Monday, 9 September 2013

Vigil For Peace In Syria - Media Failure

People gather in St Peter's Square for Vigil for Peace
Photo: USA Today

On Saturday Pope Francis held a prayer vigil for peace in Syria. As I wrote earlier - Vigil For Peace Well Attended - more than 100,000 people attended the vigil in St Peter’s Square. This morning I began eagerly searching the net to see what the media was reporting on the subject.

This vigil had a very good turnout and given that it was so relevant to the most news worthy event taking placing in the world right now, I expected it to receive a great deal of coverage. It has however sadly barely received coverage in the international media. In South Africa media coverage has been all but not existent.

When one Google’s an important event like this and your own insignificant Blog post - Vigil For Peace Well Attended - pops up in the top 10 results, there is clearly a very definite failure by the media to report on it.

It is sad that the media will not report on events such as these. This would surely give people a broader perspective of the different opinions on the subject of military strikes on Syria.

There is no doubt that people need to hear more than just the continual justification of military intervention from world leaders like Obama and Kerry. Greater coverage of calls for peace would certainly lead Obama, Kerry and the other proponents of military intervention to think again. They would have to if they suddenly found that the mainstream media was carrying more and reports of anti-war sentiment.

During the vigil Pope Francis said: “Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.

Pope Francis went on to say: “How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the cross, if only for a moment. There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue and peace is spoken.

This is certainly advice that Obama, Kerry and all the warmongers should listen to. Dialogue and reconciliation is what is needed in this situation. Not the selfish and stubborn promotion of an agenda that will only further self-interests while leading to more deaths and countless more suffering.

If anyone needs to be punished then the ICC is the means to do that. Launching military strikes, that will inevitably lead to the death of countless individuals, which will most likely include many innocent civilians, is not the way to go about punishing one man for the crimes he has committed against humanity. Military intervention doesn’t punish the criminal; it punishes the people of Syria.

So why are the mainstream media not blaring this message to their audiences every 15 minutes, instead of only the constant justification of military intervention from the warmongers? Surely at the very least both messages, for and against military intervention, should be given equal airtime by the mainstream media? Are the media also just stubbornly driven by their own selfish self-interests?

As for the media in South Africa, who all seem to have time to take to twitter to criticise the mistakes of the new news network in South Africa - ANN7. Why haven’t you found time to publish anything about this prayer vigil for peace? Shame on you! You really are all equally unreliable as a source of news. Thank goodness we have the Internet and do not need to rely on South African media to keep up with what’s happening in the world.