Saturday, May 10, 2008

Helpless.tv

Most people don't realise that the majority of the international news they consume come from two sources - AP and Reuters. There are a handful of national news organisations that also do a commendable job - AFP (Agence France Press) being primary amongst these, with CNN, the BBC and Sky/Fox also having reasonable representation.

But most of these organisations depend on 'stringers', or local camerapeople who risk their lives daily in many instances for their pictures. So, even in this era of ubiquitous video phones, video cameras and broadband, it is surprising that current events in Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Myanmar (Burma) are poorly covered. Areas like Darfur and China receive even less attention. No pictures = no story in newsrooms, thus encouraging further repression and censorship by the world's worst regimes.

But services like YouTube are full of amateur coverage, and services like Current TV are beginning to have an impact.

However, even when pictures do get out I'm worried that the everyday brutality in the world around us fails to have the impact of the iconic image of the naked Vietnamese girl feeling from napalm or the execution of a Viet Cong soldier by a Southern Vietnamese officer that turned world public opinion about the Vietname War.

Now we're left helpless in the face of such images. Worse still, perhaps we're now immune as reality and fiction become so inter-twined. I always believed that more images were a good thing and that the internet would liberate, inform and bring about positive change in the world. Now I'm not so sure.

No comments: