Largest study of global media and violence shows Al Jazeera provides most balanced coverage on Afgha

World's largest ever study into how global broadcasters cover war and conflict.
By: Institute for Economics and Peace
 
 
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Oct. 26, 2010 - PRLog -- •         US TV networks broadcast more violence than other countries
•         BBC World is widest ranging international news source
•         Over-reporting on violence is impeding peace in Afghanistan

LONDON, Oct. 26, 2010 –The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and Media Tenor today announced the results of “Measuring Peace in the Media”, the largest global study analysing the accuracy of international television networks’ coverage of peace, violence and conflict. The results show broad inconsistencies across geographies and networks, with US broadcasters much more focused on violence and conflict than their European and Middle Eastern counterparts.

The study analysed 37 TV news and current affairs programmes from 23 networks in 15 countries* and then cross-referenced this with the 4th annual Global Peace Index (GPI) which measures the levels of peace and violence in 149 countries. BBC 2 Newsnight and ZDF Heute Journal were found to be the programmes whose editorial policies aligned their coverage most closely with the rankings of the GPI.

How Media Outlets Perform:
•         Four programmes included in the study devote more than 50% of their coverage to violence: CBS Evening News, Fox Special Report and ABC World News from the US and ITV News at 10 from the UK
•         The 10 TV programmes reporting the most violence dedicate on average 48% of their coverage to violence; 8 of these programmes are from the US or UK
•         The 10 TV programmes reporting the least violence dedicate 50% less of their coverage (24%) of their coverage to violence; 7 of these programmes are from Africa or the Middle East
•         US and European broadcasters dedicate more than 60% of their coverage on the Middle East to violence

The World’s Eye on Afghanistan
The report includes a detailed case study on coverage of Afghanistan, which shows that a disproportionate amount of coverage is focused on defence and crime, while neglecting news of progress in critical areas needed to build lasting peace.

CNN International, BBC World and Al Jazeera English all had similar number of reports on the topics that received the most total coverage – warfare, elections, crime and international politics.  However, Al Jazeera had the greatest breadth of coverage, including more coverage on topics which related progress in creating peace. Al Jazeera News was the most positive and had three times as many positive stories as BBC World, and more than eight times as many positive stories as CNN International Desk.

“Regardless of whether the tone of the coverage is positive or negative, it is essential for the media to spend editorial time focusing attention on the building blocks of peace ”, said Steve Killelea, founder of the IEP. “There is always some progress being made no matter how dire the situation. And, when too much media attention is placed on violence and security this reinforces the view that these are the only ways to establishing peace. This runs contrary to what experts tell us about how to create peaceful societies”.

Positive-peace stories make up just 1.6% of the total number of stories examined in the study. These are stories that report on active steps taken to rectify violent situations. Such a small percentage may be partly related to what is considered newsworthy and dramatic, such as high-impact, violent or controversial events. However, the stereotyping of nations which are low on the GPI makes it harder for audiences to gain empathy and therefore to support governments and make headway towards creating peace.  

“Informing the public on what will build long term peace and stability is vital to the war on terrorism,” said Roland Schatz, CEO of Media Tenor. “Given the media’s role in shaping and informing public opinion, a robust and diverse coverage of the most important topics is essential.”

For more information please visit www.visionofhumanity.org or www.mediatenor.com
Sara Jurkowsky, Hill & Knowlton for the IEP, sjurkowsky@hillandknowlton.com, +44 207 973 5970
Layla Al Dabbagh, Hill & Knowlton for the IEP, ldabbagh@hillandknowlton.com, +44 207 413 3710
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