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Media Focused on Violence –Especially in the US

2010 December 1
by sfcg



The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and Media Tenor recently announced the results of “Measuring Peace in the Media”, the first study that takes a fact-based approach into understanding the accuracy of international television networks’ coverage of peace, violence and conflict.

What they found is that while most media reports reflect actual levels of violence in the countries they cover, US media often devotes considerably more time to violence. Four networks devote over 50% of their time to topics of violence: CBS Evening News, Fox Special Report, ITV News at 10 and ABC World News.

Some key takeaways:

  • US TV networks broadcast more violence than other countries
  • BBC widest ranging international news source, reporting on nearly twice as many countries as the average coverage
  • A special case studyon Afghanistan found that over-reporting on violence is impeding peace in the country
  • Al Jazeera provided the most balanced coverage of Afghanistan with three times as many positive stories as BBC World and eight times as many positive stories as CNN International
  • Positive-peace stories make up just 1.6% of the total number of stories examined in the study. The lack of such stories often make it more difficult to convince people that peace is possible and attainable.

Read a summary of the report here. The report was cross-referenced with the Global Peace Index (whose findings we featured earlier) and can be found in full at Vision of Humanity. Check it out!

Where do you get your news from and will that change at all after seeing the results of the study? What are the implications for the usefulness of media in fostering peace?

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