Other Conflicts and Peacetime Propaganda
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Media and Peacetime Military Propaganda
When major military contractors own or influence large television stations in the US, it is difficult to produce media reports and documentaries that are critical of military-related issues. Yet such arrangements concurrently promote military policies.
Propaganda like this is irresponsible1. It involves many industries, using politics and power-play to convince the people of a nation that a military threat is more real that it is. Such strategies, if successful, may lead to the public demanding or agreeing to an increase in military spending and budgets (which we pay for in the form of taxes) while real issues such as health and education get ignored or neglected. The eventual people who profit from this "increased security" is not the general public, but the arms dealer corporations and the arms dealers themselves, who earn very large commissions.
The Propaganda part of the Arms Trade Section2 of this web site provides more detailed information on how the media portrays various military arms related issues.
Conflicts Ignored by Mainstream
And while the mainstream media concentrated on the Kosovo conflict earlier in 1999, others such as the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo3 that had raged on for over six months at the same time hardly received a mention even in the midst of louder calls4 for peace5.
In fact, it is estimated that there are over 9.5 million refugees in Africa6. Around the time of the Kosovo crisis there were some 7.3 million estimated refugees and many more internally displaced. Yet at that time, most of the international effort and aid was going to the refugees of Kosovo. Kosovo needed the help of course, but are not the lives of Africans also important? What of their suffering and injustices? Of the estimated 1.2 million displaced people from the conflict in Angola for example, there are an estimated 750,000 refugees since the war started in April 1999. Malnutrition risks were real at the same time of the Kosovo crisis, due to inaccessible food7 yet little of this was mentioned in the mainstream media. The plight of African countries in crisis was not reported by the mainstream media in any proportion to the way that it has in Kosovo.
Also at a similar time to Kosovo, the mainstream media has also ignored the civil war in Sierra Leone8 and the neighboring Guinea, where there were reported over 350,000 refugees9 at that time. Of those, 100,000 faced threats of violence.
The Conflicts in Africa10 section on this web site also provides more information.
These are just a few examples. There were many more around the world (before and after Kosovo).
Coverage of Other Conflicts?
It is interesting to note how people's reactions and emotions in NATO nations have been affected by media images of the crisis in Kosovo; how, during the Gulf War, media images from military missions and air strikes led to such overwhelming support for attacks from people in UK and USA. Yet, as mentioned above, the media portrayal of these conflicts has been one-sided and the media has achieved mustering support rather than looking at the policies of the involved nations in an objective, critical way.
One wonders if objective media attention is given to various other places like Turkey, Indonesia, the DRC, Angola, Israel, Guatemala, Colombia and other nations, how people's opinions and attitudes might be affected, especially since in many of these regions nations like the USA have often supported brutal ruling regimes. Given the various interests11 that mainstream media owners have, balanced reporting is not likely.
In fact, while throughout this site, I haven't really discussed much about US foreign policies and military interventions, in as much detail as it could be, the following quote from Noam Chomsky talking about humanitarian interventions as far back as 1984 is a very critical look at how societies are led into various belief systems that allow various actions to go ahead:
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- 'A conversation with Noam Chomsky', Center for Defense Information transcript 923, http://www.cdi.org/adm/Transcripts/923/
- 'Democratic Republic of Congo', http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/DRC.asp
- Chris Simpson, 'The Endless Search For Peace In Congo', Inter Press Service, May 5 1999, http://www.oneworld.org/ips2/may99/14_16_052.html
- Jim Lobe, 'US Sees Shift Towards Negotiations', Inter Press Service, June 9 1999, http://www.oneworld.org/ips2/june99/04_02_003.html
- 'Conflicts in Africa -- Introduction', http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/Intro.asp
- 'Call for Emergency Food Aid to Assist Angolans Facing Increased Risk of Malnutrition', UN Food and Agriculture Organization, June 16 1999, http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/OIS/PRESS_NE/PRESSENG/1999/pren9938.htm
- 'Sierra Leone', http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/SierraLeone.asp
- 'Refugees in Guinea Must Be Protected', Human Rights Watch Press Release, May 31, 1999, http://www.hrw.org/press/1999/may/guinea530.htm
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