February 11, 2012
Crisis in Darfur
The quality of global news coverage has decreased in the past ten years. Even the quantity of reported global crises has gone down. The issue in Darfur has been ongoing since 2003. Though global issues tend to be complex and may not have a foreseeable end or solution, they should not be ignored. More importantly, they should be reported accurately. Defining news is difficult. Deciding what news America would or wouldn’t prefer is difficult. Americans deserve access to whatever news interests them – whether that is the “greatest humanitarian crisis of the twenty-first century” in Darfur or the death of pop singer Michael Jackson (Christians). Is it not any reporter’s goal to truly enlighten its readers especially on such a controversial issue? Underlying this case is the principal of social justice that is often ignored. Is the news media at fault for not always providing “sufficient interpretations?” Or are they ethically sound only addressing little about the topic’s dynamic dimensions or even steering clear of complex conflicts altogether? In order to decide if news coverage in Darfur, for example, is ethically correct steps need to be considered. Defining the situation, addressing values, principles and loyalties will reveal what action news reporters should be taking. Utilizing the Potter Box to analyze the issue in Darfur proves that the issue is not presented in terms of justice but rather in the sensation of violence. I believe that social justice is the ethical principle behind this issue that the news media overlooks too easily, and reporters on this crisis should act on that principle.
The case in Darfur presents two situations. In one, the world should see Darfur in terms of justice and in another where it should see only its ongoing violence. Few reports account for Darfur in light of social justice. The majority of news reporters dealing with the violence in Darfur find it easier to report on just the violence, and in some cases, even “too much” for the public. For Americans, the values of money and safety played a huge role in the lack of coverage on this topic. Visas are hard to get, expenses and danger all pose problems. Reporters’ “logical” reasoning would then tell them that an issue more current, popular and easier to report on is a better choice than one about Darfur. In just quadrant 2 of the Potter Box, news reporters had their actions decided. The issue is too complex, too expensive and dangerous to report on; therefore, it will be reported fifty-five times less than Michael Jackson’s death and with little interpretive sufficiency (Christians). Does the ability to get the truth outweigh the importance of reporting it? These values motivated action that may not have been entirely pure. They are not accurately defended by principles and loyalties. I feel that values of human rights, freedom and justice morally apply to our “community of common human aspirations ” (Christians). The people have the right to be correctly informed on issues around the world. For example, if the issues in Darfur were currently taking place in North Carolina, we would know a whole lot more information about it. Who is to say that just because it’s occurring across the world that it becomes less important in our news?
The media cut the analytical process behind deciding what and how to report on Darfur. I consider who is affected – the general public. The issue is whether they’re given an appropriate representation of the people suffering a corrupt government on the verge of another civil war or not. The key principal to consider here easily becomes social justice. The American press sought principles of selfishness and greed and ultimately knew they would get a larger profit from local, entertainment news stories. The Potter Box needs “ethical reasoning to draw responsible conclusions that yield justifiable actions”...
Cited: Cathcart, B. (2007, April 2). When journalism is powerless. Retrieved from
Christians, C. (2005). Media Ethics Cases and Moral Reasoning. Fackler, Richardson, Kreshel,
Woods, (9th Ed.). Boston, Massachusetts.
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