In popular culture, the way the news is presented to us from a local standpoint about global events can be misconstrued sometimes. The news is capable of broadcasting media, such as a war, into multiple perspectives based on its audience. It could either be portrayed as a bloodbath or a heart-felt news piece. This essay will cover just how different news sites (both nationally and internationally) are able to miss information, portray the same parties throughout different articles as different, what information is actually being shared throughout the majority of news stories, and how audiences will perceive what the news fed them. For the purposes of this essay, the signing of a new peace deal between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine Government, that happened on March 27th, 2014, will be used to show just how other nations viewed this ground breaking historical event.
A little background information, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a Bangsamorogroup that is comprised of about five percent of the Philippines population. They strive for an overall control for self-government in order to become an independent nation. However, since the group was established back in the 60’s, there have been fighting and war crimes going on up until today. This led the Philippine Government to grant only a semi-autonomy to the Bangsamoro back in the late 1970’s. Since then, there have been many attempts to create a peace pact between the MILF and the Philippine Government under former President Corazon Aquino, but they failed, as reported by the Huffington Post.
Across an array of news articles, March 27th, 2014 marked the day an official peace deal was signed by the following parties as stated in the Philippine Star News (Philstar.com) “Philippine government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal. . .” Witnesses to this event were the Philippine President Aquino, the Malaysian Prime Minister, and the chairman of MILF. (Philstar.com) Malaysia has been the third party facilitator since 2001, as stated in the article written by NBC News. This ended roughly 40-45 years of constant conflict and fighting between MILF and the Philippines. The signed document is known as the “Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB)” (Philstar.com) ensures that “[t]he deal grants [the MILF] largely Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region greater political autonomy in exchange for an end to armed rebellion. . .” according to The Guardian news site.
Now, that there has been background information released on this topic, here’s what’s to be explained; the contrast in what information is actually saying. Most of the articles that I looked at are critically acclaimed US news sites such as: NBC News, The Guardian, and the Huffington Post. The other article is from a Filipino website (in English of course-yes, other foreign countries websites are generally in English as I have seen): The Philippine Star. All good sources with high reputations for each country.
Between all of my sources, there are bits and pieces of information that are missing, varied, and/or incorrect. For example, take the NBC News article “Philippines, Muslim rebels sign final peace deal to end conflict” and Philstar.com’s article “(UPDATE) Gov’t, MILF ink historic peace pact”. Both articles were written at the same time, on the same day, about the same event; yet both articles have varying information.
Take for example, NBC News, who said that the conflict had been going on for “45 years” while Philstar.com says that the conflict had been going on for “40 years.” While a five year difference doesn’t seem too significant at first glance, quite a bit can happen in a year alone. NBC News may have increased the supposed duration of the conflict in order to present a more dramatic feel to their readers, as ‘45 years’ indicates that more has happened than the alternative’s statement of ‘40 years’, leading the audience to believe that there is further drama than there actually is.
Next, there’s the matter of the NBC News article making it sound like the peace deal won’t really do anything since they link it Al Qaeda. Saying that,”Islamist militants [are] linked to al Qaeda and feuding clans…” (NBC News) Even though the article does state that the peace deal will do a great deal to help end the feuds, it doesn’t guarantee full coverage for safety, which brings back sad and unhopeful thoughts. This view from NBC News and how they decided to mention Al Qaeda seemed fitting for American News.
Through personal experience and observation, it seems that the American media focuses more on having hopeful stories and good news from around the world, while simultaneously introducing concepts of risk and danger to set the audience in a more intense and uncomfortable mood. This does give more awareness to the American people about the peace deal between the Philippine Government and MILF and how serious this really is, but this does not reassure the American people that what is going on is really effective. The twisted ‘news’ from NBC News is more blunt and shocked about the situation than the Huffington Post is.
The Huffington Post continues to put a damper on the situation, but in a lighter way they do express that there is still danger that will always be going on even with the peace deal in effect. Stated by the Huffington Post,”…it will not end all violence in a part of the country long-plagued by lawlessness, poverty and Islamist insurgency…Other insurgent groups have vowed to keep fighting for [their] full independence…” (The Guardian also has a very similar article like this.) They list what is still wrong in the Philippines, and that other groups are still going to fight back, but they do not bring up Al Qaeda in their article. By not bringing it up, the article gives the audience a more laid-back feel of the danger at hand, and how the peace deal will not alleviate all of the Philippines’ problems.
The Guardian has done a good job of displaying the most important information about the Philippine Government and MILF. They list the exact purpose of the peace deal, as it is stated,”The deal grants largely Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region greater political autonomy in exchange for an end to armed rebellion…” (The Guardian) They don’t state extreme dangers to their audience, but more so of the facts. This creates a better feel of the portrayal of the Philippine Government and the MILF.
Having the focus on the core facts of what is trying to be achieved rather than the potential continuing danger of other Islamic groups and how they still want to fight for their full freedom, tells the audience that the Philippines have things under control and that they know what they are doing for their people. Without the reassurance in the US that the Philippines can’t do this on their own, it creates a bad third-world portrayal, and being Filipino, it sickens me to think that there are articles out there that think so poorly of some areas just because of the history of that particular place.
Overall, all of the articles do tell of the situation being the Philippine Government and the MILF is being showed well. Minus the calls of continuing threats to their people by several other Islamic groups and the choice of negative diction that was written by NBC News and The Huffington Post, that portray the situation more harmful than it is. Some off-numbered information (Philstar and NBC News) shows that drama can be tipped over the edge by a couple more numbers, which causes more panic and worry for both sides of the story.
It should be said that I think all of the articles portrayed interesting views of it all, but they all needed to make sure they had the core details in order to stay consistent. Without the consistency of the core information, the article would fall apart and seem bogus in comparison with the articles that matched up better than the bogus article. Popular culture is getting better about showing the events from another country to its true form, but as Americans, we crave drama and gossip. A story should entice the reader naturally. A story shouldn’t mask the truth with blemishes just to entice the reader, artificially.
NOTE: On the actual version (which I can’t figure how to attach) I have footnotes to explain a couple of things. Such as that Bangsamoro translated means “Moro (Muslim) People.”