Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Imminent human catastrophe or phone-hacking - which is more newsworthy?

We were watching the early evening news on BBC. For twenty-five minutes there was reporting of the phone-hacking scandals that seem daily to be revealed. Telephone-hacking is most unfortunate for those involved and very hurtful, of course.

There then followed a two-minute report on the disaster in East Africa where millions of people are facing starvation because of the severest drought for sixty years. People are walking for days, even weeks, without food or water, to reach refugee camps which are seriously overcrowded. On the way, the very young and the very old die. When they arrive, the smallest children still living are often very sick, many dying within hours of the end of their journey.

Has the BBC become so insular that it does not care – or even notice -  what happens in the wider world? On other news channels we hear about global events far more important than the parochial and introspective happenings of the UK. Does phone hacking, deplorable and distasteful though it is, really require twenty-five minutes of in-depth reportage when tragedy is unfolding and life is unravelling for so many millions? 

10 comments:

  1. Wow. That is such a glaring example of where we place our attention - or, where our attention is being directed. Wow, thanks for the jolt.

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  2. Our channels are not better ! The worst is one of the Belgian once who only talks about creating a government and that since over a year ! Phew !
    We all start to believe we live better without !

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  3. I often wonder why news channels have stories on celebrities. To me, this is not news. You are right. They should have focused on the famine and told everyone how they could help. I didn't know this was happening. I rarely read the news because I get depressed and upset.

    What I don't understand is why their governments let it come to this. Why don't they seek help or a solution earlier? Maybe they did. But I know most governments are corrupt. Like Korea, they probably don't care if the people starve.

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  4. I complain everyday about what journalists consider news. Have a great day.

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  5. Exactly! Such warped priorities...

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  6. extraordinary and frustrating - are they catering to vested interests?

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  7. Point well made. There are many such examples, alas. The big issue perhaps, is whether or not the BBC has caught the public mood in this respect.

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  8. I don't know. The phone hacking thing was a HUGE piece of our news this evening. It really is deplorable.

    We have more air time about the Casey Anthony murder case here in the states than about starvation in Africa. Go figure.

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  9. I'm not unhappy to see a dent put into Murdoch's plans... and the media attention may have played a role in the newspaper's shut down. The BBC is not as guilty of warped priorities as American mass media, but yes, I agree with you entirely, the news in general has become much too local and people seem to be losing any sense of global awareness and responsibility. It's sad.

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  10. I agree more attention should be paid to the world-wide problem of ever-growing food shortage; global warming and resulting draughts and starvation. And perhaps that's why BBC put so much time and effort into covering the phone hacking. Much of our news in the past years has been controlled by the Murdoch empire, notorious for burying stories that expose corruption (see film "The Corporation" (YouTube) for a tip to that ice berg) and for working hard to get their favored political candidate in power. With the BSkyB takeover bid looming, the less-corrupt media wanted to ensure that Murdoch didn't get control of more of the U.K. media - the way to do that was to make a big thing of the phone hacking to make people pay attention and lobby their MPs. In the end Murdoch withdrew his bid rather than face a public inquiry. Sp perhaps now we can get more balanced news all round. :-) http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/13/rupert-murdoch-gives-up-bskyb-bid

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