Did you know that Kylie Jenner is pregnant? I’m sure you’ve heard; even though it hasn’t come from the horse’s mouth, the mere assumption and loose ‘sources’ confirmed by TMZ mean that this drivel has been dominating headlines whereas other stories fall into the shadow. Were you also aware that a car bomb in Somalia killed 276 citizens? Maybe you would if you were patient enough to flick through to the very last page of the newspaper…
The way that some media outlets prioritize news is problematic, to say the least, and whilst I appreciate that different news outlets have different priorities, there is a line. Although you’d expect the headline of The Daily Echo to be about Roger growing the world’s largest potato, you know there’s a problem when some of the main players in the media industry reduce significant global tragedies to a column piece to make way for a front-page close up of Katie Price’s rubbery, play-dough lips.
Tragedies such as Grenfell Tower dominated the media and rightfully so, but what about issues such as child marriage, extreme poverty, and FGM? We can all agree on two things. Firstly, those issues exist, and secondly, as decent, empathetic human beings, we do not approve of them. However, since it’s not on our doorstep, it is assumed that we don’t care. As long we can eat our crumpets, drink our tea and stroke a picture of Winston Churchill in peace, nothing else matters, right?
But that is simply not true. As shown with horrible events like the Haiti earthquake and the Paris attacks, the British public is actually capable of showing solidarity. We aren’t unfeeling, superficial monsters. We cried for these people, donated to charity, and did everything in our power to make things right. We connected with others in crisis and tried to help them based not on the fact we share a British citizenship, but because we are all fellow human beings. We were enabled to do this due to the extensive coverage this event was given in the media and for once it wasn’t left to a charity to condense everything we should know into a sixty-second TV ad.
Many newspapers would argue that it’s a case of supply and demand. We like celebrity gossip and women marrying trains so that’s what we’ll get until something happens that affects us and only us. Tragedies do not equate to facts and figures, but it just doesn’t sit right with me that I had to do a lot of digging to discover that over 60 people had been killed in suicide bombings at Afghanistan mosques. Human life, rights, and liberties should not be pushed aside as though they don’t matter just because such issues do not impact our daily lives.
The atrocities committed by ISIS have been evil to the core, and it’s clear that they need to be stopped. Whilst the ‘lone wolf’ attacks occurring in Europe on behalf of them are incredibly troubling, it barely scratches the surface of the horrors they commit in countries such as Syria. Whilst they have a huge online presence, the very source of the issue is in these countries. One of these individuals indoctrinated alone can hurt an unacceptable amount of people in attacks like Westminster and Manchester. So consider the sheer horrific extent of damage they do in places where they are not only in masses, but also in a position of political power.
The story of Malala Yousafzai could have ended a lot differently if it weren’t for media intervention. Better medical care, protection from the Taliban and raising awareness of troubling conditions that we scarcely knew existed made all the difference. She has been able to be a source of inspiration for many and finally get the education she deserves by studying her degree at Oxford. But how many Malala’s were there before her? And how many have there been since? This kind of oppression might seem unusual, but that’s because we have liberty and safeguards that many others can only dream of. This is a further example of the media making a change, so I don’t understand this selectivity. Why not go beyond making someone like Malala a ‘symbol’ and instead help the countless others like her who have a similarly optimistic hope for future. That is, after all, what she wants as well.
Organisations like the United Nations and European Courts exist to ensure that no matter where you’re from, you are treated with the same dignity and standard. No matter where you are from, a life is a life and it should be treated as the precious gift it is. We are all human beings, whether we’re a few houses down the road or on the other side of the globe. We should be patriotic and look out for people based on our shared humanity alone.
I have been told by many that they don’t watch the news because it can be too depressing. Whilst knowing the state of humanity worldwide maybe isn’t as interesting as a funny dog video, it is crucial knowledge. This knowledge at the very least gives us the option to take action and make a difference. Who knows? Maybe if we did there would be fewer problems to report in the first place.