Does It Matter Where News Comes From?

By | March 16, 2007
Thoughtprovoking stuff from John Lloyd of Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford, who thinks news is a universal thing, like human rights. I know I do stuff for the BBC World Service but I’m with Daya Thussu on this: news reflects the values of the people who report it. They may be good values, and they may be my values, but you don’t need to live very long in other parts of the world to see that a London-centric view of the world (and reporting) is going to be different to that of someone living in a flood-prone slum. It’s not so much about values as perspective. 

I still think I’m right. I want news which tells me what’s going on, as truthfully as possible. I would, I think, share that view with many people of the south (I think Thussu would share that view, too). Another northerner, say an American republican, would want a news service from Fox which reflected more closely his views. I would have a different taste from my fellow northerner, but the same taste as many southerners. Thussu has a point if he means that people from, say, India want more news from India than they presently get on BBC, or CNN, or other “northern” channels: and they might like to see it presented by fellow Indians. But that’s a point about content and presentation, not about the way news is presented, or its purpose. The classic case for news is that it’s meant to inform, fully and fairly. Isn’t that a universal ideal, like human rights? What’s the difference, in this sense, between southern and northern news?

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