Media monopoly and conspiracy of silence

There has been a universal silence from both Labour and LNP on unnecessary death of Faysal on Christmas Eve. When dealing with issues related to offshore detention, both major parties seems to suffer from the "elephant in the room" syndrome -- simply avoid talking about the sensitive issue. Having said that, the total media/political (non)response on the death of Manus Is. refugee, Faysal Ahmad, on this Christmas Eve has gone beyond this syndrome of "elephant in the room". To my evaluation, the mass media filtering of this tragic news over the Xmas period can be termed as the "conspiracy of silence".

The mass media coverage for the offshore detention issues here in Australia, we've encountered such "conspiracy of silence" much too often. But how ? How this filtering of public media has comes about ? As the activists, we do have some partial knowledge about how such information blackouts may have come about. But, for a properly formed answers, we should consult with the expert's analysts report. Followings short (6-min) video explains about how the Middle-East conflict has been getting a filtered media coverage in United States of America.

US media coverage of Middle-East conflict

The Israeli government in collaboration with the mass media in United States have been, in this way, generating influence on the public opinion, and ultimately on the US Government's policy, regarding with that conflict. Needless to say, the American public had constantly been fed with the filtered coverage on that conflict, favouring Israeli government policy positions.

On media coverage, the situation of offshore detention of refugees in Australia is similar to that of Middle-East conflict in America. We can replace the 'Israeli Government' with that of corporate interest groups, i.e. Transfield/Broadspectrum. Our offshore refugees detention related issues can be replaced with that of Middle-East conflict. The corporate media ownerships and two major party political system etc. in Australia and United States are pretty much the same. We then have a comprehensive picture of how the filtered media coverage has came out as regards offshore detention issues.

We can identify the top two layers of the structure (media ownerships + political elite) as the so-called "Political Establishment". Within this structure, there've been various institutions that can provide public policy advisory, which are funded by private or the government. For the refugee rights activists, one needs to be aware that the structure is insular and "Establishment" can be non-responsive, especially the issues directly challenging their political legitimacy and threatens its commercial interests. That precisely has been in our case of offshore detention of refugees.

Circumventing Media Monopoly: Human Rights practices

We can observe that, when it comes to getting critical information, the professional human rights organisations, such as AI or HRW, never rely upon the mass media for their analysis reports. These organisations do send their own field researchers, directly contacting primary sources in order to find out what was happening. For a start, we, the activists, should do the same, as practically as possible. Whenever we receive any information, double check whether it would come from reliable sources.

Questions to Ponder: How can we penetrate that structure ? Are there ways for getting around that structure ? And, are there cracks in that structure ?

In Solidarity, NetIPR.

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