Skip to comments.Media terrorism (Al-Jazeera Bureau Chief: Sharon "Jewish butcher", Bush "the real terrorist")
Posted on 04/22/2004 5:02:53 PM PDT by milestogo
|AHMAD MUAFFAQ ZAIDAN
Some Media houses in Muslim countries have endeavored to break the monopolistic western, especially American, media hegemony. They have had some success but are far from the desired objectives. The driving force behind this struggle to counter the western media is heavy dependence on the rationale of power rather than the power of an innovative idea itself. This is the fault line that is not letting them take off. Views and information from powerful Western blocks virtually consume the major portion of broadcast prime time and space in print. But it is heartening that Arab media and Pakistani broadcast houses and print media have started causing dents in the Western news hegemony.
The West has been frustrated in imposing its religion-motivated ideological content through media warfare on Muslim states behind a facade of sloganeering on issues like human rights, democracy and press freedom. All news content behind these lofty universal ideas are designed to avert full exposure of the humiliation of humanity in occupied areas like Palestine, Held Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya.
After 9/11 we have to look at events in clearer perspective and evaluate media tricks being played upon nations struggling for freedom.
Things in the international media politics may not be as real as they are made to seem, particularly when it comes to terms like impartiality, objectivity or neutrality of media. The much trumpeted objectivity in Western newsmen shapes into other objective generally as they twist a certain angle to their reports.
Some new terms have surfaced in news agencies after the US occupation on Iraq. Now news wires use terms like causalities on the American side instead of specifying how many were killed or injured. News agencies cite eyewitnesses to report Iraqi deaths, but are reluctant to quote the same eyewitnesses about the number of Americans killed or injured. Wire agencies twist anti-American opposition parties statements to reduce the damage to US interests.
Free conscious people must wake up to this media terrorism in the name of impartiality. Ironically objectivity means only reporting for furthering the military and economic objectives of US and allied forces. One finds fanaticism when different Islamic websites, whose only fault is exposing US hypocrisy, are hacked and closed in the name of the war on terror. Such media terrorism is unacceptable. But our insensitivity to it is tantamount to a joke with suppressed nations. Perhaps apathy has taken over to the extent that we are waiting for the UN to rescue us and redefine journalistic ethics.
The Western media motto after 9/11 September, One voice for different worlds, has turned into another weapon of the ongoing media warfare against suppressed nations.
Terms like terrorists, fanatics, fundamentalists became Damocles swords for a few mediamen and media organisations. They have virtually demonised some religious and political parties like Ikhwan Al-Muslimoon or Jamaat Islami and JUI, among others.
We find ourselves still ignorant enough to conjecture about the criterion of these classifications imposed on the Third World. Who gives authority to mediamen to dub one party moderate and another extremist, while they do not find an iota of shame when committing media terrorism by using lofty words to describe the Jewish butcher Sharon and the real American terrorist Bush?
Imbalanced coverage of international events goes now without saying. See how trivial statements by any American officials become very important and hit the front pages worldwide, while statements by officials of other countries hardly find space on the inner pages, if not spiked.
It is no exaggeration that over 70 percent of international coverage of events emanates from the US administration. This means the source of the news stories is the US, which is attempting to mould the world to fit its hegemonic designs, while sane voices hibernate in the deserts unheard.
The media was largely fair before 9/11, but now the media should be blamed to some extent for propagating the WMD fiction to justify the US occupation of Iraq.
These double standards are not entirely restricted to southern or northern countries, but have crippling effects on the Third World. Pakistan is no exception. There is media hype about the presence of Al-Qaeda suspects here but does the media apply the same formula to Iran where the situation is not that different?
Pakistan is the worst victim of media onslaught for a variety of reasons, with Western prejudice a prominent cause for disseminating a negative image of it.
What is noticeable is the non-reflection of the real trends and political thoughts of Pakistani society in the media. This is because owners of some media outfits individually carry a liberal orientation to push their covert agenda, though some honourable exceptions do exist.
People expect the media to inform them of the actual situation on ground fearlessly. Non-reporting of events and twisted analysis does not satisfy viewers and readers that the media is free in Muslim countries. But there are encouraging signs in the form of tangible efforts by the media in Arab and other Muslim countries to portray the other side of events that the western media systematically attempts to black out or twist so as to protect the interests of the masterminds of the capitalist mode of world governance.
Stubborn objectivity sometimes by media-men in their reporting precipitates an unrealistic picture as their obsession to present two sides in a balanced manner, reflects realities in an imbalanced manner. This causes confusion for readers and viewers as they overshadow the existence of overwhelming ground realities. This turns readers and viewers doubtful, who find it difficult to absorb twisted facts. Therefore, the main objective of mediamen should be to ensure an objective reflection of realities, and not twist facts in the name of presenting the other side of the picture.
Readers and viewers are looking for coverage the way it was done during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But now the media seems to have become blind largely towards what actually is happening inside troubled Afghanistan.
The writer is Bureau Chief, Al-Jazeera, Islamabad
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, assistant commander of 101st Airborne Division, speaks about the military's role in rebuilding Iraq (news - web sites) during at The Princeton Colloquium on Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., Friday, April 23, 2004. Schloesser and Rend Rahim Francke, ambassador of Iraq to the United States, discussed the future of Iraq at the conference. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)
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