And it has been observed that it is the contemporary media that is playing the most significant role in the development of this “global compassion” (Hoijer, 2004, p.513). This is so according to Hoijer (2004) because, “the media expose pictures of distant victims of civil wars, genocide, massacres and other violence against civil populations, and play a basic role in giving publicity to human suffering” (p.513). But the question is how this media exposure of “distant suffering” impacts people’s minds and it is in this context that Hoijer (2004) had set out searching an answer to “how do people react to the emotional engagement that media offers by focusing on innocent victims of political conflicts, war and other violence?” (p.513). Answer that he (Hoijer, 2004) has arrived at, describes the development of a “global discourse of compassion”, having positive humanitarian consequences as well as inherent complexities and paradoxes (p.27). According to Hoijer (2004), the first stage of the process of development of “global compassion” is the “images of distant suffering” getting assimilated into “ordinary citizens’ perceptions of conflicts and crises in the world” (p.514). An example for this is cited by Hoijer (2004) when he pointed to the television visuals of people “queuing for bread in Sarajevo” getting shelled and killed, which led to the UN imposing sanctions against Serbia (p.514). The power of visual media in evoking such strong responses lie in the assumption that visual images are “truthful depictions of reality” (Hoijer, 2004, p.514). Hoijer (2004) has further argued that such strong responses are also resulting from a paradigm shift in reporting, a change that made it more focused on people and their sufferings, “a journalism that cares as well as knows” (p.515). But Hoijer (2004) has also accepted that many depictions of distant suffering on visual media have a hidden motive of commercial benefits (p.518). This has to be read in connection with the observation made by Kellner (2004) that “both Islamic Jihadists and two Bush administrations have deployed spectacles of terror to promote their political agendas” (p.1). According to Kellner (2004), to overcome the impact of this, alternative media like internet have to be depended by the spectator so that they can remain immune to the “spectacle of terror” (p.1). Here, Kellner (2004) is rejecting only the mainstream media discourses when it comes to generating a discourse of compassion and positive action, but still he (2004) as Hoijer (2004) has accepted the impact and role of media as a whole by reinforcing the role of internet and such alternative media. Campbell (2004) has partially refuted this position by starting with the argument that the continuous exposure to suffering spectacle creates a “compassion fatigue” that hinders action (p.61). Compassion fatigue is a term coined by Moeller (1999) to warn that the mainstream media reduce our ability to decipher the world around in its realities. Here, Moeller (1999) is also referring to the way media present reality before us. It is further argued by Campbell (2004) that a photographic image
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Hoijer's Argument on Contemporary Media .
Hoijer (2004) has argued that “a global discourse of compassion has extended and developed at the point of intersection between politics, humanitarian organizations, the media and the audience/citizens” (p.513)…
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