How the Media Manipulates Us into War
TMS PEACE JOURNALISM, 30 Jan 2012
Generally, people assume that the media has the responsibility of presenting the truth and nothing but the truth in its journalistic reports about peace and war. It is agreed that an informed public is less likely to go to war.
The Transcend Media Service of the pioneering Johan Galtung nonviolence Transcend group in Norway, has presented a ‘video of the week’ from Global Research TV revealing some startling facts about mainstream media. The 14-minute video on line ‘Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War‘ is worth watching. Summary:
‘As the US and Iranian governments escalate tensions in the already volatile Straits of Hormuz, and China and Russia begin openly questioning Washington’s interference in their internal politics, the world remains on a knife-edge of military tension. Far from being a dispassionate observer of these developments, however, the media has in fact been central to increasing those tensions and preparing the public to expect a military confrontation. But as the online media rises to displace the traditional forms by which the public forms its understanding of the world, many are now beginning to see firsthand how the media lies the public into war.’
To help journalists make a correct picture of the world, Transcend offers a Solutions-Oriented Peace Journalism service to the public. Jake Lynch, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney presents a feature article: What is Peace Journalism?
In his opening remarks, Professor Lynch states: ‘Peace journalism is when editors and reporters make choices — about what to report, and how to report it — that create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict.’
While the conventions of war journalism usually assumes a zero-sum game, leaving only further violence as a possible response, peace journalism, as a remedial strategy, chooses to supplement the news conventions by giving peace a chance. Here are five characteristics of peace journalism offered by Professor Lynch:
- Explores the backgrounds and contexts of conflict formation, presenting causes and options on every side (not just “both sides”);
- Gives voice to the views of all rival parties, from all levels;
- Offers creative ideas for conflict resolution, development, peacemaking and peacekeeping;
- Exposes lies, cover-up attempts and culprits on all sides, and reveals excesses committed by, and suffering inflicted on, peoples of all parties;
- Pays attention to peace stories and post-war developments.
Of course, peace journalism is in favour of truth, as any must be. However, as a legitimate strategy in reporting especially on war and peace, it opens up multiple opportunities to inspect propaganda and other self-serving representations. As alternative media journalists, let us try to use as many of the five characteristics as listed above, while also avoiding demonizing language, labeling and so forth. By so doing, we will serve the public better and hopefully we will help give peace a chance.
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