I was speaking at lunch the other day with a few people about the parlous state of the Australian media – I was horrified (again) that the Daily Telegraph had decided to replace its back page with even more advertising, as well as more coverage of the State of Origin, where they rather memorably accused the QLD team of ‘soaking.’ Last time I checked, people sulked, but anyway…
I was surprised to hear that the vast majority of people that I was talking with hadn’t heard anything about the massive protests going on in Europe about Monsanto. Basically (and this is very much a condensed version), citizens of European countries have been concerned that Monsanto is trying to lobby the EU to approve the use of GM Foods in Europe (as has already happened in the US, where Monsanto owns more than 90% of the staple crops). As part of the March Against Monsanto, more than 2 million people from more than 50 countries mobilized and protested against this – ultimately forcing Monsanto to retreat from their plans.
So far, so good, right? People power, pressuring their elected representatives, challenging the power of capitalist organisations. Except there has been little to no coverage of these marches in the mainstream media. Let’s put that in perspective – more than 2 million people protested about this – that’s a tenth of the population of Australia.
It’s a pretty damning indictment of the so-called ‘free’ media, when they are clearly not covering this because of the links Monsanto has with organisations purporting to be free and independent. Ultimately, this is what democracy has become – the institutions are all there, but in reality the decisions are made in backrooms by people with vested interests, long before voting even enters the equation.