In their Unesco-funded research paper aptly titled: “Television traffic: a one-way street? A survey and analysis of the international flow of television programme material,” Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio Varis attempted to answer a fundamental question, whether the “free flow of information” was not, in fact, a “one-way flow of information”.
This was in 1974, but the same question still begs for an answer.
Wrote Nordenstreng and Varis in part: “It is the sentiment of this Symposium that information between nations should be based on the principle of peaceful co-existence.
“The peoples of all nations will want to learn from each other while deciding for themselves how they will learn and live. Information flows should serve the mutual understanding of peoples and the cause of peace. This pre-supposes non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, non-discrimination against peoples and races and the exclusion of war propaganda.”
While the media have a critical role to play in the upholding of democracy, the obtaining “one way flow of information” has ensured that this only applies to certain countries.
Western media which is better resourced and has a wider reach, is often used to portray certain countries as retrogressive tyrannies. Zimbabwe can be a useful case study in this regard. As we reported yesterday, in a bid to frustrate President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement and investment prospects, a coordinated media attack on Zimbabwe led by Western and local private media is currently underway.
In only about a week, a total of 37 new accreditations have been processed for foreign media crews whose mission is to paint a picture of military repression. This is despite the fact that political rights and civil liberties are being enjoyed now more in Zimbabwe than under any political leadership since 1890.
In any case, democracy can never be upheld in a state of lawlessness. The rule of law is an essential ingredient of democracy. The State has a duty to maintain law, order and peace so that citizens can enjoy their democracy. The world over, America included, the State, through its law enforcement arms, protects civilians and property in line with constitutional rights espoused in any democratic constitution.
Speaking after the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a Bill that would toughen federal penalties against people who intentionally target law enforcement officers in attacks, including ambushes, last year, President Donald Trump said: “We must end the attacks on our police and we must end them right now. We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty.”
Now imagine if President Mnangagwa had said the same after a police officer was killed and about 30 others were injured following attacks, including ambushes, during the MDC-Alliance-sponsored “shutdown”.
The narrative always favours the West. The death penalty is a proportionate sentence for cop attacks in America, but is disproportionate in Zimbabwe.
In fact, in Zimbabwe, according to the all-powerful Western media, attacking a police officer is a democratic right of sorts, part and parcel of “peaceful” demonstrations.
The Zimbabwean story has been hijacked and is now being scripted in “Hollywood”.
Is this the “free flow of information” the so-called democratic forces are always making noise about? Or is it a one way street to media imperialism?
Source : The Herald