Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Western media’s coverage of Ukraine war is ‘racist’ and ‘biased’

By Zahra Khadir Mar 14, 2022
Ukrainian refugees waiting at the polish border for aid. Photo by Action Press/Shutterstock

The western media has been accused of hypocrisy in its reporting of the Ukraine war when compared to other conflicts due to several biased statements.

Some reporters have made offensive statements and implied in their reporting of the conflict in Ukraine, that refugees from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are “uncivilised” and are “obvious” refugees.

One example is CBS foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata who said: “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilised, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city where you wouldn’t expect
that, or hope that it’s going to happen.”

This statement was far from respectful, it has only undermined and diminished the experience of any non-European refugee. It is dehumanising to indirectly imply they are “uncivilised” and suggest that there is an expectation of chaos for a developing nation.

In another similar statement from the Al Jazeera anchor, Peter Dobbie said: “These are not obvious refugees looking to get away from areas in the Middle East, that are still in a big state of war. These are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa. They look like any European family that you would live next door to.”

Al-Jazeera was forced to apologise for the statement.

These biased statements about the MENA region have a racist undertone. It implies we can be partial as to who we extend our empathy and generosity towards when helping refugees.

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) issued a statement condemning the racist implications that any MENA country is uncivilised and asking the western media to be aware of its racist and biased news reporting.

This treatment from the media has dehumanised the refugees from MENA countries. It is clear to see that the public opinion of these refugees has been affected by this type of media coverage.

As a journalist, there is an expectation and commitment to be unbiased and as objective as possible. There is a certain power in the way we use our language and especially during a time like this and we have the responsibility not to misuse that.

The media should be held accountable for painting such an offensive picture of non-European refugees, who are already fighting to survive against the trauma caused by decades of war and conflict – all refugees deserve respect and empathy.

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