Published By: Alfaraz Laique

Filters faced by Mass Media

During the first half of 19th century, a radical press came into existence that reached working class audience. It was seen as a major threat by the ruling elites and thus the idea of curbing the voice of press emerged. As a result, several attempts like imposition of various taxes and requirement of expensive security bonds as a condition for publication were made.

Ownership – The First Filter

Press was the first form of media known to human beings. The first filter they faced during their inception was of ownership. During this period, due to increase in capital cost, not one new local working class daily was established. This filter – the limitation on ownership of media with any substantial outreach by the requisite large size of investment, was applicable a century or more ago, and it has become increasingly effective over time. The media is tiered, and the top tier is controlled by larger corporations and government. Centralization within this tier is increased after the rise of television. In US, twenty media giants are owned and controlled by wealthy people. The information presented to the public is different as per the interests of these organizations. As a part of maximizing profit, they show what the owner wants and sacrifice the objective of news.

License – The Second Filter

Since mid 20th century, advertising served as a powerful tool in weakening the working class press. Before advertising, the price of a newspaper had to cover the cost of doing business and after the capital cost increased due to taxes and security bonds, lack of advertisement became a serious disadvantage for press. A market share and advertising edge gave additional revenue to compete more effectively, promote more aggressively and buy more salable features and programs. After the introduction of press advertising, working class papers are suffering from existential crisis. With advertisement becoming prime source of funding, filtration of news in favor of advertisement providers also started.  The power of the advertisers over television programming stems from the simple fact that they buy and pay for the programs, they provide subsidy to the media and they control the content.


Communism is always seen as an ultimate evil by the elites as it takes away their property, wealth and power. It possesses a threat to their superior position and high class. The Soviet, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions were a headache to Western elites. The American elites even feared the word communism which was exact opposite to their ideology of mobilizing the people against an enemy. This ideology helps in dividing people and thus serves as political control mechanism.