Hegemony indirectly implies control in the political context before it has been associated in media studies. The media, especially in democratic countries, is regarded as the protector of freedom and the values of democracy. Therefore, the public significantly trusting the media unquestionably believe media news as true. On the basis of Gramsci’s media theory from which media hegemony was developed, public consent is the core in maintaining power. The media play a central role in influencing the beliefs and perception of the greater public from local to national and international realm. The theory suggests that while the public have great faith in the media, they consent it as true all the news that the media publish. In this context, the content of the article authored by Phillip Coorey published at Brisbane Times was structured to operate hegemony in which the article proposed to favor the interest of Julian Assange in the recent WikiLeaks issue.
The article argued on the basis of the earlier incident similar to the case as that of Peter Wright’s Spycatcher book opposed by Margaret Thatcher from being published ruled by the High Court of Australia with a decision favoring the publication of the book on the argument that the Australian court has no legal obligation in protecting any classified information of another government. The content of the article focused on establishing the fact based on a previous case to associate the same decision applied to the Assange case on WikiLeaks. On the basis that the previous case of Wright’s Spycatcher holds a strong legal argument, its use as a case in point to support the media debate over Assange’s case indicates the intention to establish public concurrence in favor of Assange, hence applying the concept of hegemony in this event.
One of the key discourses circulating in this event is the use of legal argumentation to correlate with the Assange case in the efforts to establish accuracy, hence media integrity, which is an important factor in the application of media hegemony. Integrity is important to successfully achieve public approval and consent. As the case of Assange is a legal issue, the use of another legal incident, which has been ruled and decided to favor the argument pursued in the article is important in promoting media hegemony.
The case of Assange on releasing confidential documents to the public is the center of a heated debate. In Coorey’s article, he takes Assange’s side in light of democratic values citing specific legal case relative to Assange’s case in the efforts to defend Assange’s interests from a legal perspective. Taking on the oppositional readings of this media event, the release of US confidential files must be dealt with appropriate action on the basis of erupting global distress agitating the international audience and disturbing the peace of the international community. Responsible media reporting is something that WikiLeaks missed, a quality that its founder, Assange, does not value. This is the challenge for the contemporary media – to be responsible in the midst of technological advancement where anything is possible. So, where ethics is concerned, the media must be the first to adhere because of the great power to influence the mass public from the global community that it holds. Media, at all times must be responsible while promoting democratic values – these two should not be confused. The case of Assange, the publication of secret information created conflict in the global community, which had a negative impact; it was published without weighing objectivity and without considering pros and cons for releasing the information to the public. There was no sense of responsibility on the part of Assange and on this event; therefore, in the context of media ethics and responsible reporting, the Assange case warrants prosecution.