Participating in Positive Change

Agendia Aloysius' line of duty

header photo

Journalism and propaganda: Falling into the dragnet of politicians.


Journalism and propaganda: Consciously and unconsciously falling into the dragnet of politicians


In communication, we always want to drive home meaning in what we say. Be it business

communication, development communication, political communication, international communication or simply put Communication. Journalism is an art embodied in communication and as a matter of fact, those who practise it often master the elements of the various but inexhaustive forms of communication mentioned above. Additionally, for journalism to be distinguished, it has to respect the principles of being balance, fair, not subjective, researched, unambiguous etc.


We just finished a course titled War and Peace Journalism and think I should share with my readers my opinion, on what I have heard watched and read with amazement done by some journalists in relation to war and peace.



In brief, while Peace journalism is when journalists cover and report events in a way that suggests or provides non violent means to resolving any conflict, War Journalism is the when journalists cover and report in a way that provokes violence, hatred, conflict and other vices. They mostly do this through instigating direct or indirect division among people or through the use of propaganda.



In my opinion, war journalism is not limited to covering or reporting war. NO. Reports in areas of peace may provoke war and in some cases, reports in post war situations have reignited conflict and in cases of ongoing war or conflict, aggravated the situation.



My worry has been the choice of words, phrases and angles chosen by journalists in the coverage of events in the world today. Everybody has a right to his choice though.


However, there are certain words which many journalists have adopted and using them as common journalistic parlance whereas, these are words or concepts created by politicians, war mongers, imperialist, dictators, racists and unfortunately, “forced” them into our daily jargon.

They have then become normal words, not necessarily because we like them, but, because, many media have adopted them either consciously and unconsciously. They are used so frequently and often without attribution. As a result, many of us have reduced ourselves to acting as the mouth pieces of some world leaders.


Considering the power of the media, the continuous usage of those words have shaped public opinion, thinking and reactions. As a result, a great part of the population then turn to see see things from the angle of the politicians.



These words which are not exhaustive include “ dictator”, “international community”, “depleted uranium, “collateral damage”, “we are investigating”, “aide”, tyrants, “war on terror”, “war of liberation” “terrorists etc. These words or phrases are created by politicians who have their agenda. It has become a tactic.


How comes that a journalist during prime time news cast, bluntly calls a sovereign and democratically elected head of state, “dictator”, without any attribution. Who is a dictator and who is not. Who is a tyrant and who is not. Is a tyrant limited to so called dictators or people allegedly democratically elected but who through out their stay in power have caused havoc, disrespected international conventions and declarations, over thrown regimes, set confusion and initiated the imposition of sanctions on weaker nations. I do not want to accused any particular media here but I have abundant examples if need be to name them.



Depleted Uranium”: Uranium is used among other things to manufacture nuclear weapons. Substances of the deadly chemical have been used against civilians and war mongers created the word “depleted uranium” to kind of simplify the impact of such weapons and give the impression that their use is not bad. If at all uranium was depleted while even use it? These words should be used with a lot of caution, attribution or even avoided by media men and women.



International community: This is quasi inexistent but for the exception of the General Assembly of the UN which can said to represent international community to an extent. NOT the Security Council. But when some “rich” or powerful nations and their allies group for their economic, political and military interests but claim to speak for the international community, it a pity that journalists often refer to them as the international community. Most of us have adopted it without question. Where is the critical mind then?


Journalists ought to defend their profession not the interest or the will of their political masters. But again, I understand that due to heavy commercial, geo political interests in the world today, real journalism has almost been buried for public relations. The only difference is that some media organs really master the arts of mixing public relations, propaganda and journalism so much so that the common man has been unable to draw the lines among them.



These very so called global or big media organs are the ones moving here and there claiming to be organising refresher courses on journalism. Are they doing it because they have the logistics and financial means or really because they have any extra or great knowledge of the noble profession?



A true journalist must not only be contented in announcing events or quoting leaders. A real journalist is not only he who attends all world conferences. He is not only the one who is on every scene covering war and conflict. It is he who has that critical mind to read the news behind human actions and events in general and reveal them to the world. Such a journalist must be able to read meaning behind all the statements and issues. That is news behind the news.



As a journalist, I am not just contented on reporting events. I am also very much more concern on how my reporting has help move the world forward in a positive direction. That will be my legacy as a journalist, development communicator.


It is but normal that any journalist who brings innovation to mainstream journalism is called an activist. That notwithstanding, it is not necessarily following the chorus that makes us good. Journalists basically inform, educate and entertain.


If in trying to meet these three basic aims any journalist has not been able to bring about any positive development, then, he has to review his approach.

In an era of the revolution of information technology and where any person can pass for a journalist by simply posting anything online, in newspaper or so, true journalist must make the difference.


I do understand that the editorial policies of some media organs may be a big hindrance to effective journalism.



I understand most journalists as individuals, are victims of the so called political correctness. What is described or prescribed by a political regime or by an editorial policy of a media organ for which he/she works, greatly determines what he/she writes or broadcast. What is your take then?


Go Back