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To What Extent Does Modern Media Coverage And Censorship Of Conflicts Affect How People Interpret Them?

2496 words - 10 pages

‘To what extent does modern media coverage and censorship of conflicts affect how people interpret them?

Modern media coverage - the main means of mass communication - gives us news from around the globe, allowing us to develop an informed understanding of the world and its issues. Armed Conflict and tension between the world’s countries has only become more vehement, which has lead to an onslaught of media coverage, orchestrated by countries on either side of the conflicts, as well as countries that are regarded as outsiders. Information about these conflicts can be propagated by a myriad of different sources, which often besmirch its reliability by having a subjective stance. The biased viewpoints of this type of coverage can influence the views of people on a national and international level, depending on the influence and reputation of a nation’s media worldwide. This report will answer the research question ‘To what extent does modern media coverage of conflicts affect how people interpret them?’ by first evaluating how the media coverage of a conflict affects the direction of the conflict in the past, looking at the media situation in various countries, and finally come to a general consensus regarding the matter.

The media has sunk its claws deep into conflict’s soft underbelly over the past century, and history is littered with examples of this. The Vietnam War, the first war where media coverage was prevalent, evoked chaos within the United States as the influx of uncensored media depicting the horrors of the Vietnam incited major protests all over the country, forcing the United States to withdraw their troops. With 800,000 casualties, the more recent Rwandan Genocide is also linked to the media. One radio station: the RTLM, incited prejudice and violence against the victims of the genocide, and a study by Harvard University states that this single radio broadcast was responsible for an estimated 51,000 killings. Since the 21st century began, the world has seen a surge in technological advances, making the media extremely accessible and garnering it a worldwide audience through the Internet. Conjointly, ongoing conflicts such as the war on terror and the Syrian civil war as well as the crisis in Crimea have attracted an ample amount of media attention, which has all the more effect on people’s perceptions of these conflicts because of the severe vigor of the media in this day and age.

Global perspective: Finland

Finland is first on 2014’s index of Press freedom, and has topped this list for four years straight. In terms of Internet penetration, Finland is 10th in the world, with 88.6% of their population currently using the Internet. Finland, unlike the United States, does not have a substantial part to play in international conflict. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland states that it ‘Participates in international military cooperation in the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace and provides troops for NATO-led...

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