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Media and the World Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Dereje Amera, Ethiopia Dec 6, 2005
Citizen Journalism   Opinions
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Our lives are full of unpredictable events and unexpected situations. Sometimes there is such an extensive amount of information available it is difficult to arrive at a concrete conclusion. People have different theories and assumptions, all of which influence our lives in a variety of ways. The world consists of tragedy and comedy. We live with mixed feelings and perspectives determined by our ideals. The way that we think and what we think shapes our reality.

There exists a lot of suspicion between individuals, society and institutional structures. This suspicion with one another has reached a point wherein no one trusts one another. As time goes by, the confidence and trust between individuals, institutions and societies is starting to be depleted. This exhaustion has resulted in fear and frustration throughout the world. To find out the root cause of this disastrous occurrence we must understand why our world has reached this point.

Is our world in good shape? In order to properly answer this question we need to find the best source of reference; if we are concerned about what the media is reporting daily, we might all agree that our world is hell. Every day, the media presents us with images of violence, killings and bad news everywhere. Stories differ about how these people are killed and the exact number, but it is clear to anyone listening to the media that our world is not a safe place and that security is relative.

In this day and age, we can all agree that a single airplane crash with many deaths is a big story. Historically, though, humans have lived through organized wars in which nations raised arms against other nations and people died by the thousands everyday. During the American Civil War, close to three million people fought and around 200,000 died. World Wars I and II took millions of peoples’ lives for nothing. In contrast to today, the events of 9/11, in which around three thousand people were killed, is considered a big disaster.

More often then not we hear about the killing of people daily, but compared to the past one can say that it has decreased a great deal; compared to the past, there is great improvement in this area.

According to recent research conducted regarding war around the world, “ . . . the chilling sights and sounds of war fill newspapers and television screens worldwide, but war itself is in decline . . . in fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure.”

A collaboration with Sweden's Uppsala University, the report conservatively estimates battle-related deaths worldwide at 15,000 in 2002, rising to 20,000 last year due to the Iraq war. However, those estimates are down from annual tolls ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 in the 1990s, a time of major and costly conflicts in such places as the former Zaïre and southern Sudan, and from a post-World War II peak of 700,000 in 1951.

The research tells us that there has been great progress in terms of the decline in organized wars, which used to keep the hearts of people in a state of hatred and enmity. People and nations have started forgiving each other over what has happened in the past, and are trying to work toward new and better relationships. If that were not the case, so many nations would not have established relations with other nations around the world. This is a great sign of maturity and a step toward the optimistic views people have for the future; it only seems foggy due to the many complications we have at this point of time.

One of the things which contributes to a perception of exaggerated and magnified levels of pessimism in the world is the media. The media plays a vital role in supplying information to the public but there are consequences when, in some cases, the news is exaggerated or even fabricated.

The role of the media within any given society is indeed critical, but a proper and appropriate presentation to the public is of high importance. When we look at newspapers, their pages crowded with events which are not comforting and optimistic, that has an effect on the way we think about our world. This does not mean that bad things are not happening, but the ways these happenings are presented can be exaggerated. For instance, the media is interested in concentrating their cameras and minds on the Middle East, writing about and showing human atrocities, but largely ignores developmental activities which are also going on in these areas. They are deliberately focusing on bombings and killings. When people think of the Middle East, the first things they associate with it are bombs, or wars, or terrorism, which are all products of media presentation. But, in spite of all this, people are still traveling to these places to work and live.

Our thinking about nations and people is shaped by how influential media agencies perceive them, and those consequences last for ages. It seems that our world is living under the grace and mercy of the media. Radios, television and newspapers have an addiction to bad news, and it seems that they are not comfortable in delivering a delightful picture and hope for our world. We are forced to view our world in a pessimistic light, but the degree to which we can be influenced by these agencies is left up to the individual. Although everyone has the right to make one’s own choice, the effects of the daily news on our reality is evident. The media affects our thinking, perception and lives. The media shape this world, and the people.

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Writer Profile
Dereje Amera

Writing is a powerful instrument to promote one's ideology, so as to transform and galvanize the whole of humanity to have a better perspective about this world.

Words are just combinations of letters, but the power they exert in every human frame is still a mystery to all.

Writing uses these mysterious forces of words as a tool to introduce, induce and create vibrations in society, which do have an influence on every aspect of our life as human beings.

May the power of WORDS prevail over all!!
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