Many people nowadays question the reliability of the media. By media, we mean most, but obviously not all, of the press and media, official and private around the world, including major international media.
There are two main paradoxes that we wish to raise at the outset.
The first concerns the privatization of the media. A few decades or more ago, people questioned the “public” media, saying that they represented the unique views of governments and states, believing that when privatized they would be more independent, objective and reliable.
In reality, and after privatization has resulted in the creation of so many private media in our part of the world and elsewhere, the opposite has proven to be true in most cases, because the private media are generally found to be directly managed and influenced by those who own or run them. Some are also very problematic and even superficial.
The second paradox is linked to the abundance of the media. Not so long ago, media channels were limited, and some people said that if they increased in number, our chances of getting to the truth would be much more possible, and our knowledge of the “truth” about questions would be much more important. richer and deeper.
Unfortunately, again, what happened is almost exactly the opposite, as their abundance has created a lot of confusion, doubt, contradiction and sometimes deception. As a result, the truth is almost lost and some are beginning to long for the days when the media was limited in number.
What is truly sad, and even more disturbing than the two paradoxes we have just stated, is the growing belief among many people that much of the media in today’s world is no longer aimed at seeking truth and to convey it to people, but to meet their own objectives.
In fact, what concerns most media today, both formal media and social media, seems to be the promotion of the idea, story or news, whatever the content. The measure of their success seems to be more quantitative than qualitative, i.e. how many individuals follow, share or comment on what is communicated, and not necessarily the meaning, reliability or veracity of it.
And it’s an unfortunate mishap, many say.
It is fully realized, of course, that since its inception centuries ago, the media have never been entirely accurate or trustworthy; storytelling is not pure science. However, relatively speaking, professional media content was generally more truthful and reliable.
It is also important to point out that not all media today is suspect, as many still care about the truth and enjoy an acceptable degree of reliability. And that’s what we want for our world. The problem, however, is that finding such media, among this maze of outlets, is difficult: sometimes it’s a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
It is also important to point out that many media in our part of the world, perhaps more than most global media, still maintain their allegiance to the truth and take reliability, accountability and professionalism seriously. And that makes us very happy
What is needed today for the peace, progress and prosperity of humanity is to guarantee the sustainability and multiplication of reliable and truthful media.
Until that happens, one should generally be extremely suspicious and cautious about what one receives from the media, subjecting it to extensive scrutiny and analysis before accepting it as trustworthy.
Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh is a Lecturer in the Department of English Literature at the University of Jordan