What Sells Better? Peace or War?

Feb 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Newspaper Sales

On this blog we ask the question, “Pakistan’s media is free…but is it fair?” Mostly we try to answer this question by fact checking the news and correcting the misinformation that is promoted by some media organizations that think they can fool the public. But there is another aspect of media that must also be addressed, and that is by looking at how the media is influencing public opinion, and if that influence is being used responsibly or irresponsibly.

Today’s Dawn editorial makes an important point about how the media fuels militarism and anti-India populism, thereby hindering the possibility for peace.

The editorial, “Quest for Peace,” discusses the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India, and the struggle to establish a working dialogue between the two nuclear powers to settle differences and misunderstandings without resorting to violence. One of the obstacles to this, however, is the media.

There is a media which is still not sure what sells more: peace or war? There is this tendency in the governments on either side to periodically raise the bogey of a hostile neighbour, for a cheap populist slogan overrides all other matters.

Obviously, when money is the only motive for determining what the editorial line of the newspaper will be, there will be a tendency to move towards more sensational themes. Everyone wants peace, but also everyone wants to read about war. It is more dramatic.

But the responsiblity of the media is not to be dramatic. Please let that be the job of film directors and playwrights. The responsibility of media, on the other hand, is to inform the people so that they have the facts about what is actually happening. In matters of war and peace, what could be more important?

We have already seen how the media has almost started a nuclear war in the past. As we said then, “when it comes to the delicate peace between two nuclear powers, the stakes are too high for the media to play to the gallery and exaggerate…” Already this has been a problem in the past. It must not be continued.

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