Media transparency

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Media transparency (or transparent media), sometimes also referred to as media opacity,[1] is a concept explores how and why information subsidies are being produced, distributed and handled by media professionals, including journalists, editors, public relations practitioners, public affairs specialists, and spokespeople. In short, media transparency reflects the relationship between journalists and news sources.


Media transparency deals with the openness and accountability of the media and can be defined as a transparent exchange of information subsidies based on the ideas of newsworthiness.[2] Media transparency is one of the biggest challenges of contemporary everyday media practices around the world as media outlets and journalists constantly experience pressures from advertisers, information sources, publishers, and other influential groups.[3]

News sources may influence what information is published or not published. Sometimes, published information can also be paid for by news sources, but the end media product (an article, a program, a blog post) does not clearly indicate that the message has been paid or influenced in any way. Such media opacity, or media non-transparency, ruins the trust and transparency between the media and the public and have implications for transparency of new forms of advertising and public relations (such as native advertising and brand journalism).[4]

Media transparency is a normative concept and is achieved when: 1) there are many competing sources of information; 2) the method of information delivery is known; and 3) funding of media production is disclosed and publicly available.[4]

Media bribery[edit]

The concept of media bribery emerged in response to claims of bias within the media. This lack of media transparency can be perceived as a form of corruption.[5] Media transparency is a means to diminish unethical and illegal practices in the relationships between news sources and the media.[6] So to have bribery in part with this transparency makes for an unjust practice of media and citizen relations.

Indirect payments and influences were defined as “any type of non-monetary reward to a journalist, editor, or media outlet or the existence of a media policy which dictates, encourages indirect payments or influences the financial success and independence of the media outlet or its employees” (source).


Academics at the University of Oxford and Warwick Business School, conducting empirical research on the operation and effects of transparent forms of clinical regulation in practice, describe a form of 'spectacular transparency'. The social scientists suggest that government policy tends to react to high-profile media 'spectacles', leading to regulatory policy decisions that appear to respond to problems exposed in the media have new perverse effects in practice, which are unseen by regulators or the media.[7][8]

The degree to which state agents work to influence video production contradicts the use of those images by news organizations as indexical, objective representations. Because people tend to strongly equate seeing with knowing, video cultivates an inaccurate impression that they are getting the "full picture". It has been said that "what is on the news depends on what can be shown". The case studies (include case studies) for this project demonstrate that what can be shown is often decided in concern with political agents. Essentially, the way the media presents its information creates an illusion of transparency.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Plaisance, Patrick Lee (2007-06-18). "Transparency: An Assessment of the Kantian Roots of a Key Element in Media Ethics Practice". Journal of Mass Media Ethics. 22 (2–3): 187–207. doi:10.1080/08900520701315855. ISSN 0890-0523. S2CID 144749064.
  2. ^ Merrill, John (1995). Global journalism: Survey of international communication. White Plains, NY: Longman. pp. 77–87. ISBN 978-0801305122.
  3. ^ "International Index of Bribery for News Coverage 2003 | Institute for Public Relations". Institute for Public Relations. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  4. ^ a b Tsetsura, Katerina; Kruckeberg, Dean (2017). Transparency, Public Relations and the Mass Media: Combating the Hidden Influences in News Coverage Worldwide. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781351743952.
  5. ^ "Transparency and Quality Journalism". UNSOCIAL MEDIA. 2006-05-10. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  6. ^ "IPRA | Charter for Media Transparency". Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  7. ^ McGivern, Gerry; Fischer, Michael D (2010). "Medical regulation, spectacular transparency and the blame business". Journal of Health, Organization and Management. 24 (6): 597–610. doi:10.1108/14777261011088683. PMID 21155435.
  8. ^ McGivern, Gerry; Fischer, Michael D. (1 February 2012). "Reactivity and reactions to regulatory transparency in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling" (PDF). Social Science & Medicine. 74 (3): 289–296. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.09.035. PMID 22104085.
  9. ^ Mary Angela Block, "Who's Minding the Gate? : Pool Feeds, Video Subsidies, and Political Images", "The International Journal of Press and Politics", April 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2011.

Further reading[edit]