Those of us living in the Global South are constant victims of the Western political and media hegemony
By Shazia Anwer CheemaThere have been events in the past that have changed the course of history. Western media reporting of the war on Gaza surely qualifies for such type of events. It is widely perceived that Western media is biased, one-sided and hijacked by capitalism, but Western media managers reject this notion. If the Gaza genocide had not happened, this perspective could have been camouflaged — maybe for a couple of more years.
The Israelis and their Western allies were counting on atrocity propaganda after the October 7 attack by Hamas, but the aftermath has unveiled not only the true nature of Israel but also exposed the dark side of the Western media manipulation.
Israel has committed war crimes in the last one and a half months as they are fighting without following the war principles, and the Western media is not only witnessing it but even advocating the Israeli narrative and trying to justify the massacre of civilians, dismembering of children and leveling of hospitals, schools, mosques and churches under the pretense of killing Hamas.
It has been a popular narrative in the Global South that Western media is aligned with Western agendas and collaborated in the past to ruin Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting claims of possession of WMD, chemical weapons, dirty bombs and several other threats. Even though Western media was still keeping its face and pretending freedom of the press and sacred journalistic responsibility, the cluster bombing of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza has turned the tables against Western media.
Western war analysts such as Scott Ritter explain that a hospital, school or any other infrastructure that comes under international immunity can only be attacked if tangible proof is already available. Western media gave fabricated graphics of the Hamas base camp under the hospital building but now Israel is looking for proof after bombarding the hospital and is yet to find what it has been claiming and what Western media has been promoting.
Israel’s “victim propaganda” evaporated the moment mass genocide started in Gaza but the bandwagon media continued supporting the Western political narrative of “terrorist attacks on Israel” and Israel’s right to self-defence. But as the events are unfolding, it is clearer than ever before that the West has entered into another war with zero planning and strategy and the Western media has been exposed to the level that it has decided to go into “safe mode”. However, they still don’t have the decency and courage to admit that there were no chemical weapons in Iraq, no dirty bombs in Afghanistan, and no terrorists under Al-Shifa hospital but at least they are now not advocating the killing of women and children. The audacity of the life is that Western media was justifying Western barbarism in the past but they have gone quiet for the very first time in recent history.
Those of us living in the Global South are constant victims of the Western political and media hegemony; our voices are not weak but they don’t have the apparatus to amplify it. That also does not mean that we cannot assess, analyse and have a perspective. The only impediment is that Western media has established in the last 80 years that any perspective not aligned with the Western perspective is against humanity. It is happening time and again that the Western population refuses to buy the false narrative based on hate and discrimination vested in political agendas. However, the Gaza genocide is going to be the turning point in the history of Western media which should either start telling the truth or lose their credibility once and for all. Media manipulators in the past believed that the “public has a short memory”, but new tools like cellphones help people in immediate “retrieval of past” from storage data in the cyber world that keeps people connected with bygone days.
Moreover, the media outlets of Global South, though not very strong, are playing a pivotal role in exposing Western propaganda by providing multi-lingual counter-narratives through their websites, TV channels, blogs and messages. The cost of the Palestine-Israel war is heavier for Western media than it could have imagined before indulging in it.
The writer is a PhD scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague. She can be reached at email@example.com and tweets @ShaziaAnwerCh
Note: The above article was originally published by The Express Tribune on November 25, 2023.