Media Should Tell Reality, Not Reflection
16 March, 2007
By Tanveer Jafri
Media is defined as a powerful medium that shows the world the reality of the happenings that happen in almost all parts of the world. Even today, media is a medium which is greatly trusted. The happenings that happen in the streets or the news from the space or the achievements of the modern science or the new inventions, all these are a part of the society. Media is a medium that not only gives us knowledge of many subjects but in these days of electronic journalism, it enables us to see at the earliest face to face to these. Media which is hundred percent linked with social works, is a profession that has always faced the challenges that stood before it. But in the present age, when we talk of globalization and liberalism in the world and there is being polarisation the war and terrorism are the standing dangers before the world. At such a critical time the responsibility of the media increases many fold.
It is a matter of proud for the people who are active in the profession of media that society trusts the persons who are linked with it and as such people make them a medium of their knowledge and arguments. But it is a matter of sorrow that today the trust and impartiality of the media is coming in danger. It is also being seen that the inactiveness of media is also being questioned. At some places, media is being seen as playing in the hands of powerful countries & somewhere, it is being influenced by the market forces. At some places, the media is being eclipsed by regionalism, communalism, casteism & language whereas this pious profession which is associated with social works should deal with humanity & nothing else. Usually media claims to be impartial but is it reality? How far these claims are true? Is the society seeing the real picture of the world through media?
Today if we talk of international media, usually we see & hear what we are shown or told. Or it can be said that the part of the news which is considered important for showing or telling, only that aspect of the news is being brought in the open. If we talk about the entry of the American allied forces in Afghanistan or of American attack on Iraq, nobody from media was allowed to go to the battle field. Only the American news agency CNN was allowed to shot pictures from the war field. CNN could telecast his footage through its satellite, only after getting it sponsored by the American defence ministry Pentagon. Sometimes Pentagon itself showed the war scenes that it considered important.
During those war actions, whereas the people wanted to see the bravery of the Americans & the destruction scenes by the modern weapons, which was being shown by America, at the same time society was also eager to see the cries & pains of the victims, caused of those weapons. But those touching scenes were not being frequently shown. The sounds of the cannons & echoes of the war fighters were mainly in news that was telecasted. How far the media is impartial? Such activities of media obviously are unable to fulfil its duties before the public. People feel as if they have been cheated. It can’t be stopped here, when a TV Channel i.e. Al-Jazeera in Middle Asia, telecast the news of atrocities on citizens, then that Al-Jazeera studio is also made target of air attack. The reason of that attack is told that it expresses the biased side of the terrorists.
Some war analysts agree that the aim of use of modern weapon is also a demonstration of those weapons for bombing & air attack during war so that countries of the world may be influenced by the target strike of those weapons & in this way they may become customers of those weapons. The scenes of devastation, destruction & agonies of the innocents are not shown properly so that a wave of sympathy may not arise in favour of those victims. In this way people of the world will start hating the attacking country. This is still going on in the disturbed countries, Iraq & Afghanistan, even today.
On last March 4, Sunday, in Afghanistan, the freedom of the media was again suppressed. There was a suicidal attack on the American allied forces active in Afghanistan. In return, the American allied forces fired at the citizens there. In this shooting, ten innocent persons were killed & 35 were seriously wounded. A reporter of AP, a reputed news agency of the world made a video film, in which it was shown that the American soldiers were shooting three innocent Afghan citizens. Regarding this incident, Rehmat Gul, the photographer of AP himself narrates that he reached near the vehicle; he saw that the American soldiers, themselves were taking pictures of that vehicle. So Gul also started taking pictures. After that, two soldiers accompanied by an interpreter came near Gul & asked why he was taking those pictures & he had no permission for that. After that the soldiers took his camera & returned the same after destroying the video film. Before this incident, a camera from an Afghani journalist, Khanwali Kamran working for an Afghani channel was snatched by the American allied forces & was returned after destroying the video footage. Those soldiers warned Kamran to not to show that footage. Such incidents are common in Afghanistan & Iraq. It is not wrong to say that the most powerful country of the world, America is crushing the freedom of the media at one place or the other.
An institution, Reports Without Borders, works for the freedom of the media has criticized the behaviour of the American allied forces with journalists. They have told such incidents as a blow on the freedom of press. The spokesman of this institution, Julliard said that if soldiers had nothing to hide then why did they do so? Similarly in an air attack by NATO, in the Kapsia Province of Afghanistan, nine citizens were killed & there was vast destruction. It was also tried to hide this coverage.
In fact, there is a great responsibility of the persons who fix the policies of the media at international level. They are expected to ascertain the impartiality & freedom of the media & to free it from the influence of the powerful countries. If steps in this direction are not taken at the earliest & as the world is being polarized at this time, it is not a matter of to be astonished that a pious profession like media will fall in the eyes of the society & will became a part of the changing world system.