Gita Hashemi on Wed, 17 Apr 2002 07:24:01 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Article: Media indifference to Afghan crisis, David Edward

Title: Article: Media indifference to Afghan crisis, David Ed
In case the atrocities in Palestine have made us think less of the ongoing war on civilians in Afghanistan:

Media indifference to Afghan crisis
Why is the mainstream media ignoring the mass death of Afghan civilians?

It is a long-standing tradition of 'free press' reporting to glare intensely at atrocities committed by 'them' while flashing the briefest of glances at atrocities committed by 'us'. Cognitive dissonance is a necessary feature of this kind of reporting - as, for example, when the world's richest country resolves to bomb the world's poorest country as part of a 'war for civilisation'. For much of the media, the war in Afghanistan ended with the fall of Kabul on November 13. As usual, reporting was focused on the hideous crimes of others, and on our need to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaida. With the goal (partially) achieved, journalists declared another glorious humanitarian victory and moved on. Suddenly the war in Afghanistan was yesterday's news, although not for the civilians killed in the continuing bombardment. A different story - the price of our 'victory' for the people of Afghanistan - threatened to turn the spotlight on our crimes and so was ignored by our media, in accordance with the long-standing tradition. The sheer scale of what has been so casually passed over is extraordinary. A careful reader of the press might discover that Afghan casualties of the bombing now exceed the loss of life on 11 September. But this 'collateral damage' represents a small fraction of the total horror inflicted on Afghanistan.

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