lots of restrictions upon their operation including the five filters analyzed below.

For ownership:

Since mainstream media outlets are currently either large corporations or part of conglomerates, the information presented to the public will be biased with respect to these interests. Also, they want to maximize their profits which means news objectivity stand to be sacrificed and the news sources ultimately survive must be fundamentally biased. What if the media is owned by the citizen or even the government? I don’t think that will be a good idea or possible to prevent this filter. Below is a table of six big media conglomerates in 2014, including some of their subsidiaries.

For Advertising:

Most newspapers have to attract advertising in order to cover the costs of production; without it, they would have to increase the price of their newspaper. As we all know that, most of the newspaper are now distributed to the people for free. So we can try to think about that without advertising, can they all survive? Of course not! Since there is fierce competition throughout the media to attract advertisers, the media may treat the press as a product to cater to their advertiser’s or public’s interests. Some may suggest the government can give subsidies to them in order to help them to reduce their operating costs, but at the same time, some may worry the news media is controlled by the government.

For Sourcing:

Since we most of the news media want to get the first-hand information to press immediately, they must maintain a relatively good relationship with the government and also the business sector. For example, British newspapers are dependent upon the pronouncements of “the Prime Minister’s personal spokesperson” for government news. Thus, the media has become reluctant to run articles that will harm corporate interests.

For Flack:

It refers to negative responses to a media statement or program. I think every news media want to receive recognition from their readers rather than receive their complaints. That may force them to cancel some information that is important to the public so that they can survive.

For Ideological Marginalization:

Anti-ideologies exploit public fear and hatred of groups that pose a potential threat, either real, exaggerated or imagined. Communism once posed the primary threat according to the model. We cannot avoid this filter easily as different journalists and news media company may have their personal thoughts, some may propose terrorism while some may propose communism. What we can do is just support the new media that have the same common values with us and then for those marginalize media will be eliminated.

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