Monopoly of media outlets such as newspapers, film, television, radio, and satellite broadcasting, may be on a national or international level. Monopoly may be commercial or governmental, in which case it may be used directly or indirectly for propaganda purposes. Commercial monopoly may restrict freedom of expression according to the tolerance of its advertising clientele, may produce material only for the majority audience, or may use broadcasting to favour commercial interests. Media monopoly may facilitate repression and political control, and the continuance of existing inequalities, injustices and exploitation.
Monopoly of communications media by one or a few countries on the international level is particularly notable in satellite transmission, film and television production. It may be supported by restrictive legislation, and is a result of the concentration of wealth and technological expertise in certain countries. Effective monopoly of certain media on an international level facilitates the spreading of propaganda and indoctrination, may give rise to subversive activities and corruption, and strengthens foreign influence and control. For example, cable services are the only source of international news used by a great many newspapers and other media in developing countries. The reportage of UPI, AP, or AFP, however, cannot assess the relevance of news to the interests of particular regions and their coverages may be biased or inadequate.
World Reporter is a comprehensive, global news source, developed jointly by three of the world's leading information companies: The Dialog Corporation, Financial Times Information, and Dow Jones and Company. By 1998 it offered access to over 500 international business news sources. The database was at that time being investigated by the European Commission to see if it contravenes its anti-competition law.