Media wars
Empire asks what the real purpose behind a raft of new national news channels is.
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2009 12:00 GMT

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In today's "information age" it could be said that true power often lies with those who control the flow of information.

Empire traces how global media has been dominated firstly by traditional superpowers and more recently by new high-tech giants who are increasingly dominating almost all forms of media, whether on the airwaves, in print or on the web.

The future of journalism in this new media landscape is unclear as are, many have suggested, the real purpose behind a raft of new national news channels.
Propaganda, often labelled a so-called battle for hearts and minds, has long been an essential tool for superpowers such as the US.

To project their influence and authority around the globe, once dominat empires like France and Russia, and emerging powers such as China and Iran all now have 24 hour TV news channels beaming their version of events into homes around the world as they try to compete with US media giants for global influence. 

This month's guests

Christine Ockrent
CEO, France 24

Greg  Dyke
Former director general, BBC

John Owen
International journalism, City University, London

Richard Gizbert
Presenter, The Listening Post

They have also begun broadcasting in Arabic as the greater Middle East becomes the new focal point for global influence.

Paradoxically, the likes of Washington's AlHurra channel or London's BBC Arabic cannot be seen in their own lands.
But the new frontline is online. While the technological revolution helped liberalise and popularise information like never before, Web-based giants have been attempting to monopolise  the alternative global source for information.

Google and its subsidiary Youtube are one example. As this web empire ventured into news, it sucked content and readers from traditional news sources and, in the process, the lifeblood from the print media, the backbone of modern journalism.
With global media now in the hands of supra-national players peddling their own agendas and internet giants in search of profit and influence, Empire asks what's the future for journalism in the age of media empires.

Empire can be seen from Wednesday, August 26, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0300, 1400; Friday: 0600.

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