22 May 2009

News Media for Peace

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and into our own, the news media has often been a propaganda tool for vested interests. I have worked in the news media myself, so I am aware of the social and educational backgrounds of mainstream editors, their social networks, and their links with politicians and political ideologies.

It comes as no surprise to me that the media, in general, ignores the predictions of pundits they do not already know. Journalists like to have a file of "useful" contacts. Unknown people are only useful, usually, in "human interest" stories involving something unusual, terrible or amusing.

The duty of journalists

The "duty" of journalists to report objectively, that is to say to stick to the facts, has always been a myth. The best placed people to tell the news are probably those who have a background in the social sciences and history, who have travelled widely, are non-partisan, and have wide ranging experience in understanding and meeting human needs.

But where is the "news" and how is it initiated?

There has been much comment in the mainstream news media recently about its own future, especially its printed form. The rise of blogging, social media and other free online content has taken the initiative from once-powerful commercial media entities.  Truth is now easily found in many places. Or is it?

How do we know when we have found the facts - the truth - and a news media for peace rather than conflict? Which sources of "news" do you trust? Where do you find the facts - and how do you act upon them?


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