Let me start off by thanking you for taking the time to read my chapter. When trying to define “humanitarian voice,” I came to the conclusion that this voice lives in all of us, and if we choose to act on it, we are a force to be reckoned with. By broadcasting some of the world’s most devastating humanitarian crises, each form of media has developed its own humanitarian voice. It guides people to safety, announces important information and, most importantly, it connects communities, citizens and nations to one another.
During my research, it became apparent that the common theme present in all humanitarian crises is the need for communication. In times of emergency, people are anxious to communicate and connect with one another, as well as with those attempting to help. During countless humanitarian crises, like Hurricane Katrina and the flood in Pakistan, media outlets such as radio were used to connect humanitarian workers with survivors, with the intention of providing crucial aid. Again and again, media has proved essential in communication during and after a humanitarian emergency, leading to more effective and helpful ways of distributing information and aid.
Nevertheless, I also encountered a select number of articles that addressed the negative aspects of media in times of crisis. Media’s fleeting eye can easily be diverted by a newer, more interesting story, leaving many humanitarian emergencies without the necessary publicity and international attention needed to aid the population in distress.
Media has the responsibility to report fair and accurate accounts of all humanitarian crises. Media has the ability to be the voice of the voiceless when used in the right way, and it can transform a seemingly hopeless situation into one of optimism and renewal. However, media can only do so much. We, as citizens of the world, have the responsibility to act on this information. We are left with the task of righting the wrongs in the world. It is easy to become consumed by the horror and desperation associated with humanitarian emergencies, but I hope this chapter leaves you inspired and hopeful for the future. I hope it leaves you feeling inspired to act on these words. You have the power to change the world.
Ellie Molise, Francis Parker School
WorldLink 2012 Summer Intern