Sunday, 4 March 2018

The bloody lens

Last Thursday I attended a discussion/seminar on the role of media and war reporting.  To be honest, I signed up for this thinking there would be some really good answers or solutions to the way media reports news of war, death, and destruction. There were none!  However, halfway through the presentations I asked myself if I had any answers or proposals for journalists as to how they could or should do the job of reporting war, terrorism and the like.  Surprisingly I didn't have a clear picture or at least one without fueling the event being reported.

Thereon what one of the speakers stated made much sense.  He was for reporting individual lives and events rather than mass numbers and mega wars and attacks.  He said that merely reporting acts of terror or war only 'feeds the monsters'.  He was not for comparing numbers of deaths in combat or terror attacks as this was in a way being insensitive and leading to insensitivity. 

Figures and numbers matter but
  • only in as much as each death counts as an individual loss
  • not when leading to an 'us vs them' attitude
  • not at the cost of becoming insensitive to other forms of violence which are actually more painful and prevalent than a terror attack
  • they actually carry out the propaganda sought by the terrorists and bombers (actions are theirs but the voice and message is carried forth by the media!)

Focusing on numbers and discussing the scale of violence is only feeding the monster rather than reporting news and making a positive difference.  Of course, there is the media bias that no reporter or channel can escape.  And neither is every situation the same or a seamless robe.  

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