Wednesday, 25 March 2009

On media myopia

I picked up a copy of The Third Way in Belfast last Good Friday and have been subscribing since then. I like reading things I don't always agree with, but mostly find this a helpful comment on culture from a Christian perspective. Check out some recent articles on the web site - The Third Way.

In the April 2009 there is a helpful article 'Media Myopia' by Claire Aston. She writes,

"British viewers are given a distorted view of the world, the report [The Great Global Switch Off] argues, with an overwhelming concentration of coverage of the United States, Europe and the English speaking world. By comparison, coverage of Africa is skewed. Only three countries - South Africa, Kenya and Uganda - out of the 52 are normally ever seen because coverage of Africa is almost entirely about wildlife. South America is also virtually ignored."

In 2007 I visited Malawi with Tearfund, in 2004 I visited Peru with the Vine Trust. It is very difficult to gather English language news of these countries, and you almost never hear news of these countries on TV or radio in the UK. Our media is obsessed with celebrity to the extent that news coverage of the poorest countries is almost non existent. The difficult issues like HIV/AIDS, climate change, trade justice or water and sanitation issues are simply not covered in a way that is easily accessible to the general public in the UK.

Who will speak up for the poor and the needy? Those of us who know and who care will have to find creative and engaging ways to help our neighbours in this country hear the news our broadcasters aren't giving us.

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