Is the British media is truly objective to people ? 

Nowadays, the media takes a significant role in international events. People need to be aware of current affairs and be sure that they get information in high quality. Although, sometimes there is a lack of objectivity in British news media. Objectivity is one of the most important Journalism values. It is especially important in unexpected events – such as war, conflict or terror(ism). These problems often provoke countries to use propaganda, in order to ‘keep people on their side’, whatever it is – politicians, government or particular groups. During the recent time, where there is no actual world wars, humanity needs to face another factor – terrorism, which can lead us to the direct and immediate war. The media takes the main role in communication between countries, people and organisations. The wrongly reported information can lead us to wrong government decisions, false predictions and in terrorism situation – to war.

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Professional Journalism should always be based on objectivity. As a meaning, ‘objectivity’ considers Journalists not to include personal feelings, views, biases or prejudices in any story. In order of that, journalists tend to use neutral words, they avoids using adjectives – which can give people an opinion about the writer’s or reporter’s views. Currently, people consume a large amount of information every day. That is the main reason why media is so important in everyday life. People get information not only localy, but worldwide. As a result, news media plays a central role in presenting the news to the world and for some particular groups it is a way to send a message or represent themselves. It happened on the 13th of November, when many people in Paris were attacked and died during an ordinary evening. These horrifying  actions became the centre of the world’s news media. ISIS ‘Islamic state of Iraq and Syria’ unexpectedly attacked people in the city of Paris, aiming for attention and reaching to be ‘loud’ in every country’s media. As a result of it, even before Islamic State Of Iraq and Syria admitted that the attacks were their fault the British media was already giving hints about blaming ISIS. Although, almost no one mentions a reason why this conflict started, the media are tending to blame more than analyse it more deeply.

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After the Paris attacks, British media is highlighting the word – Muslims. Most of the articles are related to terrorism. Daily Mail newspaper, the day after the attacks published an article which had a headline ‘Revealed: Two of the Jihadis sneaked into Europe via Greece by posing as refugees and being rescued from a sinking migrant boat – and survivors say one of the attackers was a WOMAN’ . (2015) It gave people an opinion that Europe made a mistake by accepting refugees and that this situation is because they are here. In the article they use particular words of suggestions – might, maybe, is believed; which does not confirm the information, but gives the wrong opinion to the reader, which is not truly objective. Especially, when the facts are not proven. After these speculations, many articles including social media posts were about blaming muslims and refugees. People divided in two groups: Agreeing that all of the problems are caused by Muslims or refugees and people who believes that it is not related to any group of religion. A week after the horrifying actions in Paris, the article with headline ‘’The media have failed us’: British Muslims on coverage of the Paris attacks.’ appeared in one of the leading Britain’s newspapers. British Muslims told how their lives have changed after 13th of November, 2015. ‘On social media, people used the hashtags #IamMuslim and #PrayforParis in a show of unity.’ (Fishwick, The Guardian, 2015). From the very beginning they felt fear of being blamed just because of believing in particular religion. Even in the 21st century, when discrimination due to certain believes is punishable by law. Sarah, 25, from Manor House in London claims ‘I feel like I don’t really belong here in the UK. I’ve been very scared to go on the street alone, so much so that I’ve skipped a few meetings.’ Many Muslims feel guilt even if they have not done anything wrong or cruel, it is well known, that many various religious people have been under attack, terrorists did not care if they are Christians or Muslims. ‘I know unemployed Muslims who are considering changing their name as they’ve been told that people will think negatively of their Muslim name, and not call them for an interview. We need the media to be more balanced at least and raise awareness of the challenges we face.’ – says Zaynab, 32, from Stanmore. This article showed the other side of this situation – objective one. People need to be aware of deeper facts, otherwise we would start to believe in cliches and stereotypes. It could lead humanity to complete alienation.

Moreover, the Paris attacks in British media contains all of the ‘news values’ by J. Galtung and M. Ruge who created a system of twelve factors describing events that together are used as a definition of ‘newsworthiness’. This information affected everyone. Terrorism can be unexpected, immediate or planned and based on threatens. It happened to people from all around the world in one city, but in a few ordinary places. This story is important to those who spends their Friday evening having dinner, watching sports or listening to music. Which means it can be anyone – that is the most important factor for this story in media. It has everything that is needed to attract the reader. When the massive attention for Paris started, some started to wonder, why other attack that were not less important or horrifying did not get that much support. The same night people died not only in Paris, but it Beirut as well. ‘Yes the media are skewed but we, as consumers, are complicit. There are complex reasons for the imbalance.’ (Malik, The Guardian, 2015). It is natural for human not to care about every horrifying event equally. The day in news media does not exist without tragedy. News has it own values of people attention. The massive attack in Paris captured and shocked all of the world, but not that many attention was intended to investigate bombing in Middle East. ‘By the same token, a campus shooting is a more common occurrence in the US than it is anywhere else, and coverage of shooting events have lately been relegated down the front pages, due to frequency. It sounds churlish, but that is news.’ –      Nesrine Malik claims in her article. As a result, reaching for people attention, media can ‘circumvent’ rules or being truly objective. Media can use provocative headlines before any facts are proven. Few days after the attacks, The Daily Express have chosen a ‘screaming’ headline ‘ISIS TERROR WARNING: Britain NEXT to be ATTACKED by jihadists, supporters claim’. The headline is terrifying for Britain’s citizens and attracts many readers, because they think that this information can affect them. However, the article content about this threaten says just a few words ‘BRITAIN is at risk from the next Islamic State attack, supporters of the evil terror group have warned in unconfirmed tweets.’ The rest information is most about event at Paris. This headline is unfair to the readers. It is promising until you actually open it.

To summarise, there is no exact conclusion about British News objectivity. There can be found trustworthy and unfair articles. Although, Britain is one of the most objective and tolerated countries all over the world. Many of worldwide newspapers which reports international news are located in United Kingdom. The objective article should contain these particular questions – ‘What? Who? When? Where? How? And  if possible Why?’ It should be verifiable facts, most importantly – not interpretation. Otherwise, it can lead to wrong information, unfair conclusions. Many people can be affected by this. That is happening worldwide at the moment. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have published an article ‘Why you can’t always rely on numbers in the news’ by Newsbeat reporter Amelia Butterly. It is criticising The Sun’s front cover on Monday 23rd of November. The story says that ‘One in five British Muslims had sympathy with jihadis’. Moreover, the survey was completed by Survation, where people have chosen one of the statements that they agree with: ‘Respondents selected whether they had “a lot of sympathy”, “some sympathy” or “no sympathy” with young Muslims who left the UK to fight in Syria.’ (Butterly, BBC, 2015). It proves that even when the statistics are given in the news, people should be careful with it. Newsbeat reporter claims that it is necessary to think about these things – where the numbers came from, how many people were surveyed and how the question is constructed, it is possible that the question was not objective itself. To sum up, Britain’s news media comparing to other countries are objective and trustworthy. Even if some information was published with confusing information, there are always other professionals who will notice that and will help for people to get the truly and honest information.

Karolina Tisikaite.

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