News, agenda and bias

By Diyanah Mohamed & Nur Maizura Ahmad Nazli

GOMBAK, 9 December 2014: Media plays an important role in influencing public opinion. Each media organisation has its own way of interpreting and communicating the news because the aim is to influence public opinion. Through research, it has been found that local and international media portray news differently depending on the issues the media want to highlight. They frame the news according to their own agenda.

Let’s take one issue reported by two different media. Let’s say the local newspaper, The Star and the other, an international media, BBC News. The issue is on MH17 and MH370.

Since both MH17 and MH370 involved Malaysia’s national airline, therefore The Star, being a local newspaper, reported the news with sympathy and the way the story was reported showed that they care about the feelings of Malaysian citizens.

Meanwhile, BBC News, being an international news, it had a different way of reporting since this issue did not originate from their country. The news was more of a direct approach, showing less sensitivity to the victims involved in the aviation incident and their family.

However, both newspapers do have their own similarities but the tone of reporting varied. Like for MH17, The Star and BBC News portray news about giving hope to the victims’ families and the funeral, whereas for MH370 was focused on the investigation and searching of the missing flight in the Indian Ocean and how new searching equipment were introduced to help carry on this search.

These issues were reported less than before now because of other more recent and news worthy items such as Hong Kong democracy, IS, and Ebola. The other reason is because the issue of MH370 had happened in early of 2014 while MH17 had resolved most of the conflicts that had arisen from the accident.

Therefore, one should not just focus on one source of news but try to gather the information from various media, be it local and international, so that the opinion is not based on bias. When we have mixed views of newspaper reporting, we can see that each news organisation has its own agenda.

How important for us not to be reading or be misled by just one sided view of reporting.***

Photo taken from The Conversation

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