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#462063 - 04/10/13 11:05 AM Too Much Violence Portrayed in Media?
Marty Offline
Is there too much violence in the media? And is there too much blood and gore depicted on the evening news? Is there too much violence in society? And is it affecting children? In a country where the murder rate is among the top 5 in the world, and in a city with possibly the second or third highest murder rate in the world, behind only Juarez, Mexico and San Pedro Sula, those are relevant questions.

So with all this violence, is the media reflecting or directing it? Indeed, that is a question which we grapple with very regularly – and that’s what a visiting Jamaican sociologist, Dr. Leith Dunn is discussing in a series of lectures and presentations in Belize. Today she had a meeting with the media – a meeting, which we should note was poorly attended. She said portrayals of violence do affect children:

Dr Leith Dunn - Sociologist/Senior Lecturer/Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies UWI
"We're saying that it's not that you should have censorship, but you need to avoid sensationalism. And what we have observed online and in the print is that you have images and texts for the least common denominator, the gore, the blood, and all of that, which violates basic rights, and basic principles of international standards of journalism. It says that we need to dialogue with our media owners, and our advertisers. We need to do a lot of research, and not assume that this is what the audience wants. We need to think about the impact of this on our children, the wider society and the economy."

Jules Vasquez
"How does exposure to to toxic levels of violence, both in the media and in real life, affect or stunt the mental development of children?"

Dr. Leith Dunn
"One of the big problems is that it increases the tolerance of violence. They don't know that this is wrong. They assume that this is normal, and this is not normal. It damages their brains; it damages their emotions, and the research shows us, right. They are fearful of their lives. They don't expect to live long, and that is a tragedy."

Jules Vasquez
"The fact is that children and young people are served a buffet of violence. They're served it in Jamaican music, video games, and North American Rock music."

Dr. Leith Dunn
"We need to regulate what our children are listening to, what they are watching, and the kind of video games. It speaks about parenting. It speaks about going back to values that we're saying that in our churches, and in our communities. We need as a village to protect children, and not allow them to become violent individuals. How we treat them, even flogging, sometimes we have parents who abuse their children. What you are saying is that it's okay to use violence to solve disputes. So, it is not co-incidental that when they go to school, or when they interact with their siblings, something that could be a simple difference of opinion ends up in a stabbing and a death."

Jules Vasquez
"The issue is parenting. So-"

Dr. Leith Dunn
"It's partly parenting, but it is a collective responsiblity. The regulators who say what is aired, how it is aired, what are the licenses that are given, and ensuring that those are monitored, they are part of the solution."

Jules Vasquez
"But with the internet, there are no gatekeepers any more-"

Dr. Leith Dunn
"But yes, you might not be able to control the internet to that extent, but what you can control, you must."

And starting in a few minutes at the Bliss center, Dr. Dunn will present a lecture on the media’s portrayal of violence and its impact on the society. It is open to the public.

Channel 7


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#462070 - 04/10/13 11:41 AM Re: Too Much Violence Portrayed in Media? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

UWI’s media workshop on portrayal of violence

A media workshop was held at the University of the West Indies today in Belize City under the auspices of their alumni association. The association intends to become a catalyst for social awareness and to change the portrayal of violence through the media. Belize is one of the most murderous countries in the region and the world and with that in mind; the association has brought in Jamaican Sociologist and Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Doctor Leith Dunn, to carry out sessions and forums with the wider community. The workshops will continue through Wednesday with the theme, “Media and the Portrayal of Violence, Its Effects on Children and the Wider Community.”  At the UWI Open Campus Auditorium, various representatives from the local media attended a workshop with Doctor Dunn where several issues were addressed including the current and future responsibilities of media in reporting crime and violence; the ethical standards as well as the conventions with respect to reporting violence against women and children. Doctor Dunn also discussed the Belize Broadcasting Authority and its mandate as the regulatory body.

Dr. Leith Dunn, Sociologist

Leith Dunn

“This was an opportunity for dialogue—to look at what the situation in the media is; to hear from the journalists what their own concerns are and to make a distinction between journalists and reporters; to look at the landscape of the media in Belize and to see what some are the challenges are for ethical reporting. We are saying that it is not that you should not have censorship, but you need to avoid sensationalism. And what we have observed online and in the print is that you have the images and text for the least comedy nominated—the gourd, the blood and all of that that violates basic rights, basic principles of international standards of journalism. It says that we need to dialogue with our media owners, our advertisers; we need to do a lot of research and not assume this is what the audience wants. We need to think about the impact of this on our children and the wider society and the economy. Because if we continue the way we are, we are in fact destroying legitimate business. People will not want to invest in Belize because they are afraid of crime and violence. So I am encouraging us to actually collaborate, to find out what the international best practices are, to do a lot of research, to do a lot more training so that we can in fact equip the persons responsible for communicating to be more effective. It is our collective responsibility. The regulators who say what is aired, how it is aired, what are the licenses that are given and ensuring that those are monitored; they are part of the solution. What you can control, you must and it is not censorship. It is saying that there are certain sensibilities and we should not cross those lines. You have a responsibility as an agent of socialization in developing behaviors, in changing attitudes to build a better society—nobody else can do it. And if you have novices who are not trained—and it is no disrespect—I am just saying that we can do much better and we have to do a lot better.”

Channel 5


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