Friday, February 22, 2013
In the book The Plague, the people of Oran are highly affected by what is reported on the radio, despite the fact if this news is true or not. Although The Plague is a fictional novel, it’s depiction of the relationship between the media and popular opinion pretty accurately reflects the relationship in our world today. A commercial that exemplifies this relationship is a State Farm commercial where a man and woman are making small talk as the leave their apartment building. The woman refutes something than man says by saying that she heard it on the Internet and that, “they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true”. “Where did you hear that?” the man rebuttals. “The internet” she responds.
Because of the media’s universality and omnipresence, people have become accustomed to relying on the media, especially television media, as their main source of information and not questioning the validity of the media’s reporting. This is becoming a serious problem in regard to awareness of human rights. This is because most of the time, the way human rights problems are fixed is first through awareness and then through action. No action can be taken if one is not aware of the problem. The last article I wrote was on Syria and I was pretty familiar with the cause because it has seen some coverage in the news but also because my brother is very interested in this issue and keeps me updated. However, as I began to look for other human rights articles, I was shocked at the amount of sites reporting human rights violations in countries where I had never heard of human rights violations occurring before. I found this article in Aljazeera that pretty much summed up the countries where human rights violations occurred in 2012 and the list was shocking. The countries included: Ethiopia, Syria, South Sudan, Kenya, Belarus, and China. It is disheartening how the media disappoints the people time and time again by picking exciting stories over the stories that people need to be informed about – and often the people don’t even realize that they are being disappointed. This is the most disheartening fact at all.
In my last blog, I also wrote a bit about the importance of corporate responsibility and now I am writing for media responsibility. The media needs to be held accountable for the informing of the American public of human rights issues of importance. I think that with increased awareness human rights violations will decrease.