Democracy is pretty much a majority rules version of choosing our leaders and representatives.
A public broadcaster is essential in a democracy because things like the news definitely impact and influence the way people vote.
If people have access to public broadcasting for their news then they would be likely to have a better picture of what's going on in the world compared to someone who prefers independent media, who would probably only see one perspective.
'We need news that is free from political and commercial pressure for the health of our system.'
Public media is unbiased because it is not owned by one particular group or person.
Because of this, public media will cover the news truthfully, so people get the whole story instead of just one opinion on the story.
Independent media is generally owned by a powerful, rich person (usually a man) who wants to broadcast the news, but only in the way they interpret it or so it benefits them.
We need news that is free from political and commercial pressure for the health of our system.
For example, if the rich powerful owner of an independent broadcaster got in trouble for something, they wouldn't report on it or they would report on it in a way that made it look like they were in the right.
A headline by The Age (which is an independent newspaper), 'Murdoch and the coup: The ''cancer'' eating away at our democracy' and a headline from Herald Sun (which is owned by Rupert Murdoch), 'Murdoch, Kerr honoured in UK Australia Day awards' demonstrate the way independent media can change how people see news.
So of course, Rupert Murdoch is only going to let good articles about him be published in the newspaper he owns.
People can't usually spot media bias, unless it's against what they believe.
'Research shows that Republicans and Democrats spot bias only in articles that clearly favour the other party. If an article tilts in favour of their own party, they tend to see it as unbiased.'
Generally, biased articles don't give you all the facts, only the ones that support their point. Public media gives you the facts.
You wouldn't get 'Pineapple belongs on pizza', as a headline, it would be more like '68% of people in Australia believe that pineapple belongs on pizza' (which is a completely made up stat).
Sure, there are still opinion pieces published and shared by public media, but that's different.
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Public media identify their opinion pieces as 'opinion pieces' while independent media tend to sell their opinion pieces as the truth or even as news articles.
Having an entire broadcaster based on someone's opinions is purely influential and untruthful.
What's even the point of being biased though? Well, it's all to do with money. Public media isn't under pressure to make money.
They don't care how much they earn in a year, their main purpose is to inform people of news or entertain people.
Because they don't care about how much money they make, they're going to give you the facts, which aren't necessarily what you want to hear, but what you should hear.
Also, public media is free for anyone to access, no monthly subscriptions or scrounging together coins to buy the week's newspaper because you remembered you were in the background of a photo.
Independent media can slightly change facts, or only give you part of the story so that it's what you want to hear and you're more likely to give them money to access their broadcasting.
Then, when they build up a big subscriber/fan base, they make a lot more money off advertising.
So, to put this in a way that's easier to understand, here's a more relatable situation.
Imagine you're in class at school and you're voting on your class captains. There are two people running, but you're not sure who to vote for.
The friend to the left of you tells you that Jessica is nice to people but did flip Roger off yesterday after he said she was stupid because she's a girl.
The friend to the right of you (who is really popular and hears about all the gossip) tells you 'OMG, Jessica is like soo rude, she totally flipped Roger off for like no reason yesterday and I heard that she only wants to get voted in so she can get a super shiny badge.'
This is an example of how broadcasting affects democracy. By leaving out information to make something seem one way, or being biased because they want something from you is common in independent media, but something you'd never see in public media.
And as a bonus, public media has no ads, which is great, because you can watch an entire show without being interrupted by Clive Palmer banging on about nothing.
So bringing all these points together, we can conclude that having a public broadcaster is very essential for a democracy.
Audrey English is a Year 9 student at Ballarat High School.
She was announced as the winner of the Ballarat ABC Friends essay competition on Thursday.
The competition encouraged Year 9 to 12 students to respond to the theme: 'that a public broadcaster is essential in a democracy'.