Life

How do you feel about the media after this? – Unsettling video shows staged photojournalism in the Middle East.

First of all, I acknowledge that this video has been brought to us by an independent news source and therefore it doesn’t speak on behalf of all media.

But I think the very idea that there are staged photographs on a topic as hazardous as the violence in Cairo, it’s extremely saddening. On their part for having to go to these lengths for media exposure, shock-factor, for profit? And us – the end user, the audience.

When I lived in China briefly, I remember (upon reflection) realising that I hadn’t noticed the extreme censorship I had been living in. Living in the pollution-bubble of Wuhan, we were exposed to only a half hour of English-speaking news, on loop, daily. We had neither Facebook, nor Google, nor any other internet sources deemed threatening by the Chinese government. But to be honest, I didn’t notice.

Although here in the West, it is unthinkable for us to live in a country where we are manipulated and shielded from the ‘truth’ – it’s a violation of our rights. After China, I began to wonder whether I would notice censorship at home either.

Now I’m not talking about full blown censorship a la China. For one, I was there on a teaching post surrounded by a couple dozen international teachers and was subsequently quite happy to ignore the outside world. I know it didn’t affect me as I wasn’t looking for anything beyond my comfortable ‘real world’ I’d built in Wuhan for myself.

What I do wonder, is how much of our own opinion about real-world affairs, such as the unrest in Cairo, was my own? And how much was formed purely, and unknowingly, from what I’d seen from the media.

I know that I have a tendency to agree with much of what I read – but I think as I’m getting older I will want to make a point to think more for myself. It does make you think; how do I feel about the media?

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