Six Huge Stories The Mainstream Media Don’t Want You To Know About
1. Any Tragedy That’s Not Western-Centric
The outpouring of fury, despair and grief by the corporate press over the November 13 Paris attacks highlighted the bias of the mainstream media towards western victims of terrorism. There were two suicide bombings in Lebanon the day before the events in Paris, killing 37 and wounding 180, but they were not mentioned much in the sensationalist coverage of France’s tragedy, nor were they mentioned in the minutes’ silences and vigils conducted across the Western world in the aftermath.
From the horrors of the Congo’s bloody civil war to Erdogan’s persecution of Turkish Kurds, from Boko Haram’s ongoing reign of terror in Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon to the plight of Sudanese refugees, the mainstream media seems to pick and choose which human lives deserve our empathy and which aren’t quite so important.
2. Indonesia Burning
As we previously reported, the Indonesian wildfires that caused devastation to the country’s people and wildlife last year were largely ignored by the mainstream media until several months after the devastating event began. The fires were started by loggers to clear the way for controversial palm oil plantations and caused health problems for over one million people. The World Bank estimatesthat the fires destroyed 2.6 million hectares (6.4m acres) of rainforest between June and October, costing $16.1bn and causing untold loss of life to the endangered animals who depend on the forests for their survival. Terrified orang-utans fleeing the disaster were abused in a sickening way by some Indonesian villagers.
Ecocide on this scale should have been one of the biggest stories of 2015, but with the exception of Guardian columnist and environmental activist George Monbiot (who attacked his industry for censorship of the event), the tragedy was largely ignored to protect corporate interests.
3. France’s Slip Into Martial Law
The terrorist attacks in Paris were used as justification by the French, British and German governments to join military strikes in Syria. They were also used as justification by the French government to severely restrict freedoms at home. As we reported, immediately after the terrible events of November 13, the French government began closing down alternative news sites. The President also declared that anyone’s house could be searched without a warrant, websites could be blocked without warning, and citizens could be put under house arrest without a trial. Activists hoping to march in Paris at last month’s Climate Conference were disappointed to learn that France’s state of emergency also included a ban on protests. Some French politicians are pushing to install GPS trackers in rental cars, re-write the Constitution to allow for martial law, block free wifi and Tor, and combine state databases, which would give the state access to citizens’ personal medical records.
Amnesty International, along with many French bloggers, expressed concern that the Government had imposed martial law in response to the terrorist attack. They have a point: Isn’t a restriction of freedoms at home exactly what extremists would want? John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia, said in November: “It is a paradox to suspend human rights in order to defend them.”
Many bloggers agreed and said they were scared about the situation in France. One wrote:
“I’m currently living in Paris, the city where some fanatics killed people because they were listening to music, watching a football match, or simply enjoy beers in a bar. I was living in the neighbourhood of where those tragic event happened. Now I’m scared.
I’m not scared of terrorists.
I’m scared of my own country.
I’m scared because different is now starting to mean dangerous.”
The anonymous man goes on: