Mainstream media fails to report on Libya crisis
In mid-February, the Libyan people, inspired by the successful revolts in Egypt, took to the streets to protest Moammar Gadhafi, who has controlled the country for over 40 years.
Gadhafi’s response to the protests, however, was far more violent than anyone had anticipated: He ordered the military to fire upon protesters, had them shoot civilians from helicopters, and hired mercenaries from neighboring countries when he couldn’t find enough Libyan men willing to slaughter their own people. Photographs of five-inch bullets, the same bullets reportedly being used on Libyan citizens, circulated the Internet, as did gruesome videos of the military shooting at protesters.
The mainstream media’s coverage of Libya, however, has included none of these images, and instead of discussing the events in Libya has focused on other events. A Google News search about Libya brings up little about the conflict. Instead, one learns from The Washington Post that the crisis in Libya has sent stocks sliding. The Guardian informs readers that Gadhafi’s Ukrainian nurse, with whom he was rumored to be having an affair, has returned to Ukraine, and adds that Gadhafi has a “fear of staying on upper floors, dislike of flying over water and love of flamenco.” The New York Times speculates about the power vacuum that might develop if Gadhafi should lose power. None of these articles includes any information about what is currently happening in Libya.
Granted, it may be difficult to obtain information about the current happenings in Libya — Gadhafi has barred foreign journalists from entering the country and has attempted to place a blackout on all communications within the country.
However, a quick search for “Libya” on social media sites Twitter and Tumblr brings up a plethora of images, videos, and information from Libya, all of which are valuable primary sources that the mainstream media doesn’t seem interested in covering.
The violence in Libya is horrific, but it is the media’s responsibility to inform the world of what is happening. These revolts are history in the making, yet newspapers seem more concerned with Gadhafi’s love life and interests than with the hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens that have died because of him.
Hopefully the Libyan people will be able to continue relaying information to the outside world via social media sites, and hopefully they know that, despite the failings of mainstream media, there are plenty of people working to gather as much information about the events in Libya as they can.