Most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London, and Paris.

These agencies often report on the same topics, using similar wording, and are used by governments and military to spread messages globally.

For example, a study of the Syrian war coverage by nine leading European newspapers found that 78% of articles were based on agency reports, with 82% of opinion pieces favouring US and NATO intervention.

The three global news agencies are

  • American Associated Press (AP),
  • French Agence France-Presse (AFP), and
  • Reuters.

These agencies have thousands of employees worldwide and provide news to thousands of international media outlets, reaching more than half of the world’s population daily. Despite their importance, global agencies are virtually unknown to the public. They are described as the “invisible nerve center” of the media system.

National agencies often rely on these global agencies for international news, simply copying and translating their reports.

Global agencies remain unknown because radio and television rarely name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines. Newspapers often use agency material without labeling it, or partially rewrite it to appear as an editorial contribution.

The dominance of a few global news agencies has significant implications, especially around propagandising masses of people.

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