Belize media under spotlight by visiting lecturer

The common complaint that local media, particularly television, overemphasize the blood and gore of daily murders and other incidents has galvanized efforts to regulate the content of news and other programs. Today the University of the West Indies Alumni Association Belize Chapter welcomed a lecturer, Dr. Leith Dunn, to Belize for a special lecture on the media’s role in regulating the content of its programming. Dr. Dunn says that whatever the media’s intentions, it may wind up doing more harm than good.

Dr Leith Dunn – Lecturer:
vlcsnap-2013-04-09-21h09m22s125I think that there is a global response to the problem of violence.  The UN Secretary General had a whole report on violence against children.  We have a responsibility to report in a responsible way that that does not fuel that.  We need to regulate what our children are listening to, what they’re watching, the kind of video games.  It speaks about parenting.  It speaks about going back to the values that we’re saying that in our churches, in our communities, we need as a village to protect children, and not allow then to become violent individuals.

Dr. Dunn also addresses other concerns, particularly whether children should watch the evening news, and training media workers to be sensitive to the rights of their subjects.

Dr Leith Dunn – Lecturer:
That’s a very good question.  Because one of the things we’re recognizing is that many people don’t watch the news.  They don’t want their children to watch thwe news, because of that.  We’re assuming that this is what people want to watch, bur some people cannot stomach it, and therefore turn it off. So all the advertizing revenue, you’re saying OK if we put these terrible images in the media people will in fact want to watch it. Some people lock down because they cannot eat their dinner on that kind of diet.  It’s as simple as that.  So we’re encouraging that we need to do the research in terms of what the public actually wants.  But you also have a responsibility to educate as well as inform the media, in terms of what is happening.  Yes, tell the stories, but how you tell them, how you use your cameras, you need to ensure that the rights of the individuals, and particularly children, are respected.

There will be a public lecture tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the UWI Auditorium.

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