14.03.2022 Article

Media's Coverage In Ukraine Has Exposed Hypocrisy And Double Standard of The Global Media Outlets

Mohamed Hussein MentalistMohamed Hussein Mentalist
14.03.2022 LISTEN

MOGADISHU. SOMALIA: It was 24th February when barrage and deafening sound of explosions were heard in Ukraine and sent shock waves to Ukraine and beyond. Putin authorized special military operation to bring Ukraine under the Russian hegemony and also alluded denasizification campaign and soon encountered international condemnation and the most stringent embargo in the recorded history.

The west and Nato were attempting to thwart Russian brutal invasion, but it ended up diametrically in vain, currently Russian troops are advancing Kyiv the capital of Ukraine and decimated both social & economic infrastructure through relentless aerial bombardments.

Too much ambiguity and equivocation. Just how easy is it to be a hero, insurgents and terrorists? It hinges on where you are and who you are. Media coverage in Ukraine has polarized the global media organizations and the schism was crystal clear the Russian incursions of Ukraine, the Western media have grappled and exposed their hypocrisy with some professional Journalists even astounded why white people in civilized Europe are fighting.

To make the matter worse, those of us in the floral South, where impoverishment, Co- morbidities, conflict, mutiny, insurrection, drought, deluge, hyperinflation both natural & anthropogenic catastrophes were pressing and appalling issues under discussion. Russian invasion only proved that we are all humans after all. Tussle and bickering among humans often leads interminable and inextricable conflict with apocalyptic repercussions in the region and beyond.

Apart from the mayhem for the Western media, let's embark with the invasion itself Russia had imposed draconian media laws and tightened media censorship and informed all media professionals, not to use these terms, War & Invasion. If used they will face hefty fines and indefinite incarceration and also threatened to rescind the press credentials or media accreditation if they ignore and this move has coerced some media outlets to review and assess their Ukraine.

Russian troops besieged many cities and was accused of committing war crimes and atrocities by bombing residential neighborhoods and ICC chief Prosecutor Karim Khan Said we will investigate Russian war crimes and those responsible will be held accountable. Russian forcible entry into Ukraine deserved no other term and we agree that this was a blatant invasion

but Russia isn't the only Superpower to have invaded another; The US has done, so for years under the pretext of terrorism and when US invaded Iraq in 2003 ostensibly to remove weapons of that kind and liberation only ended up deposing Saddam Hussein leaving Iraq in total chaos, disarray and plight we cannot be described as liberated.

Still in Ukraine, a marine who vandalized a bridge and thwarted advancing Russian forces was declared hero and the daily mail ran with the stay in the front page. The soldier blew himself up in a suicide mission, ostensibly to save his country from advancing Russian forces, in Iraq when resistant force blew up bridges, they were labelled terrorists. They aimed to forestall advancing US forces.

This type of decimation to foil enemy advance had been there in Iraq war and it fuelled fears and apprehension among planning allied forces that toppling Saddam Hussein would not be easy the Guardian reported " Scorched earth policy " and accused Saddam of planning to sabotage everything in the path of US and British assault. Not to mention that the people has also labelled as brutal terminator planning to harm his people by using weapons of mass destruction and starving his people to deny food to quell US assault.

If at all defence forces do anything to pre-empt enemy advances, why then is that reportage of events in both spheres of the world is never the same? The answer may lie in racism, xenophobia, hate speech which may have shaped our newsrooms. African Journalist Jacky Kamengisa, perhaps with a tongue-in-cheek, ripped through racist attitude, writing on Twitter, she said Western media had a script all these years.

First you provide context by comparing and contrasting armed conflicts in the third world, leave out some facts like how the imperialists states fund these wars. Africa became a battlefield for superpowers as we have seen multiple proxy wars that annihilated and maimed unaccountable civilians. Make sure the country seems like War-thirsty Zombies in comparison to peaceful Europe. Bonus points if you throw in Iraq, Afghanistan as examples she said.

CBS correspondent had appalling and flabbergastedly declared on TV that Ukraine was never expected to embroil bloody and full-scale war like Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia because it is relatively civilized whe Petro Poroshenko former Ukrainian president who was Pro-Russia picked and brandished his Kalashnikov, Western media described him as hero in Africa when separatist rebels or mutinous soldiers fought with the government or attempt to dethrone or seize power under the barrel of gun. Western media described them insurgents and saboteurs.

There has been tiny matter of prepositions Russia attack was labelled flagrant invasion on sovereign state of Ukraine because it seceded from Russia and declared its unilateral independence in 1991 and Ukraine was the breadbasket of Eastern Europe. But Israeli airstrike in Gaza, a territory belonging to Palestine western media will divert their attention and spotlight by saying it is a religious and territorial dispute; Middle East found itself dragged into coverage of the conflict in Ukraine over the past weeks as Journalists descended on the country to cover the biggest European war in decades.

Other news outlets poured sympathy on Ukrainian victims with interviewees and correspondents pointing out that unlike Middle Eastern refugees, Ukrainian victims were " white, Christian, middle class, blonde and blue-eyed " in a matter of days; Hashtag, and even T-shirts featuring the phrase " civilized " surfaced in the middle east in protest.

