Thursday, September 14, 2006

The real "truth"

The term "truth" is not easy to define. When any person makes a statement, it needs to be viewed in the context of his/her perspective, beliefs, inherent prejudices and other influences. Perhaps this fact bears more truth (no pun intended) in Journalism than in any other discipline. After all, the pen is still mightier than the sword!

With traditional media, the audience gets only a one-sided view of any situation. And this view is in line with with the reporters' own view as well as the publication's view. In conflict situations, publications usually toe the line of the government of their home country.

For example, according to an article in called a news revolution has begun,

"A study by the Cardiff School of Journalism found that 90 per cent of the BBC's references to Saddam Hussein's WMDs suggested he possessed them and that "spin from the British and US governments was successful in framing the coverage"."

Recently, when a series of train bomb blasts occurred in Mumbai, India's financial capital, all Indian newspapers unilaterally blamed Pakistan, based on reports from Indian investigating authorities. Meanwhile, most Pakistani newspapers, while condemning the blasts, attributed the blasts to "mischief-mongers" who wanted to create trouble in Indo-Pak relations.

With the rise of the internet, I wonder if we will see a significant change in this trend. The internet gives us access to different versions of any story more easily than ever before. Will the internet therefore actually enable the common man to get multiple views and take a more informed stand?

On the other hand, maybe the internet will have the exact opposite effect, with increased customization and individualisation of news, people will develop increasingly polarised views because they will constantly be fed the kind of information they seek.

So, which way will this media revolution take us? Perhaps only time can tell..


Blogger Celia Soudry said...

I think the media revolution will backfire on itself. People will get fed up with not being able to decipher between fact and fiction, truth and opinion. A parent of one of my friends asked me today what citizen journalism was. When I explained it to her she had a confused and terrified look on her face. She said, "Isn't this citizen journalism all just opinion." I said yes, but that's what people want to hear and read I suppose. Anyhow, You brought up some interesting questions. I enjoyed your entry. Keep it up Steve!

5:54 PM


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