Western media bias -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Western media bias

By Arslan Sheikh

Media has three basic tasks; to inform, entertain and fulfill gratification needs of the readers, viewers and listeners. The term “media bias” implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. Press is generally reflection of values and aspiration of the society, therefore, prevalent ideology in a society is wielded with the media contents. News reporting is often motivated by ideology rather than newsworthiness.

The significance of media and news canít be denied in information age. To comprehend the international politics one need to closely monitor and analyse the international media. In this context if we analyze the US media reporting about Pakistan , an evident bias can be seen in US media reporting . US media portrays Pakistan as a terrorist state and extremist society, while tending to portray those countries positively which are close to the interests of the United States even when they represent non-democratic regimes.

Media construct news for the people in a given society. “News is a socially created product, not a reflection of an objective realityî. Ever since News is a socially constructed product ?It is influenced by a number of factors, i.e., religion, political, economic, and ideological.

Pakistan is covered in the western media in terms of an overall frame of West versus Islam. This apparent layer in the U.S. media about the coverage of Islam is product of the lack of journalistsí knowledge and understanding about Islam and Muslim society. Western, and particularly American media, tends to cover Islam in an orthodox, canonical way, which mirrors long-standing cultural prejudices of the West towards Islam. One of the greatest problems of Western media coverage of Islam is that Muslims are presented as most extremist entity and highly detrimental to the interests of Western nations. Muslims are usually phrased as ?Islamic fundamentalists, Islamic militants or Jihadis. Such Labels are not attributed to any other ethnic or religious group in the media reporting. The majority of people in the United States have come from a Protestant or Catholic background but the term “Christian extremist” or “Christian fundamentalist” would seem unbelievable there. Even if there was something of that nature to make the news then it would gain cult status.When a Muslim American commits an average, everyday crime that non-Muslim Americans commit constantly like theft or domestic violence the reports come out with the person being identified as Muslim. This is very common with race as much as it with religion, where a person that commits a crime will be identified as black or Hispanic, but if the criminal is white then the media will just say “a man/women robbed a bank today”.

Media frame events within the context of ideology, politics and culture in such a way that cultivate representational picture in the audience mind. Many reports and surveys demonstrate that how media curves the perceptions of people. US public opinion on Pakistan reported in a research centre states that 29% Americans like Pakistan, 71% views that Pakistan is not doing enough to support the U.S campaign against terrorism. Similarly, regarding Pakistan reliability in the war against terrorism, the responses were scattered.

Western media is a business, which, like any other business, is run primarily to make money. This means that the media must continuously attract readers, listeners and/or viewers, keep their interest and also attract advertisers.

To be continued
Source: The News
Date:12/9/2010