All censored on the Western Front.pdf
So who is to blame for the censorship and sanitization of war? The truth is everyone is to
blame. The military would have us believe that war has become surgically precise. They would
have us believe that with the technology they have to hand death is kept to a minimum. They
want to show us that only the enemy is killed or wounded and the chances of civilian deaths are
The media themselves are to blame. Philip Jones Griffiths, the photographer and once president
of Magnum Photos, declared that media conglomerates posed a dangerous threat to
photojournalism. He said that “What we get to think and know about is in the hands of a very
few…A truly informed public in antithetical to the interests of modern consumer capitalism.
This capitalism is at the heart of what the media will print. Theirs is a business, and they have to
give their readership and viewers what they want. In 1988 the Daily Telegraph printed pictures
of two soldiers were murdered by a mob at an IRA funeral. This led to a stream of complaints
from their readers, one of which complained that the photographs had distressed her and had
“put her off her Sunday worship, Sunday lunch and had disturbed her sleep”.
Mitchell S. (2002). Beyond the Lens. Available: http://www.worldpress.org/Europe/665.cfm#down
When we ask about who is to blame for media censorship we have to look inward. We can
blame to government and its agencies for trying to hide some of its more distasteful practices.
We can blame the media for counting the pennies at the cost of the truth or we can blame
ourselves for not really wanting to know the truth, just in case it upsets our Sunday lunch.
Perhaps this “self censorship in the name of social cohesion”, really is in our best interests.
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