Monday, April 02, 2007

The Limits Of Neutrality.

The petition in todays Guardian by over 300 journalists, editors and broadcasters calling for the immediate release of the abducted BBC journalist Alan Johnston is admirable in purpose and one can only hope that it will have an impact. The resolute tone adopted by media outlets when reporting the abduction of a journalist throws into sharp contrast the reportage of Iran's abduction of 15 sailors and marines. Wheras almost all the reports of Mr Johnston's abduction use words like 'abducted' 'hostage' and 'kidnapped' reports about the British Servicemen & service woman routinely use less precise words such as 'captives', 'prisoners' and 'taken' which muddy the truth of what has actualy happened.

In fact going further in an era where Fox News is treated with disdain by the rest of the media world for being so crass as to make it clear that they are not neutral between the West and it's enemies, by for example letting newsreaders wear lapel badges of their nation's flag, one has to wonder why it seems to be acceptable to take an ethical stand over the disappearance of a journalist but not over war with a barbarian regime like the Taliban. Of course objective reporting should not be neutral between right and wrong any more than objective geography should be neutral between the Flat Earth theory and the Spherical globe concept.

So why is it considered okay for the BBC to organise a petion demand the release of Alan Johnston but not demand the release of the sailors?

1 comment:

Elliott said...

That would be an unconscionable abdication of the BBC's responsibility to remain impartial in any dealings between Britain and her enemies.

It is also somewhat puzzling that none of the papers have run pieces contrasting Mr Johnston's faultlessly humane confinement with the horrid treatment meted out to all those innocent lambs at Guantanamo Bay ... perhaps they think it might cause offence?