Thanks to modern technology, people now become aware of everything happening around the world in a matter of seconds: images and comments appear on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, updates are provided in hourly news broadcasts and the ribbons at the bottom of the screen. The mantra of the press is that it is their duty to provide the public with correct information about everything that is taking place in the world whatever the nature of the event. Earthquakes, shootouts, celebrations and commemorations all receive coverage. Yet there are some who would wish to edit this list: they are in favor of lulling the public into a false sense of security and shielding them from bad news yet this can be very harmful in the long run.
It is true that children and other vulnerable people need to be shielded from some of the evil in the world until they are capable of correctly evaluating the nature of an event. Small children should not watch scenes from a bombed marketplace in Iraq or the aftermath of the shootout at Sandyhook elementary school. However, this doesn’t mean their parents shouldn’t watch this stuff. How else can people get a true picture of the world we are living in but by actually knowing what is going on? It was the broadcasting of the images from Abu Graib that brought the horrific torture there to light; the images and news concerning the event did not turn people into psychopaths overnight due to the simple fact that most people are moved by such images and forced into action to put a stop to the event. In short, the only way to eliminate the evil from the world is to bring it out into the open so it can be stamped out. Closing one’s eyes to what is going on just makes the problem more entrenched. If one cannot bear to watch certain images or read certain news, one can always switch channels.
Another point worth remembering is that the manipulation of the content of news is the hallmark of totalitarian regimes. It is all very well to say one is trying to protect the public and encourage good behavior but this is what North Korean leaders say as well. The idea that people can be lulled into a false sense of security and made to believe they are living in paradise surrounded by angels is very misguided. The public does wake up eventually as “truth will out”. The consequences of such increased consciousness are often social upheaval. Besides, in the modern world it is downright impossible to stop the flow of information whether good or bad so one might as well bite the bullet and tell the truth. In short, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” ; it is not possible to preserve the innocence of childhood into adulthood.
In conclusion, although some may be motivated by a completely naïve idea that shielding people from evil will help stamp it out and help encourage good behavior, this is far from being the case. Limiting the content of the news is impossible and counterproductive and should never be considered as an option.