Media proprietor

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A media proprietor is a person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position in a public company, a significant part of the mass media. Media proprietors are commonly called "media moguls", "tycoons", "barons", or "bosses".

The figure of the media proprietor first became prominent in the 19th century with the development of mass circulation newspapers. In the United Kingdom they included Lord Northcliffe, Lord Rothermere and Lord Beaverbrook, and were known as "press barons" since most of them were given peerages. In the United States the best known press tycoon was William Randolph Hearst.

In the 20th century the definition of proprietorship expanded to include ownership of radio and television networks, as well as film studios, publishing houses and more recently internet and other forms of multimedia companies. The term "press baron" was replaced by "media" baron, reflecting this. Some of the most prominent media proprietors of recent decades have been Rupert Murdoch, Robert Maxwell, Marshall Naify, Conrad Black, Silvio Berlusconi, Axel Springer and Ted Turner.

Media proprietors are frequently accused of using their positions to further political agendas, and some of them have in fact done so. The British press barons exercised personal control over their papers and used them to wage political campaigns, usually though not always in the interests of the Conservative Party. British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin once accused the London press of "exercising the prerogative of the harlot through the ages: power without responsibility." In recent years Rupert Murdoch has been frequently accused of abusing his media power to support such politicians as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, John Howard, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy. In Italy Silvio Berlusconi allegedly used his almost total control of the country's commercial television system to make himself Prime Minister.

[edit] List of media proprietors

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