Media ethics and the frenzy of stereotype A view from the Indian sub-continent Rashmi Vasudeva, Erasmus Mundus Masters in Media Within Globalization Security and Ethics of Technology-Enabled Communication EMA Thematic Conference, Bordeaux, 29-30 March 2010 An overview Why media ethics in this age of convergence Media – lifeblood of democracy or a demagogue? US-Pak media: A case study of tech-enabled homogenization India-Aus racism row: Mediatized crisis The frenzy of „easy hate‟ Conclusion: Get into the big tent but give and take! Media impacts an electronic diaspora A climate of fear, terrorism and regional conflict – media must remember Spiderman‟s words – with great power comes great responsibility Technology throws up vital questions about ethics, security and media‟s role in conflict creation and cultural polarization Internet is a wayward river…how information flows and to whom and to what consequence is anybody‟s guess US-Pak media: „This is not us‟ The real war in Pakistan is about perceptions International migraine versus the Evil West Pak is not Iraq; nor is it Afghanistan Pak media fostering watch video Anti-Americanism “Pluralism represents one of the greatest challenges of our age. Our world is connected technologically like never before but this grid of connections co-exists with a collision of cultures, values, customs, religions, social structures and philosophies. To compound matters, this pluralism is refracted through the prism of an instantly-accessible news media of striking images of angry conflicting voices and of powerful manipulative agents.” Stephen Ward, Media Scholar India-Aus row: Mediated crisis A wired wildfire of stereotyping Increasing globalization and instant online access has altered how countries like India and Australia view their identity and role in world politics Globalized media's encounters with each other fosters deeply divisive racial/polarized debates In times of insecurity, the media thanks to technology, can amplify the view of fear mongerers. Internet's ability to provide layers of information should result in a more 'contextualised' journalism for a pluralistic public sphere. But does that really happen? The frenzy of hate: An online drama? The role of technology in media is crucial; for it ensures efficient distribution of fear, anxiety and outrage with minimal effort. “24x7 media, both online and offline, converts a kernel of an issue into a forest fire with effortless and almost inevitable ease. It specializes in recasting questions in martial terms - everything becomes war when it is mediatized – either for gain or in ignorance.” Santosh Desai, Times of India columnist The symbolism of hate The use of random violence staged spectacularly is a particularly efficient device in today's times The ease with which symbolic violence can be widely distributed is creating a surfeit of such issues, but the real damage inflicted is to the ideals modern societies are built on Today, hate and violence is a stage performance enacted for an audience. Now it is so much easier for hate to be expressed without putting anything at risk. We can froth, foam, rave and rant without restraint in the alternative universe called media. The internet is full of the vilest form of hate since it gives us the maximum protection from the consequences of our words. Conclusion Technology has made the journalist an initiator of conversation rather than a transmitter of information. This new environment changes how journalists see themselves and how they regard public deliberation. Obviously these have great implications for ethics, security and democracy. Global information = higher stakes Thus, ethical standards must be broader, more profound and more defined to realize a democratic and empowering technology rather than an enslaving or debilitating one, Journalists must deal with the stubborn complexity and plurality of the world, not shrink it down to digestible sound bites or clever tweets; only then can ethically responsible or peace journalism can work. Only a true collaboration between the traditional and the new media will sustain journalism’s credibility and relevance and thus help it exercise its enormous power responsibly. It might be a Dickensian „worst of times‟ for media in many ways and the profession might be facing its greatest challenges from all quarters but it is also its „best of times‟ with so much global potential and power in its reach – technologically as well as socio-culturally. It is up to journalists to reach out… For, it is Journalism and Journalism alone that has the capacity to be the most potent force for humanity, for intercultural understanding, for peace and for democracy. THANK YOU!