Saturday, 25 May 2013

There has been a disturbing lack of

balanced reporting in our local media of late. It has been noticed even by those who support the side which has been getting positive attention. Many of the supporters do not mind of course. They believe "it shows we are right" and "there is nothing to debate". 
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
It is interesting therefore to note that a columnist who appears in a number of papers (and has a television show of his own) wrote a piece critical of what is usually considered to be "his side" of politics last week. Even more interesting is that apparently nobody has commented on this. 
I say "apparently" because I feel certain there would have been letters to the editor. I may be wrong but the column in question usually produces more than one letter deriding whatever he has said.
Perhaps it is one of those issues that, no matter however hard people try, the media just refuses to put up that point of view. It is just not available for debate. 
Yes, those views do exist. I have actually been told that by not one but two very senior members of the press - one the editor-in-chief of a major daily paper. There are things they simply will not touch and things they simply will not allow.
I can understand this when the topic relates to national security. Nobody wants to compromise that. I can understand it when issues like pornography and violence are under discussion. Pieces written in support of such things would be as dangerous as they would be abhorrent to all but the vile minority who indulge in such things. 
There are other topics though that lack balance in reporting. There are opposing points of views on some topics that are apparently simply not acceptable. Some of them are not considered to be "politically correct". Other points of view are simply considered to be "wrong" or "silly" or "ridiculous" or "invalid". They never get an airing.
This bothers me. Failing to offer a different point of view for consideration - or offering it in such a way that it is clearly meant to be ridiculed, dismissed or ignored - is a form of censorship. 
If someone believes the earth is flat and only three thousand years old then there is no harm in that. It becomes harmful when it is stated as a fact and taught to children without alternatives being offered. This is, in a sense, precisely what the media is doing.
We have an election coming up. There will be a great many topics raised between now and election day in September. I hope the columnist I mentioned at the top will continue to write his columns. I hope other columnists will write other pieces. I hope there will be more letters to the editor. I hope all these things will present many points of view - not just what some have decided is the politically correct (and therefore only acceptable) point of view. 
I hope above all else that there will be some balance in the media - but I am not hopeful.


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Cat - and keep the letters coming! Chris

Helen Devries said...

Rather like the mainstream media in Costa Rica...but there's a growing informal media via internet sites which does allow the free exchange of views - it can get a bit heated at times, but at east it's there.
And in the capital yesterday on the buses, in the taxis, in the caffs, everyone seemed to be talking politics....and how a severe shake up is needed.