In the latest guest blog by POLIS Summer School students, Elizabeth Morten describes her reaction to a talk given by Antonella Notari, the Communications Chief for the International Committee for the Red Cross in which she tried to explain how the
Upon hearing Antonella Notari discuss her work with the International Committe of the Red Cross, I felt very disheartened in the narrow scope of the media coverage of the realistic conditions that scar our world. I also felt discouraged in what little aid can be given to these war-fraught nations that suffer from immense corruption. The truth is media consumers do not want to turn on the television or open a newspaper only to be bombarded with the suffering that runs rampant throughout our world. This response to suffering is human nature, we would much rather expose ourselves to pleasantness than read about horrific conditions in warring nations, not to mention, media consumers do not like to receive information on situations that little can be done to relieve. While I understand these conditions are a fact of journalistic coverage, I feel that the media is responsible for leaving the consumers uninformed. I also felt compelled to make a difference and to put forth an effort in informing myself of these universal realities of corruption and suffering in the future. This lack of information in mainstream media leaves the average media consumer in the dark. Moreover, I think a great deal of media consumers prefer to be in the dark when the topic is human suffering, yet I wonder if the truth of the matter is that media consumers simply do not care when the suffering is not close to home?Ultimately, when suffering doesn’t affect an individual, it ought to still be the horrifying truth that does matter and I think it is a journalist’s responsibility to pass on the painstaking truths that flood underdeveloped countries. Currently, it is appalling how poorly the average developed-nation’s media consumers are informed of the suffering that is deeply entrenched in other parts of our world.
By Elizabeth Morten, POLIS Summer School, 2007