How we view war, conflict and peace and our place in the world is primarily through the media. It’s no wonder, for example, that truly peaceful spokespeople (as opposed to generals and “officials) are routinely excluded from the debate:
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.