Agency and control in and of the media AOS 2 – Unit 4

Agency and control in and of the media

Unit 4 – Area of study 2

In this area of study we focus on learning the following dot points:

• The arguments and issues surrounding control of the media in a digital world.
• The dynamic and changing relationship between the media and its audiences. The power and agency of audiences.
• The use of media by globalised media institutions, the government and the individual.
• Regulation of the relationships between the media and its audience in Australia.
• Issues and challenges relating to regulation and control of the media.
• Ethical and legal issues in the production, distribution, consumption and reception of media products.

By the end of this area of study you should be able to Discuss, analyse and evaluate these dot points.

From the study design

The relationship between the media and audiences has never been more complex. The contemporary media
landscape poses issues and challenges for the way that academics and commentators have traditionally theorised
the nature of communication. The media has always been considered to have the capacity to influence, but now
the balance of power is shifting and arguments around who influences who have become highly contested. The
media and its audiences are now both thought to exercise agency; the capacity to act and exert power.

Today the media not only produces and distributes content to audiences, it also generates and sustains social
networks, which have, in turn, enabled new modes of production, distribution, consumption and reception based
on the sharing of commercial and user-generated content. This has contributed to business models based on data
aggregation and the harvesting and sale of personal information collected from what many individuals consider
social and personalised media engagement.

Laws and policies of the Australian Government and self-regulation by media institutions define and maintain
standards through regulatory bodies and codes of conduct, but individual interaction with other media users, as in
social networks, is not subject to these constraints. As the media increasingly crosses national borders, governments
struggle to maintain control over the laws and policies created for their jurisdictions. These issues pose challenges
for managing and regulating the use of the media by globalised media institutions, governments and the individual.

Key knowledge

• the dynamic and changing relationship between the media and its audience
• the influence of both the media and audience
• the way media is used by globalised media institutions, governments and the individual
• the rationale for regulating the relationships between the media and its audience in Australia
• the issues and challenges relating to regulation and control of the media
• ethical and legal issues in the production, distribution, consumption and reception of media products
• media language.

Key skills

• discuss the dynamic and changing relationship between the media and its audience
• discuss the extent of the influence of the media and media audience
• analyse the regulation of relationships between the media and its audience in Australia
• analyse issues and challenges relating to regulation and control of the media
• evaluate ethical and legal issues in the media
• use media language