The media is said to be the eyes and ears of the society. It is what keeps us on knowledge of the current issues. It airs out issues in the society that need immediate attention, issues that are likely to affect the society as a whole. In the same sense, the media is under the control of humans who have a different interpretation of ideas and facts. One of the major discussed news by a journalist is the issues affected by religious undertones. Journalists often write stories concerning incidences of ISIS bombing, nightclub shooting, and ethical debates over technological advances. These journalists have a different understanding of the underlying religious roots of these issues and thus end up communicating inaccurate or imbalanced news. In this paper, I will analyze four different works of religious undertones by different journalists to focus my study on.
For an instant the Saint Petersburg supermarket bombing that left about 14 people wounded. The incidence happened on December 21 (Straitstimes). According to The Straitstimes, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had claimed to be responsible of carrying out the attack. The paper states that they took responsibility on 29th of December after the incident had happened. Their source of the news was via the ISIS propaganda agency Amaq. The Straitimes paper states that the home-made bomb was placed in a locker at the supermarket. When the bomb went off, it brought about a state of panic among the customers that were in the supermarket and resulted in the wounding of 14 people who included an expectant mother. (Straitstimes) claims that Russia has been the target of Islamic attack because President Putin made a decision in 2015 to intervene Syria militarily on the parts of Bashar al-Assad. Another online paper was done by Independent state that the St Petersburg bomb had been carried out by a single man who was later arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB). The paper says that the suspect had organized and carried out the attack on his own even though his motives are yet unknown. Independent states that the Islamic State has claimed to be responsible for the attack and the source of their information was from a group that is responsible for monitoring the movement of IS statement; SITE. The independent paper claims that the bomb was in the storage area that was meant for customers' bags and led to the injuring of 18 people (Independent). Another paper that covered the story is BBC news, the paper claims that the suspect has been identified and has already confessed to his crime and will remain in custody. The paper reports that the suspect is a member of a nationalist group and that Islamic State who had previously made allegation that they were responsible for the attack but has not provided any evidence as yet. According to the BBC News online paper, the suspect's motive was his hatred towards the organizers and supporters of the psychological training sessions. BBC states that the suspect was tortured by the psychic sect and he made the bomb and left two USB drives so that he could tell people about them. Radio Free Europe in their report states that Dmitry Lukyanenko had deliberately made a home-made explosive device. The paper states that the bomb injured 13 people. Radio Free Europe says that the suspect has been in close contact with professional mental health care since he was 19 years. The paper states that it was after President Putin said the explosion was an act of terrorism when the Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the blast (Europe). When I compare the information shared by the paper; all the four papers state that the Islamic State did not have evidence for that they were the ones who conducted the attack. Three of the paper claims that the attack was done by a Russian individual and one claims the attack was done by the ISIS. On giving the account on the number of people injured during the explosion, Straitimes stated the number to be at 14 and the rest of the three to be at 13 injured people (Phipps).
The naming of the actors of the terrorist act on Islamic State would have led to ratio profiling. Any act of terrorism cannot be placed on one specific religious affiliate group. Before any work is published for the audience to read, a proper investigation should be carried out by the journalist. Ratio profiling in any society is one of the limiting factors of development and does not give room for proper investigation. The suspect claimed that the reason he planned and conducted was he was being mistreated during his time in psychiatry. The same applies when there is a military presence in Syria or any other Islamic country, the locals end up suffering due to being mistreated and harassment by the forces. The terrorist attack by the Islamic nation is a sign of frustration, an act of plea of cry. Most of the people who conduct suicide bombing are most deeply connected to religion. They do it to fulfil their destiny and to please what they believe makes their god happy. The bombing is not an act of revenge; it is an act of holiness, a sacred process.
The delivery of the message by the four selected online paper was not very accurate. On the accounts of giving the number of injured people, the papers deferred in their papers. More specific, one of the paper indicated that it was certain that the ISIS were the ones who conducted the bombing attack. Such information should have been backed up with concrete evidence to support the allegations. The same way BBC News had clearly stated evidence to support what they had written concerning the Dmitry; the suspect for the bombing. On the part of claiming that the attack was as a result of Putin decision, the paper indicating this should that it did not support the president's decision (Dill, Shue).
