"Whatever is received is received in the manner of the receiver" is an aphorism from the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. We can change this somewhat to say that whatever is given is given in the manner of the one giving, especially when we are dealing with the mass media. We know how much the media weighs the facts with the thumb on the scale. Not surprising, and expected, but does require wisdom when going to the media for information and knowledge. Some media conveys more truth than others.
has an interview with a professor in the Press and Broadcasting Studies at the Anglican University. He was asked how does he see
the present situation in Korea with the mass media. He recalls the
days in 1985 and the purge of those in the media who were critical of
the government. When freedom of the press was returned in 1987
there was growth. The atmosphere was there for a segment of the press
to say what they thought was right. However, after 2008 many of those
who were connected with the government were in management positions
within the mass media, and spoke for the government. Certain aspects are
different but the professor says we have gone back in many ways to the
In 2009 we had a change in the
law governing the press. In a democratic society the media to protect
its diversity, the press and broadcasting companies were forbidden to
have other business involvement. The Media Law of 2009 broke this
understanding, and we have collusion with big business which are now
able to own shares in the media. Alternative media is
fighting this, but they are small and the citizenry is not supporting
them, so their influence is small.
How do we
distinguish what is true and false? We have the responsibility and the
right to search out what is the truth in the media. It is difficult to
make this decision when it is only a one way transmitting of the news,
and the most influential media does the distorting. There is
criticism, however, and the need for the public to compare news reports with one or
two other reports, and support the news that is objective.
have to be actively concerned with what is important. Each person in
a democratic society should be able to enjoy their human existence.
We have to go beyond the idea of merely helping and protecting the
poor and have a new vision. The professor gives us the example from a
documentary (Barefooted Doctors) 2007, on the Cuban doctors who went to
Most of the doctors who had gone to
East Timor, left for their home country after a few months but
doctors from Cuba did not leave. "You came to serve, why don't you
leave like the other doctors?" They all, without hesitation answered:
"We did not come to serve. We are just doing our work the "East Timorese"
have a right to enjoy life." The idea of helping those who
are not as well off, was not part of their thinking. This,
the professor explains, is the way they were trained to become
doctors. They train those who are going to be doctors at government
expense. All is free. They work not as much for money but to realize
their potential as human beings, and to build a happy society.
professor shows us by his example the way the news is easily slanted by
the news media because of their ideological positions and collusion with
big business. The question he received was about free lunches in
schools and the way some of the media attacked with: "Are we going to
feed the rich with free lunches?" The press can use words and tone to
sway the readers with the way they choose to see the world. Objectivity
is not as important as pushing their agenda, and the professor gives us
the example of doctors from a poor country, who have one of the best
medical systems in the world and the way they see the world in which
they live. Being objective and conveying the truth is difficult, but deliberately, when
the media tries to protect their interests, and not the public interest, truth is sacrificed.