The power of the media is immeasurable! The media can create or shatter people’s lives. When the power of the media is steered in the wrong direction or falls in the wrong hands it can cause enormous irreparable damages to an individual or society.
Take an example of the negative role the media played in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi; of how the infamous RTLM (Radio-Télévision Libre des Milles Collines) radio incited killings countrywide.
Many people responded to its iniquity messages resulting into the loss of countless lives.
The media is a powerful communication tool used by many companies, governments or individuals, and any positive or negative publicity sent out through the media can have a tremendous impact on any situation.
When it comes to causing damage, the media doesn’t fear the giants; take another example of an incident that happened two years ago in Canada when Dave Carroll a singer and song-writer of a relatively unknown Canadian music group “sons of Maxwell”, after a year long struggle (to no avail) to get compensation from the United Airlines for the $1,200 damage it inflicted on his acoustic guitar.
The musician decided to tell his story by writing songs about the incident and posting details on his website.
Like copier machines, the media embraced and showered negative publicity at United Airlines.
One of the songs is the now famous ‘United break guitars’ the united break guitar story was covered by major internet bloggers around the world such as Huffington Post and Mashable, and is still spreading through links on twitter.
The story has been reported by mainstream press in the news business, magazine and the broadcast media, including CNN and BBC, and World News America.
It was also covered by main US and Canadian TV networks including CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX News, CBC, CTV and Global. United Airlines is still tending the wounds, and Mr. Dave is now a bigger star.
Look at Alpha Rurangira the 2009 Tusker Project Fame (TPF3) winner, before joining the music academy, he was just another humble, Rwandan choir boy. However, when he went for the regional competition, his family, friends and well wishers joined hands with media to propel him to not only win but to become famous as well.
With a steering in the right direction, the media can positively impact and save lives, however when abused, damage is irrevocable.
Journalists, broadcasters, editors, in whatever media business should always use this power to boost and make a positive change in the daily lives of millions worldwide.