Representations of conflict in western media

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According to me the author says, "Reach and the influence of media in the modern world is so persuasive that it shapes, unconsciously, the way we think about the foreign culture with which we have little other contact".

The key points in the article are as follows:

  • Media "plays god" in terms of its influence on the extent and nature of western response.
  • Indirect influence in determining the level of humanitarian engagement on the part of West.
  • Lack of values associated with Western culture, which leads to misunderstandings about the nature of foreign cultures.
  • Direct manipulation of the media by the Western political powers.
  • Media are subject to market forces, driven to put eye-catching scoops to attract new viewers or at least keep the existing one.
  • Media will cover those stories which will catch most interest to the maximum number of people.
  • Television taking over the word "printed" as the main source of news.
  • The power of imagery by television means people developing ideas of foreign culture on the basis of these images.

Finally the author concludes saying, Media both helps in forming such perceptions, and is itself informed by them. Western policy makers are influenced by the media. The inability of the western media to portray accurately the realities of far away conflicts, and the dangers presented by misrepresentation, make the development and the support of southern media an urgent task.

Critical Review

I do think that this article 'Representations of conflict in the western media. The manufacture of a barbaric periphery' by Atkinson is relevant in today's world. Article stresses on the "reach and the influence of media in the modern world is so persuasive that it shapes, unconsciously, the way we think about the foreign culture with which we have little other contact"

Mass media acts a vital role in forming and reflecting public view, relating the world to individuals and reproducing the opinion of you of society. The media have a strong social and cultural contact upon society too. This is predicated upon their capability to reach a wide audience with a strong and powerful message. "The medium is the message" means of explaining how the allocation of a message can often be more important than content of the message itself. It is through the expressiveness of media such as television, radio and print media that messages reach their target audiences. These have been dominant media as they have been largely accountable for structuring people's daily lives and routines. Television broadcasting has a large amount of power over the content society watches and the times in which it is viewed. This is a unique feature of customary media which new media have challenged by altering the participation habits of the public. The internet creates a room for more varied political opinions, social and cultural viewpoints and a heightened stage of consumer contribution. There have been suggestions that allowing customers to create information through the internet will lead to an excess of information.

An individual's knowledge has been formed by mass media. People's inquiry and learning of its world is from television, film screen and what they read from newspaper. Western media shapes perception of a particular culture in the mind of the international audience. Hence, we could monitor that Western media institutions take part in very central role in delivering all international news. The stream of information has been subjugated by Western culture. Western media dedicate only a small amount of news space to cover Third World countries. Most mass media in non-Western countries are communicating news taken directly from Western media.

Representation of the Third World countries in Western media is a very popular study. Western media be inclined to depict people in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America as childlike, instinctual, and close to nature, as per the article from Aykut Hamit Turan, Selcuk Colakoglu, and Bengu Emine Colakoglu in "Perceptional Differences of International News: Western Media Influence on Non-Western Media".

A nation receives negative coverage; and these attributes are reflected in the news channel that would mentally cause individual to link these negative attributes to the particular nation. International news events are exposed to a limited number of nations and regions. This lack of balance in coverage provides strong support for the new world information order perspective and is likely to impact the Western countries. Unfortunately, western news media does not cover small peripheral nations which remain uncovered. On the other hand, omission is considered as bias to the Third World news and their relations with developed nations. That is consistently creating bad impressions in the minds of people from industrialized world.

Western media would give unequal attention to the political and economic problems of the Third World. It also reports negative report about the Third World country. Ideas of newsworthiness in the other countries are accepted by the Journalist which has developed in Western countries over time. Especially, media play a leadership role and lead the Western media in their coverage of international news. Hence, adverse news about a developing nation in one of the leading media would be much worse and harmful than hundreds of demonstrations throughout that particular nation.

I strongly agree with the article. As said by the Author in the article that "Media in some sense plays god in terms of the influence on the extent and nature of western responses". The good example according to me would be the Attack on the Indian student "Down Under". The Indian media hyped the news in such way that the Indian students, who were planning to go to Australia for further studies aborted their plan or their families were sacred to send them to Australia. The other effect of the news was that the students who were studying in Australia started to cancel their admission. The hype created by the media i.e. the racist attacks on the Indian student in Australia influenced the students and their families back in India and in Australia. It created a negative picture of Australian culture in the minds of the student who were planning to come to Australia and their families.

Media tend to put out eye catching news to attract new customers or to keep the existing customers. The news channel will keep a particular news telecasted till the news is been viewed by most number of customer or viewer for e.g. the news of tsunami. The news was going on for a week continuously on the entire news channel, news paper etc. But once they got interesting news they stopped showing news on tsunami.

It is true that the media tends to create a perception in the mind of its customers but they are informed by the same group of people.


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