Media's Challenge: Asian Tsunami and Beyond (2007)

Media's Challenge: Asian Tsunami and Beyond (2007)
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Edited by: Kalinga Seneviratne
ISBN: 981-4136-03-4
Year: 2006
Pages: 272
Price: US$ 29.00

The tsunamic demonstrated that modern journalists can do more than just bring unfolding stories to the world. One of the biggest lessons of the tsunami that is unravelling is that the modern journalist can also help to heal communities, rebuild lives, keep families intact and raise funds. The media should also keep an eye on government and relief agencies, helping to ensure that aid gets to the people who need it, and that those who deliver the goods remain accountable to the donors and practice ethical standards of aid delivery.

The question of media freedoms is also an important part of this equation. Beyond what journalists can do, there is also the matter of what authorities will allow them to do. In other words, the question of how much a responsible media will be allowed to do its job.

It is in the rehabilitation or healing process that the media face the most challenging task. In this endeavour, democracy and freedom to gather and disseminate information may not be enough. In many parts of Asia and beyond, the mainstream media has been excessively commercialised. The tsunami became such a hot media issue around the world, because the dramatic pictures available were very attractive revenue making material for commercial broadcasters, but the rebuilding and healing process does not provide such pictures.

It is in such an environment, that this book examines the challenge journalists face in reporting a process that may not provide dramatic pictures, but still needs to grab the audience/readers attention. Focusing more on the print media, many interesting issues dealing with the reconstruction and rehabilitatin process are explored, with analysis and commentary on why some stories are not given the exposure they deserve and how these issues may be made newsworthy.

This book is a useful reference tool not only for journalists and journalism educators, but also for aid agencies and other organizations involved in disaster relief.