Citizen Journalism; is it the demise of Humanity?

By Muzhinga Kankinda

Citizen Journalism which refers to the involvement of members of the public in the collection, providence, analysis and dissemination of news and information through the use of new communication technology has become a widespread phenomenon. Due to the emergence of new communication technology, traditional media like radio, television and print have lost their popularity with media consumers. This is due to the rise of portable media equipment like smartphones, tablets and laptops as well as the widespread use of the worldwide web, famously referred as the Internet to disseminate information faster. New communication Technology has enabled every Jim and Jack to be able to capture an event and post it online for all to see. Interactivity, whereas audience of media act as both producers and consumers of a media text has become a common practice. We have obviously heard about events that were made known to the entire world through social media platforms; these include the protests of the Arab Spring, the Haiti Earthquakes of 2010 and many more. These are important events, provided to us through the means of self or citizen Journalism by witnesses and victims of the earthquakes as well as participants of the Arab Spring. Despite not being professional journalists, some members of society took it upon themselves to report about these happenings to the entire world and soon help as well as chaos came with dependence on the situation. However, in as much as this type of journalism has proved to be useful; the phenomenon has raised a number of concerns when it comes to the performance of acts of humanity. It is saddening that people have neglected the value of humanity just to be the first ones to capture a scene of a current accident or tragedy. Instead of helping victims, the public usually opt to capture the moment and risk the victim’ s life without any ounce of shame, sympathy or responsibility towards saving a life. This kind of scenery is described in the image above where people have resorted to taking pictures of a drowning person instead of saving them.

Citizen Journalism has also given the power of destroying or building a persona on social media. Videos and photos of nudes, degrading and demoralising as they may seem, are now a norm on social media due to the practice of self-journalism. The internet is flooded with inappropriate and immoral content because the non professional journalists do not understand the ethics of journalism. They post for fun and not to educate and inform the public and it does not matter if another human being is disregarded for their behavior. However, it is important that people realize that humanity is of utmost importance than any story about the happenings of the world. Watching and collecting footage of a person in a state of pain and auguish just for the sake of Fame is inhuman. It hasn’t been long since the story of the Zambian young man who was hit by a car took place. He had alot of spectators who could have rushed him to the hospital but, they were busy capturing the last moments of this man’s life on their smartphones and soon the man was no more There are many instances where we have lost a number of souls to death because people neglected their duty to help their fellow man by focusing on what doesn’t really matter. One would say these are the effects of New communication technology but, truth is technology cannot operate by itself if man is not there to facilitate its workmanship. Let us go back to the old days when helping one another was a norm.

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