Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reporting the News Truthfully

The Sewol disaster continues to make the news remembering with sadness those who have died, and anger on the way the mass media reported the incident.The public is beginning to reflect on articles, where speed in reporting was more important than the truth. 

Both Catholic paper had articles that pointed to many of the improprieties in the words that  were seen and heard in the mass media. On the Internet, we had a failure, in some cases, of a lack of sympathy, a rudeness shown for the dead and their families. 

Reporters, to find a story, went to the school of the students who died, taking pictures and searching for material for a story, without thought of the feelings of parents and friends of the deceased.

One of the guest columnists, in the Catholic Times, working in the mass media, apologies for the press for what was done. She mentions reports made, about survival  and air pockets  without any of the facts on 'Cold-Water Survival' in the waters where the tragedy took place. 

The water at the sinking of the ferry was cold enough  that even with the life jackets, she says, death would have come within six hours. She mentions that many of the reports on the sinking were thinking of the Mediterranean Sea, where the water temperature is not a problem. This is the reason why rescue efforts have to begin early, and this was often not reported.

Many of the reports were mentioning the chances of air pockets that gave hope without  referring  to the cold water and chances for survival. The columnist does make it clear that it was not easy to report the truth, seeing the crying parents of the deceased and missing. Korean sensitivity is very high and a reason hope is given without respect for truth. This false hope was also a reason for misgivings on the rescue efforts. The  hurt, sacrifice and  regret connected with the tragedy is great.

One of the articles in the Peace Weekly mentions the principles that  Radio Veritas Asia uses to report the news.  Get accurate and complete information and  make a judgement on the information. More than speed is the accuracy and balance of the report and  when possible to approach the story from many different angles. This ideal should be part of all news gatherers. 

Reporters have a great deal of competition, and they want to survive, and continue in their work. In the Sewol tragedy, many reports were false. The media is prejudiced in the same degree that we are.  Bias  is often seen in what they choose to report on the front page and on a back page. The way the story is handled is influenced by the culture. The trust in the news sources from the government in the Sewol  tragedy were strongly criticized and a reason for anger.

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