Overview

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Media

Throughout many parts of the world, information is manipulated into “hate media” – a form of media that has sparked genocides, international tensions and other acts of violence. These negative accounts reflect poorly on media outlets and the way they are used. Nevertheless, media can play a major role in raising awareness on certain issues and initiating change. It can serve as the link between survivors and those with the ability and interest to help. This, in turn, can save human lives, prevent human rights abuses and preserve and improve our quality of life. As negative as some of media’s effects may be, it is essential to realize that media is necessary to spread awareness and to ring out the humanitarian voice.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Media.” United Nations. Web. 17 July 2012. <http://ochaonline.un.org/HumanitarianIssues/ProtectionofCiviliansinArmedConflict/WhosInvolved/Media/tabid/1140/language/en-US/Default.aspx>.

 

The News Media and Humanitarian Action

Most would agree that media is intertwined with national governments and community organizations; however, to what extent? This report describes the CNN Factor, the idea that the broadcasting of news about humanitarian crises actually has a direct effect on the decisions of government policymakers. It presents the possibility that the media’s influence has become so great that policymakers now confuse doing the “right thing” with doing “at least something” in order to offset the appalling facts and figures from humanitarian reports. In addition, this report discusses each medium of media, from television to print, from film to radio. Each plays a different role in capturing the reality and showing it to the public, and each responds to news reports with differing speeds and perspectives.

Minear, Larry, Collin Scott and Thomas Weiss. “Complex emergencies, humanitarian action and the crisis triangle.” The News Media and Humanitarian Action. 1997. 11, 14, 15. Print. <http://iaemeuropa.terapad.com/resources/8959/assets/documents/UN%20DMTP%20-%20News%20Media%20%20&%20Humanitarian%20Action.pdf>.

 

World Disasters Report: Focus on information in disasters

Ideally, media coverage should be unbiased across all areas of reporting. However, Chapter 6 of this report emphasizes that aid agencies and other humanitarian efforts are not represented equally in today’s media world. Commercial priorities are often what create the headlines, since journalists prefer, and many times are required, to report on topics that attract the interest of the general audience and financial supporters. A lack of interest in humanitarian issues causes many disasters or crises to be completely neglected in reports. This chapter juxtaposes the two sides of media: the side that covers what is appealing, and the side that covers what is truly newsworthy.

“Focus on information in disasters.” World Disasters Report. 2005. Pgs 126-49. Web. 5 Aug. 2012. <http://www.ifrc.org/Global/Publications/disasters/WDR/69001-WDR2005-english-LR.pdf>.

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