Nov 22 2015

Double standards in the Paris attacks coverage

We examine whether there’s a double standard for victims of terrorism; plus, fixers: the unsung heroes of journalism.

As news of the attacks in Paris was breaking, Facebook launched a feature allowing its users to “check-in” and let their family members and friends know they were safe.

It also introduced a feature that allowed users to overlay the colours of the French flag on their profile pictures to express solidarity with the victims of the attacks.

These features prompted many to question a potential double standard: Where were they when dozens were killed in bomb blasts in Beirut a day earlier, or when 149 people lost their lives in Garissa, Kenya back in April?

Critics accused the site of valuing the lives of Western victims more than those in the Middle East and other regions. Meanwhile, journalists covering the story were accused of making unfair accusations, using divisive terminology and xenophobic reactions.

Given ISIL’s objectives to sow discord and provoke repression, did the media play into ISIL’s hands?