Is the media giving us just one page of a whole book? It looks like we receive different news-angles depending on where we are, or at least who we are. Consider how many news channels there are:
- BBC news (UK)
- CNN (USA)
- Al Jazeera English (Qatar)
- Russia Today (Russian Federation)
- ABC World (Australia)
- France 24 (France)
This is only to mention a few. Combined with TV, radio and other web-based broadcasters the list of channels to choose from is long. Now think about where they are located, are their audience the same wherever they are? Are their target-groups the same? No.
People from different parts of the world have different issues which concerns them. While the western world might be worried about education, third world countries are concerned about having access to clean water. This example is extreme, but it is just to demonstrate what I refer to. Media broadcasters tend to “tailor” news according to the listener. A news channel based in USA knows an Americans concerns and will present their news in a way that touches upon these emotions. Another channel from another country is doing the same thing, except there the news are presented from a different angle, touching upon the emotions from another group of people.
Al Jazeera English (AJE) is the sister-channel of Al Jazeera Arabic and their main goal is to give “a voice to the voiceless”. AJE actually portrays their own mission like this:
“Our mission is to provide independent, impartial news for an international audience and to offer a voice to a diversity of perspectives from under-reported regions. In addition, the channel aims to balance the information flow between the South and the North. The channel of reference for the Middle East and Africa, Al Jazeera has unique access to some of the world’s most troubled and controversial locations. Our determination and ability to accurately reflect the truth on the ground in regions torn by conflict and poverty has set our content apart.”
Last week when the western media reported on the KONY2012 issue it was with consideration to a western audience. By following the public on twitter, Facebook, blogs etc they could easily pick up what was of interest and therefore the angle portrayed was; The Invisible Children ask us for money, are their agenda legit? Where do our money go? Are we being presented with the whole truth? Western media promoted their audience to be sceptical because they were asked to give something from themselves.
AJE took interest in another audience, the Ugandan audience, which had a whole other concern. A charity group showed the KONY2012-video to earlier victims of Kony and they reacted with disgust. AJE’s news-angle was; The Invisible Children-campaign makes the worst nightmare of Ugandan victims famous. Why would victims of Kony wear a t-shirt with his name on it? They also launched the Uganda Speaks project which highlighted the Ugandan people’s voice.
These are examples to how media can shape the way we think about world-issues in the way they portray it.