In this part of the world, we have become far too accustomed to various things. One of those things is being continually told by people located to the West of us that they know what’s happening in our countries far better than we do. Often it doesn’t stop there as these Westerners then take the time to explain, in the manner of one explaining quantum physics to a 3-year-old, why they, in fact, are so much better than us in understanding what’s going on.
I, for one, don’t buy that, and nor do a lot of others who don’t appreciate being talked down to. Let us never forget that if the West’s grasp on capitalism outplayed that of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the second half of the last century, it’s solely due to the fact that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were stymied by the very people who are now trying to lord it over us.
Media pluralism remains a stalwart topic that politicians and others can drag out of the bag and republish whenever they feel the need to remind people that they are continually fighting the good fight, no matter how ridiculous an idea that might, in actual fact, be.
Recently, as part of an ongoing, repeated assault, Hungary and Poland have been lambasted for their presumed lack of media pluralism. This irritates for two distinct reasons. Firstly, there is an automatic assumption, perpetually propagated, that Hungarian and Polish media magnates can never hope to come even close to the ideal of media independence whereas Westerners are born with an innate, undeniable sense of impartiality.
Written down in black and white, I can’t think that anyone would or even could realistically seek to assert that such a claim could ever hope to gain support, but this is the sort of claim which is never written down.
As such, it’s accepted without a quibble by people in the West.
Recently, since the leaders of Hungary and Poland decided that the amount of propaganda being released by media outlets owned by foreigners was starting to take the piss, plans were enacted to fight back against the tide of lies and filth that are habitually written about Hungary and Poland both within and without the two countries.
Anything which comes close to touching the subject of media independence is, of course, a red rag to a bull. The foreign media owners, having kicked in the post-communist doors and rushed in to rape and pillage at will, are upset in a truly capitalist manner and seek to win the right to remain in situ, raking in cash by any means available. And were that not enough, there are plenty of post-communist, reformed communists and all manner of other types of communists eagerly awaiting the chance to impress their foreign masters with evidence of just how useful they can be against their own country. As a result we spend our days in this part of the world reading about media concerns that keep Westerners awake at night, forever fretting about the one-sided information that is being forced down the throats of the poor unsuspecting saps that inhabit our part of the world.
But on the subject of media pluralism. Thank you very much, but it’s very much alive and well in this part of the world. And, if you had the intelligence to understand our language rather than just accepting as truth that which is passed to you by various groups, all of which have an axe to grind, then you, too, would see what we keep on telling you: there is more pluralism here than you could shake a stick at!
That, unfortunately, is the basis of every occasion of misunderstanding, intended or accidental, which we are regularly exposed to when anyone in the West condescends to examine our media products for evidence of objectivity. True to the patronising, condescending nature of those fretting about our media, the basic rule should be: if you can’t understand the language, don’t presume to judge. If these people were slightly less in awe of their own apparent pre-eminence, they might see the logic of only expressing an opinion on something you actually understand.
But, enough of complaints about the lack of media pluralism to be found in this part of the world. Let’s turn the mirror around for a moment.
Take Britain, for example. How many men do you think control the printed news media? Would it surprise you to learn that, in a direct affront to the ideal of plurality, the number in question is four?
Yes, the British printed news media is owned by four men. Stick that in your plurality pipe and smoke it!
It’s an interesting statistic that from mid-2019 until towards the end of 2020, three of the four press barons and their representatives met with ministers more than the rest of the UK media combined. Those men were Rupert Murdoch, Viscount Rothermere, and Sir Fred Barclay. Those three men, along with Evgeny Lebedev own three-quarters of newspaper circulation in the UK. But have we heard any screams and shrieks of complaint from...well, anyone? Now that Britain has left the EU, we could perhaps understand why the EU are not wailing and gnashing their teeth at the dire state of Britain’s media pluralism, but nobody seemed to be concerned when they were members. I mean, it’s not like they were ‘flash-in-the-pan’ members; they were there for...forty-seven years. So, why was there no tantrum in Brussels about the lack of media plurality?
Perhaps it was exactly for the reasons we will always suspect, the inherent bigoted opinions of those who inhabit the Western part of Europe. Failing to recognise the responsibility the West bear for the post-WWII situation that was forced upon the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe does nothing but play into the bigger line of bigotry that has been allowed to become standard. Western cultural imperialism dictates that we are desperately in need of assistance from the West not only on account of having recently thrown off the shackles of communism (that the West helped us into), but also due to the fact that we speak a language that the West is unable to understand either on a cultural or linguistic level. It’s really that simple. They can’t read what we write, and so are at the mercy of those who can, and believe them without question.
If you can’t fucking read, that’s your problem.
In the meantime, as you consider improving your skill, you might want to think about cleaning up your own garden before poking criticism at anyone else’s.