The Ties Behind News Media

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 04 Scenes
MoeMaKa, May 05, 2024

The Ties Behind News Media

In connection with World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, it’s important to ask whether all media outlets are impartial, accurate, and serving the public to make informed decisions. The answer is no.

The issue of media not reporting wisely is separate from the importance of press freedom. Some media outlets are biased, favoring certain organizations, governments, and countries while portraying others negatively. Although some media prioritize neutrality and public interest, they are a minority today.

Newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and digital media often compromise their independence and impartiality to secure funds or meet the financial goals of their leaders. In some political contexts, media outlets adjust their stance to support political parties aiming for election victory or to promote the ruling government’s image.

Recent university protests in the United States highlight how media, especially TV news, focus on superficial aspects rather than the protest’s cause, undermining the media’s essence.

At Columbia University, protests began against U.S. arms and financial aid due to the loss of innocent lives during Israel’s operation to suppress Hamas militants in Gaza. The protests aimed to halt U.S. military and financial support for what they see as genocide and to cut off support for companies aiding Israel or manufacturing war-profiting military equipment.

However, major U.S. media outlets prioritized covering anti-Semitism, hate speech, threats to Jewish students, and law enforcement over the protest’s root cause. The focus shifted from the protest’s cause to its consequences and related actions.

Large U.S. weapon manufacturers profit from global conflicts, such as the Ukraine-Russia war and Israel’s operations in Gaza. These companies influence American government policies, university policies, and media presentation of news. While American media portrayed the Arab Spring strikes in Tunisia and Egypt as exciting, they criticized the Columbia University strike, labeling it a crime.

University protests reveal the media’s constrained independence. For the media to fulfill its role, it must be free from restrictive laws, government control, and other bonds.

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