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Who Truly Counts In Global Media: The Value of Life

News is the very foundation by which society is able to find out information or events on local, national and international scales. Though it is surprising that as a Western society, our news broadcast focuses a lot of time and resources on events that only directly affect us. After this week’s lecture and having done some further research, I have since decided to focus on the idea of death on the news and in the media and the unsettling ideology that ‘all life is precious, sacred and equal, but as far as our media and politicians are concerned, some is more precious, sacred and equal than others’. This, I believe, is a great problem evident in contemporary global media and something which needs to be addressed.

Stephen Romei, the Australian newspaper’s assistant editor, in charge of the foreign affairs pages, has written an article on what he terms ‘the cynical calculus’ of news values, arguing that how is it possible that ‘one Australian is worth five Americans, 20 Italians, 50 Japanese, 100 Russians and 1000 Africans’. Interestingly enough, we are also able to see the Romei has the numbers increase as the cultures begin to differ from that of the dominant and traditional Western society foundations.

The Boton Bombings are just one example of how Western media will focus on tragedies which directly impact the individual country’s cultural proximities. Three people were killed and another 264 injured on the 15th of April, 2013, when two bombs detonated at the annual Boston Marathon. This created a media storm, as Western society broadcasters aired stories internationally about the tragic lose of life and the terror of the attacks. However, on that very same day 33 people were killed and a furthermore 160 severely injured in a string of bomb attacks across Iraq. The same media coverage however was not implemented, and continued to focus solely on the tragedy in Boston. I, for one, am guilty of only hearing about the Boston bombings, and it only makes me think how many more tragic events, where lives have been lost at great expense, have I not heard of?

All humans bleed. A mother will cry for her fallen son and a daughter will pray for her missing father. Humanity is the key and life is important. In terms of the media, any death is a tragedy and this should be a viewed shared internationally. Loss and tragedy should not be measured by one’s skin colour, lifestyle or geographics. It should be measured by the fact that they were human. Now whilst this will hopefully change over time, as some media outlets will continue to focus on biased approaches to death and tragedy, I will leave you with your thoughts about this quote.

‘You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty’.

Mahatma Gandhi

– BJS

References:

Cook, T. 2004, ‘Questioning the Cynical Calculus’, Crikey Blogs, 15th December, viewed 27th of September, 2014,

<http://blogs.crikey.com.au/trevorcook/2004/12/15/questioning-the-cynical-calculus/&gt;

Khorana, S. 2014, ‘Who Counts In Global Media? News Values’, Lecture Week 9, BCM111: International Media and Communications, UOW, 27/09/2014

Lee-Wright, P. 2012, ‘News Values: An Assessment of New Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’, in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-20

Unknown, 2013, ‘Many dead in serial blasts in Iraq’, Al Jazeera, 15th of April, viewed 27th of September, <http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/201341562946963175.html&gt;

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