Mar 4, 2011

Responsible Media

The media plays an important role not only in the dissemination of information, but also in influencing people’s thinking on issues. As history has taught us the media can be used quite successfully in pushing propaganda – positively and negatively.
Knowing all this, it is little wonder politicians often court journalists to gain favourable reporting and when that isn’t forthcoming tightening of media control often follows (where the systems allow it). Politicians love their cheerleaders, and often times journalists don’t mind being manipulated to distort facts for the benefit of their patrons because it may mean job security or even protection from physical harm.
 It is maddening to see what I refer to as the ‘hyper-sensationalisation’ of the news – when a particular new item is bludgeoned to death by being in constant rotation by various media outlets such the 24-hour cable news channels, newspapers, radio stations, etc. And conversely, other new stories go virtually unreported because they don’t fit the current spin cycle and don’t bring in as much of an audience (which can be translated to less money from sponsors).
I see media as custodians of the truth, or at least that’s what they should be. They have the capacity to report on stories that often go unseen by the average person, and also the moral obligation to fact check before going public with news stories. I applaud the brave journalists who still do this and do not try to sway public opinion based on personal prejudice or vendetta.
I don’t like to see divisions in what is termed pro-government vs. anti-government reporting. What we need is truth in reporting. Report on the stories that matter regardless of the protagonists and antagonists. Back it up with facts. And stand for the truth.
Many of us are weary of petty stories with lurid details that serve only as a distraction from real issues and ultimately insult our intelligence. We can do better.


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