When it comes to the analysis of what new stories we see (or don’t see) in mass news media, I’ve often been an apologist for the business side of selection bias. I would often defend the coverage of violence in Western countries over the violence in countries of the East, both Near and Far, by arguing that people in the United States have a more vested interest in the goings on of Europe, and companies like CNN are driven by viewership, after all. However, this lack of information about the struggles and hardships of other peoples across the world, especially when those hardships can challenge the preconceptions that companies like CNN, NBC and Fox News cash in on, can be problematic. I can see a no more obvious case than the persecution of Muslims in the country of Myanmar.

Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country run by a President who was formerly a member of the ruling Military junta. However, also in Myanmar, lives a group of people who have been systematically disenfranchised, ostracized, and recently killed, for their religious beliefs: The Rohingya people. The Rohingya people, the Indo-Aryan Muslims who inhabit remote regions in Myanmar, have been barred from citizenship, victimized in the judicial system, and have become the targets of Buddhist nationalist violence, in varying degrees since Myanmar gained independence from Britain.

The point of this post is to bring light to the fact that there are people of many different cultures, religions, and backgrounds are both perpetrators and victims of hate crimes across the globe. These articles, detailing the victimization of Muslims, who are often portrayed as perpetrators of violent crimes, help us to see that alternative and non-Western news sources can give us views into conflict that we normally might never see. In essence, the news media, as a method of educating the public, is open to a wide variety of biases. This case, and these two articles, are strong indicators that a diverse news platform palate is essential if we want to have a better understanding of the world and the forces at play across the globe.

 

Sources:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/mob-burns-mosque-myanmar-160702100230049.html

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21654124-myanmars-muslim-minority-have-been-attacked-impunity-stripped-vote-and-driven

 

 

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One thought on “Myanmar’s Invisible Extermination: How News Media plays into Pre-conceived Notions

  1. “Buddhist nationalist violence” is not a phrase you hear often in the news yet is all to real in that region of the world. Very relevant and very under-publicized issue, Tom. Well done.

    Like

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