In my view, most media houses practice biasness whenever they broadcast or convey information about foreign countries. The rate at which media houses continue to exercise their press freedom by telling half truths and sometimes lies about other countries is quite alarming. Media houses practice their culture of biasness with a lot of impunity whenever they are giving out information about foreign countries. It is, therefore, important to examine why the media continues to give such biased reports about other foreign countries.
There are a number of reasons why the media continues to give impartial news about foreign countries. For example, media house have become so intent on giving biased news about other foreign countries since such news usually captures the attention of more viewers. Media houses realize that it is common human nature for their viewers to pay more attention to the negative news of other countries. Some of the negative reports given by media to attract the attention of viewers include news about the presence of wars, terrorism, humanitarian crisis or scandals in foreign countries. Media houses are, therefore, unlikely to stop being biased when reporting about other countries since they know that such reports capture the attention of more people.
Influence or ownership of media companies by biased owners is another reason why it will be difficult for the media to stop giving negative reports about foreign countries. Whenever media houses are owned by influential parties such as politicians or large corporations they are very likely to practice impartiality when reporting about other foreign countries. This is because most influential companies or people use media houses as a means of tarnishing the names of other countries with the aim of benefitting in some way. For example, a big company that deals with both the media and global trade will most likely use its power to influence the media to report negative news about countries that compete against it in its line of trade. The company will ensure that it reports negatively about its other competitor countries so as to encourage investors to prefer investing in their country and company instead of other foreign countries.
Impartial media reporting about foreign countries may also be caused by existing rivalries between media houses of different countries. Rivalries between two countries may also cause impartial media reporting. Impartial media can be used by rival countries or media houses to create a bad image of one another. Each rival tries to give biased information about the other country or media house with the aim of winning more popularity from people. Therefore, as long as the media can be used to achieve superiority against a rival, media companies will continue to be used to give biased news.
Over ambitious journalism may also cause the conveyance of impartial foreign news. Some journalists are excessively ambitious about getting stories for their media companies such that they convey damaging stories and information about foreign countries without considering the negative impact they have. In some cases, journalists twist or falsify stories in order to make them more appealing without considering whether they have a negative effect on other countries. Therefore, as long as there are dishonest journalists, the media will continue to convey biased foreign news.
The existence of unregulated freedom of the press has also contributed to the delivery of biased news about other countries. On many occasions, media companies have used laws that grant them media freedom to get away with complains of their conveyance of biased foreign news. The existing law authorities have also been reluctant to regulate the activity of the media. It has, therefore, become easy for media companies to issue impartial news about foreign countries without any fear of being reprimanded. If non-regulation of the media continues, the conveyance of biased foreign news is unlikely to stop.
Rapidly changing innovation in the conveyance of news has also increased the ability of people to spread biased news about other foreign countries. For example, the increasing popularity of social media has increased the ability of careless people to express biased information about other foreign countries since they are able to maintain their anonymity. Platforms such as facebook and twitter are being used by people to give out information to a large number of people. The use of blogs and websites are also other avenues through which biased news is being spread to other people. The conveyance of biased news about foreign countries is, therefore, likely to continue since it is difficult to regulate the conveyance of biased information as a result of rapid innovations in media technology.
The existence of unethical media houses is also another challenge to the conveyance of impartial reporting of foreign news. Some media operate with the sole aim of earning profits through any means possible. Unethical companies whose sole aim is to make profit, therefore, spread foreign news of any kind whether biased or unbiased without considering the effect they will have on the people that read or hear such news. It is very important for companies to establish an ethical procedure of vetting whether a news item is biased or impartial. If unethical companies continue to operate without considering the negative effect of biased news, then the media will continue to be incapable of spreading impartial; foreign news.
Negative perspectives about some countries play a huge role in encouraging the media to spread biased news. It is common for a media house to convey impartial news about a foreign country simply because most people have negative attitudes towards the situation being experienced in some foreign countries. For example, media companies that are established in western countries usually tend to concentrate on the negative aspects of some foreign countries e.g. Somalia, Sudan etc. In most cases, media houses from western countries only take an interest in some countries whenever they are in a state of crises.
The truth of the matter is that amidst all the troubles that might be facing a country; there are many positive aspects that could be covered in the media. It only requires media houses to look for positive stories about such countries instead of concentrating on the negative stories. However, most media companies do not realize the fact that each country has something positive to offer and, therefore, they only tend to focus on the shortcomings of some countries. Thus, it will be very difficult for the media to be impartial whenever they give news about foreign countries if they do not change their negative attitudes.
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Fortner, R. S., & Fackler, M. P. (2011). The Handbook of Global Communication and Media Ethics. New York: Wiley.
Kieran, M. (2008). Media Ethics. New York: Routledge.
Tambini, D., & Cowling, J. (2002). New News?: Impartial Broadcasting in the digital age. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.