Restore the trust
That can only be possible if we drive out the bias
MEDIA BY ROZY GULZAR
Ours is the age of globalization and media has played unforgettable role in making the world a localized entity. Media highlights issues facing humanity. Thus it is serving the humanity by taking the role of a savior. However, we are told by people in the media industry that news bias is unavoidable. If impartiality was the only characteristic feature of media, it would not have been possible to see media biased. Whatever the distortions and inaccuracies found in the news, are caused by deadline pressures, human misjudgment, limited print space, scarce air time, budgetary restraints, and the difficulty of reducing a complex story into a concise report. Furthermore, the argument goes, no communication system can hope to report everything. Selectivity is needed, and some members of the public are bound to be dissatisfied.
It is agreed that such kinds of difficulties exist but still one is bound to see that the media's misrepresentations are not merely the result of innocent error and everyday production problems. True, the press has to be selective- but what principle of selectivity is involved? Media bias does not occur in random; rather it moves in the same overall direction again and again, favoring management over labor, corporations over corporate critics, officialdom over protesters, the two-party monopoly over leftist third parties, privatization and free market "reforms" over public sector development, U.S. dominance of the Third World over revolutionary or populist social change, national-security policy over critics of that policy and so on. The built-in biases of the corporate mainstream media faithfully reflect the dominant ideology, seldom straying into territory that might cause discomfort to those who hold political and economic power, including those who own the media or advertise in it. What follows is an incomplete sketch of the methods by which those biases are packaged and presented. None of the British dailies or TV news bulletins cover what is happening in Kashmir or any other conflict zone on a daily basis. It is only once in a blue moon that they carve a documentary out of some of the major happenings. The story of the summer tragedies in Kashmir of the last three years got almost unnoticed. The same approach is followed by the Indian news channels and newspapers.
Often, the media downplays truly sensational (as opposed to sensationalistic) stories. In 1965, the Indonesian military that was advised, equipped, trained, and financed by the U.S. military and the CIA, overthrew President Achmed Sukarno and eradicated the Indonesian Communist Party and its allies, killing half a million people (some estimates are as high as one million) in what was the greatest act of political mass murder since the Nazi Holocaust. The generals also destroyed hundreds of clinics, libraries, schools, and community centers that had been opened by the communists. Here was a sensational story if ever there was one, but it took three months before it received passing mention in Time magazine and yet another month before it was reported in The New York Times accompanied by an editorial that actually praised the Indonesian military for "rightly playing its part with utmost caution". At one time or another over the course of forty five years, the CIA involved itself with drug traffickers in Italy, France, Corsica, Indochina, Afghanistan, and Central and South America. Much of this activity was the object of extended congressional investigations and is a matter of public record. But the media seem not to have heard about it.
Considering all these factors, we desperately need some humane attitude on part of these media controlling organizations so that the trust in media is restored.
(Rozy Gulzar teaches (on contractual basis) Mass Communication and Journalism at Govt. Women’s College, Srinagar)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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