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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

29 July 2005

I got this piece in my mail box today.

It is about the human callousness and disregard for the gravity of the situation after any natural disaster. While I don't generally subscribe to the idea of separating the sexes and magnifying women's issues from any happening, I agree with some of the sentiments expressed here.

If natural calamities are a curse, watching them again and again over mass media has become another kind of subjecting ourselves to more sufferings and trauma. Worse, if it happens in any Asian or the so called third world countries. I have been observing the International media for the past two months and I have noticed that visuals are discreet in disaster reporting. Even in the London bomb blast no visuals of the dead bodies or the human loss shown in detail. The focus was on the survivors and the investigation. When 9/11 WTC attack happened, I donÂ?t remember seeing much of the human bodies on the media. In both the cases - 7/7 and 9/11- heaps of debris was there; the commotion; the people running; fire brigades and the relief teams moving swiftly; people crying; all were there. But the pathetic sights of human bodies were avoided from the camera lens. And even the few shots that found their way into the media were shown with the mandatory warning: "Photos are graphic, disturbing and may be offensive."

But similar parameters are not observed in reporting disaster in developing and under developed countries. Domestic as well as the International media have no qualms in showing all kinds of mind shattering visuals in explicit detail.

During earth quakes or floods you feel the disaster hitting you again from the TV boxes and from the heaps of magazines and newspapers all of them strewn in your drawing room? Not a morning passed without some decomposed body starring at yourself and homeless people in shambles.

Reporting reality indeed. No doubt. But where does reality ends and sensitivity to human feelings begin? ( victims, their relatives and others who were watching on the media helplessly)

Reporting calamities and disaster is absolutely essential. And timely dissemination ofinformationn would in fact serve a larger cause of saving lives. Yes. Period. But isn't it time that we apply some sort of unwritten ethical guidelines on such occasions? Handle the issue with a little more care for dignity of human lives? The impact of the calamity could have been accurately reported without the over exposure on the human bodies.

Some defend that such visuals would make sensitize the public to be aware. It is pathetic argument. Besides, shouldn't similarargumentss hold good for disaters in the developed world?

What disturbs me more is that the western media also doesn't hesitate to display these visuals from third worldÂ? no mandatory warning either. Calamity and human loss in Asia /Africa is no different from the ones in the US or elsewhere?

as the writer of this piece from the Women's News point out, there is quite clearly a double standard, "........ on whose dead bodies were over-exposed. While those of women from the developing world were shown over and over, international and local TV practiced discretion when it came to western tourists lost in the disaster..........."

16 July 2005

Thanks to link in Kiruba's Blog , I stumbled on this extremely hilarious blog of a brilliant SAHM - stay at home mother !

very tongue in cheek writing. :-) :-)