Monday, 30 June 2014

Al Jazeera journalists or the Christians of Mosul? News priorities yet again

Last week's western media coverage of the jailing of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt raises some important questions for us who are 'consumers' of their 'product' - as we have to concede that is in effect what have become and that is what we receive in today's global information market. 

No one could argue with the basic premise that the muzzling of journalists or their intimidation is wrong in principle and undesirable in practice, * as is any threat to the free exchange of news and ideas, yet there's little doubt that the coverage was entirely disproportionate, say, in comparison with that of the recent persecution and 'cleansing' of the Christian minorities of the Middle East. [see here

All institutions, whether supermarket chains, health services or news organisations - not to mention others closer to home -  have a regrettable (but preventable) tendency to become self-referential and self-serving. But did this particular problem lie with a misjudgement on the part of news editors, or is it part of a deeper problem that our mass media only tend to sit up and take notice when one of their own is threatened, or when a news story somehow 'fits' the prevailing cultural or political narrative? Our contemporary media, largely the cheerleaders of the' dictatorship of relativism' tend to be remarkably absolutist when it comes to journalistic freedom ....

The issue is only so important to the average listener or viewer because information is increasing filtered- and filtered increasingly -  through the lens of those whose political and cultural agenda remains substantially hidden,  and in itself places a large question mark over exactly how 'free' we can really consider ourselves to be. 
In the 'mainstream' media in Britain, where are the alternative voices? How competitive is the 'market' in broadcast news?

* Although, journalistic freedom was very much restricted by the Western Allies 'in the national interest' during the Second World War and, of course, in more recent conflicts: the present Egyptian Government certainly believes it is fighting a war of a kind ... not that that is much of a justification - at least  to those of us who are not having to live in that divided and violent society. 
And for a take on the Egyptian situation you will not often come across in the media see various statements here

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