Majority of the public believe that all the terrorist attack are conducted by radical Islamic followers. So any act of terrorist will be associated with any person belonging to Islamic affiliation. On the part of radical Islamic followers, a conducting terrorist attack on innocent people does not justify any sort of cry for help. No supreme power on earth of heavens enjoys the killing of people, either innocent or guilty. The media to on its part no matter which sides it belongs to, it should not be used to spread information that is not valid, or any information that may expose certain people belonging to a certain religion at risk. Media is a tool for development not a weapon of destruction. When the media assumes that any terrorist act is done by people from Islamic descent, it means it will not care to find out who really did it. Instead, it will continue to feed its people with lies and false information. A society that lacks reliable information is bound to fail no matter any effort they make towards development.
The job of a reporter is to look for information, this information first needs to be reliable and credible before it is shared with the public. This is to say, as a report, I have a role in ensuring that information being passed to the public is viable and that it is genuine. Knowing that the public relies on me as a reporter to inform on the current news, it means that I have to endure the news I provide to them is reliable. When the media is able to provide its people with relevant information, the public will develop a sense of trust towards it and is likely to make an informed decision.
As a reporter, I believe that cohesion in the community is enhanced by the information that is shared by the media. If media spreads insulting information concerning a certain group, the public is likely to discriminate the highlighted community and this is most likely to bring division. As I reporter, I imagine of a world that works together, a world that each member is treated equally no matter their religious affiliation. Where no single person is judged by others just because he or she does not belong to the same religious affiliation as they are. To help this, as a reporter I will spread messages of equality to the people and tell them no one is greater than the other, and no one group is better in the community than the other.
In times of crisis, as a reporter, it is my role to ensure that any information shared with the public is framed in a way that it will not lead to stress on the part of the receiver. Information shared to be reader-friendly, it ought to be sensitive in a way that it will not further bring more suffering to the affected. Majority of papers today, especially online, do not put a lot of attention towards the messages they are sharing. This can lead to stress to people directly or indirectly affected by the written incidence. Information shared to the public is meant to view by different people who process information differently. This means if they are horrible images of a victim who is badly injured, relatives of the victim can further be affected. To make the world a better place, as a reporter I will make sure that before any information is shared, it is edited to suit the needs of the different audience.
Messages of peace can also be used to bridge the difference between the two warring community. The fight between the two religious groups has not been there for too long, this means it's a fight that can be solved if the necessary actions are taken. Some solutions such as simple dialogue and interviews can help. For example, a group representative of the two warring groups can be selected and be given a chance to dialogue on live television broadcasting and allow their followers to be a part of the audience. This live dialogue can be able to air out grievances from the two groups and from them; a solution can be arrived at. Also, seeing their representatives having a discussion with each other can help the people on the field not turn to bombs and discrimination but in turn simple dialogue which can result to community healing.
The media being the eye and the ear of the community, as a reporter, I will not allow my opinions to be manipulated by other people because of the position of power they hold or because of any favors expected from them. People deserve to be told the truth and this truth is what is able to set them free and allow them to be worthy members of the society. Appropriate information is able to shape a community in a way no other tool can do as a reporter, it is my duty to ensure that the message being delivered to the community is useful and be used to facilitate peaceful coexistence among the community members.
Europe, Radio Free. "St Petersburg Supermarket Bombing Suspect Charged with Terrorism ." Radio Free Europe (2017).
Independent. "St Petersburg Supermarket Bombere Arrrested by Police in Russia ." Iindependent (2017).
Straitstimes, The. "ISIS Claims Saint Petersburg Supermarket Bombing ." The Straitstimes (2017).
Dill, Janina, and Henry Shue. "Limiting the killing in war: military necessity and the St. Petersburg assumption." Ethics & International Affairs 26.3 (2012): 311-333.
Phipps, Alison. "'They are bombing now':'Intercultural dialogue'in times of conflict." Language and Intercultural Communication 14.1 (2014): 108-124.
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