Is the media fuelling violence ?

Tune in, read or watch  any media channel, be it TV, Radio or the internet, and the gripping headlines will be about violence; Mali, Egypt, the endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bomb blast in Lebanon and the list is endless.

Tune in, read or watch  any media channel, be it TV, Radio or the internet, and the gripping headlines will be about violence; Mali, Egypt, the endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bomb blast in Lebanon and the list is endless.

It is not that the public is addicted to violence, they have been forcibly conditioned to the daily gory images and the culprits are no other than the media, who seem to be heeding calls far removed from their newsrooms.

Egyptian academic, Noha Radwan, commenting on the current upheaval in her country hit the nail on the head when she suggested that the media operating in her country – on both sides of the political divide – were to blame for the escalating violence, at the same level of the two belligerents. She says the media “have been working the public into nothing short of a mass hysteria”.

The same disease seems to have infected some sections of the Tanzanian media that it has forced Media Council of Tanzania, the regulatory authority, to come out and sound a stern warning on some media houses that were creating a negative atmosphere based on rumours and unethical conduct.

But in both the above cases, do the people who pull the strings and call the shots on what should be reported really understand the gravity of the situation? It is possible they do, but it’s not their axe to grind.

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