Posts tagged ‘East’

December 8, 2012

Reality and Its Different Perspective

by mkleit

The Soliya connect program http://www.soliya.net

 

10 university students from across the globe met at the Soliya chat rooms so that to assure that each badly conceived feature of one’s society by the other is a myth. The mechanical age of image production created false images and edited ones to picture a specific ideology; it all comes under the propagandist umbrella of stereotype perpetuation.

Whether it was as Nazi’s looking-like monsters or Japs as mutants, or in a more modern form: all pre-dominantly Muslim societies’ citizens are camel riders and all Westerners are killers. For educated people, it was more of a myth than a TV “reality”.

The Soliya program indicated the manner political-driven media works in. Not only is it evident in news broadcasts, but it’s more likely to be found in cartoons, movies, and different forms of channeling outlets. The image production era has left its viewers with nothing but a mirror of the truth, which is not the whole truth, but part of it.

Image manipulation is a constant act in news room; from http://1.bp.blogspot.com

Cultural-wise, pre-dominantly Muslim societies were always thought to be filled with suicide bombers, poverty, disappearance of rights, and autocracy; while as their Western counterparts, they are viewed to be rich, arrogant, colonialist, and consumerist societies. The image procession takes place in a certain alley of a certain place, distant from the reality of the region, to reflect an entire culture that does not exist.

I introduced myself to the group participants as a guy from Lebanon, a country which is culturally diverse and I have done my travels to both “worlds” as well, western and eastern. Many things I have realized during both experiences of traveling and the Soliya program:

on one hand, people of different backgrounds are constantly being subjected to hate messages and progressively brainwashed by separates and differentiation, who’s inferior and who’s superior, who’s right and who’s wrong, and what’s true and what’s false. On the other hand, people exposed to different cultures tend to create this enthusiastic feeling to connect with the “others”, no matter how culturally and ideologically different the “other” might be; the key factors are respect, tolerance, and sharing.

The Soliya experience connected people of different ideologies, backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities with each other in one small virtual room. Yet the students were able to break the ice and bring, at least, awareness to several matters that concern their societies; such as the Palestinian-israeli issue, societal and cultural reformation, foreign policies, and gender roles in each respective country, since each society proved to be different from another, regardless of the variation of distance between all.

In one of the sessions, a personal favorite, targeted stereotypes that the participants have heard from their surroundings about the “other”. A prominent one was that Easterners used flying carpets as means of transportation, while as Westerners are colonialists.

To match things up, however, we decided to work on something more personal, and to see similarities among all of us; participants enjoyed a certain amount of time in private groups-of-three chats in order to dig deeper. After laughter and warm feelings flooded the virtual room, the Soliya program has proved to be successful.

From a personal perspective, the Soliya program doesn’t solve anything, but at least it works on spreading awareness, one person at a time. Another aspect is engaging in Marshal McLuhan‘s “global village” concept; the act of spreading information about each person’s culture, background, and personality, and relating it to oneself in return, heightened our attentiveness of responsibility towards our own society/culture and global issues.

The masses of the societies have imploded in the image emitted via mass media, as Jean Baudrillard, a prominent semiologist in the 90s, implied. In his essay “The Masses: The Implosion of the Social in the Media“, he claims television has deserted reality and all what it emits is reality, regardless of the existence of the events or not.

This creates an implosion in the masses to then explode to the streets. But what if the “implosion” was a positive one such as the Soliya experience; would the student masses explode to their society to spread tolerance, respect, and raising awareness? Hopefully, the Soliya connect program would be able to widen its scope for a greater reach in societies.

 

many web media tools, used correctly, would create positive change rather than a negative impact from: http://www.worldclassmedia.com

July 23, 2011

The “Same” Change

by mkleit

Basis of the Code of Ethics


“Arab media coverage is like a person on a plane looking down.” One Sudanese Member of Parliament and political activist Salih Mahmoud Osman said when criticizing the Darfur coverage. Media is a tool to sustain, as well as it is an instrument of change, and a catalyst to flourish freedom and uphold it. But the way that informative media is used decided nation courses, dictatorship or egalitarianism to be more specific, giving both sides the same time to express, articulate, and thus unify. Apparently, the action justifies the intention, in times of turmoil, journalists, whether they like it or not, are the followers of their leaders. By will or not, they are bounded by certain parameters given from higher authority, as Edward Herman and Naom Chomsky declared in Manufacturing Consent:”The media serve, propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them.”

Domestic coverage requires the pursuance of instructions, as mentioned before, when Jordanian journalist Sameh al Mahariq said:” As long as you don’t write about the king, the military, religion or sex you can cover anything you want.” A small amount of news is to be given, senseless and mindless, just to keep hands off certain issues and distract the audience of true happenings.

Nevertheless, some progress in Arab media coverage is viewed, though the ratings are low. For one issue, you have 22 Arab states covering, thus 22 different agendas, but the type of reporting mainly, if not always, stays one. Hide the truth to avoid problems. Amani Tawil of the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies explained the previous circumstance:”Selective information. Television reflects the special agenda of each government in the Arab region, while newspapers have a tendency to marginalize stories about other Arab governments.” It’s a non-democratic system they are in, so the expectations of journalistic freedom are too close to bite the dust. Even though in certain cases journalism is done properly, but it depends on the predicament. When Arabs are being shot and killed, no journalist can be objective, for a reason that it’s a humane sentiment to protect the helpless. But if a phone call from some politician, ally to the owners of the broadcasting channel, the sense of humanity is left behind the rocking doors of the news desk office, alongside the pens of truth and blank papers that are supposed to filled with reality coverage and honest reporting.

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