It should be up to us to make a big deal out of things that matter, not JUST mainstream media. There can never be only one guilty party. It always takes at least two to make things happen.
Since the events in Paris last Friday, I observe two types of people on my social media newsfeed. There are those who show their solidarity with the victims in all ways that social media allows and there are those who point out that there is a whole world of suffering and tragedy just outside of France that mainstream media did not report on as excessively, such as the explosions in Beirut one day before the terror in Paris.
I should probably, for the sake of showing both sides of the coin, point out that there is a reason for the big medial uproar about what happened in Paris. Nowadays the news industry is just that- an industry that has a certain interest in high viewing figures or a high number of newspaper copies sold.
Terror attacks are (luckily) not so common in Europe and when something like that happens, it is indeed newsworthy enough to be reported and will bring the media industry exactly what it seeks: a high rating and many newspapers sold. The more effort is put into reporting on the issue, the better. There is no wish to increase understanding but to fill one’s own pockets.
In the Middle East on the other hand, tragic scenarios are unfortunately much more common. They happen so often that for the average person, it is just not considered news anymore just like no average European cares about the crisis in Greece anymore even though it did not end when news stopped covering the issue. What would the media industry gain from reporting on something that is not entirely new no matter how sad it is?
There is so much injustice happening in the world every day that those who report on it must set priorities and priorities tend to be set based on national interest. I agree that it does not solve the problem of death and pain but I still think this just needs to be said.
Looking at all of this and having discussions with people got me thinking.
Should it really be all up to mainstream media to inform us about what is going on in the world?
A big media coverage motivates people to show solidarity and somehow let the victims know that they are not alone but do we really need someone else to tell us when we are supposed to express our condolences? Does it really take a breaking news alert and a peace march of world leaders in order for us to realize what is going on or is there something that WE as individuals should do first and foremost?
I think, and surely you may disagree with me, that it is not just the big newspapers and TV channels that should be blamed for “ignoring” other tragedies. I think that a little bit of ignorance is also due to our own individual behavior.
Yes, there was no extensive coverage on the terror in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and so on and as much as I agree that those lost lives are just as important as the ones in Paris, I have to point out that these events were covered by various publications, yet on a lower level.
Most countries have one or two newspapers that write about local events in English and I am sure that all of them are available online. Personally, due to living in a few different parts of the world, I have kept an eye on reports by Balkan Insight, Saudi Gazette, Arab News and Al Jazeera and indeed there were occasions when I found information on there which the news agencies of my country didn’t mention with a single word.
I think that the most important thing is for us to put in some more effort into obtaining information on our own and sharing it. It is not enough, definitely not enough, to stick to only one newspaper or one news channel, hoping that just this one source will tell us absolutely everything we need to know. This is exactly how so many other world events don’t even get to us.
And so if more of us read about something like the bombings in Lebanon, no matter how short the article is, the next step would be to share it and raise awareness. What else should social networks be good for if we want to use them wisely? If there is an important issue that we think is not being made big enough, why don’t we join forces and make it big enough?!
The more sharing of information is going on, the better we can stand against ignorance. The more we knowledge we gain upon our own efforts, the less we will rely on a breaking news alert to give us a wakeup call.
We don’t need others to tell us when to show solidarity! People need to put in more effort into obtaining knowledge on current events so they can organize their own solidarity marches, demonstrations, fund raisings etc.
Most people in Europe have the right to speak their minds openly, so why not do that more? It is not just excessive reporting that will win the attention of political decision makers. If only more of us would stand up for an important cause, politicians might listen to us, too. At least in Europe past actions by regular citizens have shown that this strategy can work.
I am not saying that none of us has tried doing what I am suggesting but I think more people should be aware of such a responsibility, which is why I decided to write this.
There is no magic formula to end ignorance, injustice and unfairness but the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that this could be a small step towards making things just a little bit better.