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Responsibility of media: Mediation in crises
Responsibility of media in the situation of armed conflict and internal violence is to be a catalyst in the process of mediation wherever possible. Media with its intellectual vigour can easily help address major issues.
WE ARE living amidst the fallout of the most controversial conflict of our times, where media plays a vital role with greater responsibility and can affect the public discourse on international politics, economy and society at large. When the media’s relation to power is at the forefront of political discussion and news reporting can lead to decisions on whether or not to go for war. Everything can be affected by journalists (media), as peace activists, and their mediation at the world.
Media are free to criticise established institution. They assist the process of self-examination, which is essential to self-governance. They must not enslave and more dependent on big sponsored money to carry out the dictate of the states, autocrats, military establishments, communal organisations and imperial psychology.
Media with its intellectual vigour, analytical attitude and firm fore-sightedness can address, safeguard and resolve conflict between states, communities within the states in a multi-cultural society with ethnic diverse people, being a catalyst in the armed conflict and internal violence through mediation, negotiation and mutual consent providing energetic legislation against all form of discrimination and incitement to racial hatred and xenophobia of any organisation, group, party, institution or state that threatens multi-cultural democracy and ethnic peace of just, rational and humane society.
Disasters like armed conflict and internal violence have often emanated from the unjust, irresponsible, deviated and propagandist winds and waves of media, be it imperial hegemony, secessionist warfare or conversely, unexpected drift of regional civil violence based on caste, creed and religion for liberty, justice, independence or fanatical terrorism.
The blatantly biased reporting by media by and large has not shown a high degree of social responsibility during the recent international conflicts like Iraq Iran war, Kuwait crisis, 9/11, war on terrorism, war on Afghanistan and Iraq and also our own internal communal outbursts over the Babri-Masjid–Ram-Janmabhumi controversy, Bombay blast and Gujarat riots etc. Media is being used as a battle ground for political frustration, imperialistic hegemony, human right violation, invasion of sovereignty and privacy, regional and racial violence, smearing of reputation and practising of deception and exploitation.
The role of visual and print media in covering the war events, and the response of civil society organisation has been a matter of great concern. In the light of scholarly discourse to the examination of terrorism, American hegemony and traditional geopolitical theories displaying visual representation of sensitive issues for mass mobilisation in the electronic media platforms like BBC, CNN, FOX NEWS and AL JAZEERA, beating the war drums against terrorism with fabricated allegation and artificial intelligence etc. are some instances for concern.
In the case of America’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the media has cleverly played a pro-active role is the west Asia and middle East conflict, obscuring by the contrasting images of Jews and Muslims in western thought receiving them a bad press, creating an atmosphere of falsehood, fostering overt and covert activities, cultural and political agendas for self-gratification.
Media in this contemporary world is being used for political marketing purpose during the times of conflict and tends to focus considerably upon the visual instant media coverage to garner public opinion. Media today have assumed tremendous importance. Every bit of our activity is not only reflected but also regulated and governed through press (media). Freedom of press aims at the freedom of speech and expression, which are the basic tenets of society. Media is a mighty institution wielding enormous powers and liability to the society, which are expected to be exercised for the protection and well-being of the people and limited. The moral responsibility of media is to foster liberty, justice, fraternity, peace and human rights in our society. Still media has been facing a perennial dilemma while discharging its rights, duties and obligation to continue that degree of liberty without which law is tyranny and with that degree of law without which liberty becomes licence.
Media with its great responsibility as the watchdog of the society can analyse the nature of armed conflict and internal violence with its strategic forecast of racial, ethnic, political, cultural, religion, and economic factors. With preventive diplomacy and the first hand experience of war and its consequences, destruction, loss of life, economy of the home front and victim of genocide and the causes of conflict in the wider context, media can help the victims by shedding light on the emergence of radical Islam in a constructive way devoid of provocative semantics by debating on the resolution of conflict, the diplomacy and peace keeping and the role of superpowers. Media could address the challenges of tomorrow, potential conflict, promotion of negotiation and the formulation of general norms of international behaviour and growing needs of regional co-operation.
History is witness to the fact that media has been used by Hitler and Gobbles to propagate doctrines of one race, one nation and one leader. Communists have used media for thought control evoking in George Orwell. The terror and nightmare of Big Brother watching every citizen is massive and today George Bush Jr of America is using media war against Islamic fundamentalists and sovereign states in the name of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to fulfill covert imperial policy while waging war against Afghanistan and Iraq to establish pseudo-democracy.
In a democratic world, credibility, utility and purpose of media are to import justice to the people and safeguard the rights and liberty of the people with integrity and steadfastness. Media can do miracles by fostering global security, addressing international arm trades, balance of power, nuclear weapons and non-military threats: such as terrorism, extremism, militia conspiracy and movements, strategic relationship of states and their foreign policy, etc.
Media with its new information and communication technology, can analyse the minds of political parties, pressure groups, new social movements, contemporary problems of citizen and states for public information and opinion construction, but often fails due to self-critical examination of the news, opinions, articles and editorials on conflict and violence. Media ignores the possible consequences of fabricated, biased or sensitive information being portrayed among the people at large, which leads to misunderstanding and preaching of hatred, fear and communal feeling as a way out for arm conflict and internal violence.
It is the moral responsibility of media to address the nature and sources of interstate and internal conflicts as well as the method to prevent this conflict and deal with its consequences, and with its scholarly research it can contribute to reducing the sources of conflict to produce a more just and peaceful world.
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