Media coverage prompted the Newyork based Arabs and Middle Eastern Journalists Association to issue a statement condemning the " pervasive mentality in Western Journalism of normalizing excruciating tragedy in places of Africa and Middle East. It's president Hoda Osman who has reported for several media outlets, including France 24. ABC News and CBS news said the contrast between coverage Western victims Versus Middle Eastern and African ones demonstrates a dehumanization of the latter.

Ukraine crisis coverage reveals stark biases. New media outlets are apologizing for the way they have been covering and discussing the war in Ukraine.

Subconscious biases against non-whites refugees have surfaced and the deluge of News coverage. Driving the News. Aljazeera Media network apologized for comments that Peter Dobbie, presenter and TV anchor made on air when he described Ukrainians fleeing their country as" Prosperous, Middle- class people obviously not languished and haggard refugees fleeing from the Middle East and the North Africa they look like any European family that you'd live next door"

in a statement Aljazeera media outlets said the comments which social media users and influencers were circulating described as racist were blatant breach of its commitment to " Impartiality, Neutrality, diversity, Media ethics and professionalism and it would be dealt with through disciplinary measures.

CBS News Charlie D.agota he used a poor choice of words and publicly apologized for any offence I may have caused, after earlier insinuating that countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are relatively uncivilized. A French Network BFM TV told the AFP that Journalists Philippe Corbe deeply regrets his clumsy and awkward comments.

( We are not talking about Syrians fleeing from the bombing of Syrian bellicose regime backed by Putin, We are talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their live) Were taken out of the context. The bigger picture around the World Journalists have drawn scrutiny for making similar remarks as have politicians and pundits. This is not developing third world nation. This is Europe. Journalist Lucy Watson reported on ITV News from Kyiv

This glaring double standard has received a considerable backlash online with Social media users calling out reporters and News organizations for their implicit bias. In other words white European and Americans are not accustomed to war, it is not who " We are" We are civilized and peaceful, war happens in other countries, ones that are non-whites. What makes this conflict so hard for the Western psyche to Stomach is that as Daniel Hannan from the Telegraph wrote the White Ukrainians we see on TV are" Just like us" they have " Netflix" and " Instagram accounts " they are not impoverished, they are middle class.

The world was sympathetic when it saw gruesome images of Syrian refugees drowning at sea, washing up on European shores and settling in filthy, squalid and awful camps and makeshift shanty- towns. Yet they were beaten and incarcerated by border police blamed for igniting a cultural war that threatened the fabric of a white Judeo- Christian Europe and few of those reporting on the ground during that crisis seemed particularly astounded, disturbed but not quite shocked at the turn of events, complete lack of empathy,

while Ukrainian refugees were welcomed with open arms and were offered everything freely without cumbersome and Ukrainian can enter European union Visa-free. Private companies like Airbnb announced that 100,000 homes would be made available to accommodate Ukrainians fleeing from the bloody war. And many European and North American countries had pledged to offer them resettlement programs.

How we see people in crisis begins with the Journalists and pundits who deliver the News. Media organizations must stop looking down on other countries and people suffering war, whose conflict they see inevitable. Psychologist was once said peace is indispensable while war is inevitable, war will be the last resort and conflict usually comes when channels of negotiation and diplomacy are dysfunctional

we would do better to identify our own bias so we can be more tolerant and accepting the suffering of others based on their plight, experience, not the color of their skin. Observers also say they found many examples of racial bias and also expressed concern about lack of coverage to other conflicts. We think really what we need is great deal of empathy for all refugees, war correspondents have framed suffering and displacement as normal and acceptable for people in the Middle East, Africa but Europe people are civilized and war is not a viable option.

In 20th Century, of course, Europe was the site of two of the most brutal and devastating conflicts in human history. World warI and World war II including unprecedented and gruesome carnage and massive devastation. In 1990s genocide and ethnic cleansing erupted in the Balkans, states of Europe the war broke part the former Yugoslavia and lasted more than a decade, some people expressed similar shock and trepidation at the beginning of World War II that a nation with so rich an artistic and cultural history as Germany could start a war, says John Vile, professor of political science at Middle Tennessee state university.

The stunned comments coming from Journalists and others over the past weeks might stem from feelings of racial superiority, he says even if it is an unconscious way, but the current conflict in Europe also has the potential to engulf the world in global conflagration similar to those in 20th Century. Says professor Vile and this they could signal greater repercussions for overall peace then conflicts in other areas of the world.

As a professional Journalist it is really our career to shed light or illuminate these biases out it is a critical blind spot in the way Newsroom are functioning and the way many Journalists are functioning. It is time to break silence and obliterate media bias. Global media should remain free from bias and act as the voice of the voiceless and marginalized communities as it used to be in the past due to global interdependence and rapid change due to globalization.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MOHAMED HUSSEIN MENTALIST. Author, blogger, prominent researcher , Horn of Africa Affairs analyst and senior lecturer at Mogadishu University.

The author: holds BA in English Language and literature at Mogadishu University and BA in Business administration at Simad University. Master of arts in applied Linguistics at Kisii University in Nairobi, as well as Master of peace and conflict studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Mohamed Hussein Mentalist
Mohamed Hussein Mentalist

East Africa correspondent of ModernGhana. Page: MohamedHusseinMentalist