The abhorrent murder of MP Jo Cox is an unimaginable tragedy for her family, friends and colleagues, but not less for the British society as a whole. In the difficult time when the society is at a historical junction, and all prominent political actors are charged with emotions, words should be carefully selected and used.
But the following should not pass unnoticed – the murder of the rising political star is, by definition, as any other murder of a politician in public while she was doing her job, also an act of terror. However, none of the British media outlets have used the term and this was meticulously analysed by Glenn Greenwald.
Each January I wait for her. And she always comes, the beautiful girl in the cattle wagon, featured on every documentary about the Holocaust.
You've probably seen her. She peers through the slit of a closing door, her face - half hidden in dark shadows - framed by a white scarf. There on the platform are the Jewish prisoners, being pushed onto the train. And the child stares out at us, a silent, haunting image.
I always wait for the film narrators to say "this girl is a Sinti child, a Dutch Gypsy."But they never do.The girl glides away, along with the other tragicpassengers, away to Poland,to Auschwitz, to Death.
The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has featured the prophet Muhammad on its front cover once again. The Prophet is crying, just as did the cartoonist who made the cover. The headline says "All is forgiven".
As it has been only a week since the attack and the killings in Paris, some could question the magazine’s decision to put the Prophet on its cover again. But no one can deny the right to free speech in a secular state, as no one can avoid responsibility for the spoken and written word. Therefore, there are things that the world media could do and could have done differently in the coverage of the Charlie Hebdo killings and the events that have followed.
With a few exceptions, the media coverage of the situation in Ferguson has been disappointing. Most reporting has been focused on actions in response to the shooting of Mike Brown and/or the reaction to the lack of an indictment that would lead to a trial for Officer Darren Wilson. It has missed the bigger stories that underlie this tragedy.
How and why do we have an an essentially white police force and government in an area that is essentially black? How are areas like Ferguson, (one of over 80 municipalities in St Louis), financed by ticketing of traffic violations and court fees that target a poor minority community? What is the number of men of color that have been shot who were unarmed by white police officers over the past ten years in St Louis and throughout the US? How many of these cases go to trial? Why are body cameras not required in every jurisdiction to demonstrate what really goes on when the cost of a camera is probably less than a firearm?
When UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his government intends to block the free movement of people from Romania and Bulgaria European leaders accused him of turning Britain into Europe’s “nasty country”.
But while he has enraged normally docile Brussels bureaucrats, Cameron has delighted the country’s xenophobic tabloid press. In effect he has lit the blue touch paper for a period of renewed targeting of foreigners in Britain, particularly Roma people and thousands of migrants from the eastern fringes of the European Union.
The good news from Europe’s troubled Western Balkans is that media are getting better. In general there is less hate speech in journalism across a region which 20 years ago was ravaged by war, brutal community violence and acts of genocide.
The bad news is that the slow progress towards more responsible journalism is being derailed by an upsurge in hate-speech from the audience, much of it through online sources which use media outlets as a platform for incitement to violence.
After months of relative calm, Britain’s politicians and press owners are again trading blows over how to regulate the newspaper industry. But tabloid pressure on the worst victims of media prejudice is likely to continue whoever is left standing when the smoke clears.
It has been almost a year since the Lord Justice Brian Leveson made his lacerating criticism of unethical and criminal behaviour by some newspapers which he said “can wreak havoc” on people’s lives. The Leveson Report called on the press to clean up its act and they unanimously agreed to do so, but the progress towards reform has been glacial.
Residents of London borough of Brent staged a protest at Kensal Green tube station voicing their discontent with the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) recent campaign to send immigrants home. In July, after mayor of London Boris Johnson had agreed to pilot the scheme in six boroughs of London, vans were driven around carrying slogans telling immigrant to "Go home or face arrest".
UKBA agents and police were already conducted checks across tube stations in Brent, and many have accused them of employing racial profiling to conduct their stops. As the Kilburn Times reported last month, such checks in Kensal Green tube station were accused of being ‘heavy handed’ - UKBA officers even threatened one resident who queried what was going on with arrest.
Hatred has many faces and journalists need to tread with particular care when reporting issues that may, even inadvertently, reinforce prejudice and bigotry or inspire incitement to violence.
It’s an issue well understood by Nahla Mahmoud, a media spokesperson for an organisation of secular former Muslims in Britain. She has been the target of a vicious campaign by religious extremists after she provided an interview on Sharia Law for Channel 4 television.
It was not that long ago, that features about lesbian partnerships with children from previous heterosexual marriages were unconceivable in the Serbian press. Today, empathy-evoking stories on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons which place them in the context of everyday life, written in a non-sensationalist manner and crucial for their inclusion in society, are slowly finding their way into the pages of national newspapers. However, such texts represent exceptions, because the prevailing coverage continues to be far from inclusive and ethical.
The media image of LGBT persons is still full of negative stereotypes and prejudices which result in the denial of their human rights. LGBT persons continue to be presented as a social anomaly, placed in the same category as shocking news, scandals or entertainment and depicted as non-patriots and persons with lifestyles that are foreign and opposite of the traditional Serbian orthodox culture.