Friday, November 27, 2009

Conventional ideas of balance are all but redundant in modern conflict

Charlie Beckett gives a good synopsis of Polis' debate this week on Managing the News in Conflict: Covering Gaza under the Media Ban.

Reporting war is getting more dangerous, difficult and complicated but working with citizen journalists is one way of getting around the censorship, lack of resources and danger.

The debate featured Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East Editor, Alan Fisher and Sherrine Tadros, both Al Jazeera English, and Louise Turner, Unseen Gaza Dispatches Director/Producer.

What was interesting says Beckett

was the consensus that conventional ideas of balance are all but redundant in modern conflict where so often the sides are disproportionate.

There was also a thoughtful debate around whether TV channels serving western audiences should show as much gore as Arab broadcasters routinely do. Bowen thought that the BBC could show more but as soon as you go too far it loses its impact. And both Fisher and Tadros agreed that to get the most impact, you don’t have to resort to explicit horror. Louise Turner watched hours of rushes of stomach-churning imagery in the making of her documentary about Gaza and she said that the effect was to numb not to inform.

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