Friday, March 23, 2012

The New Watchdogs

Les Nouveaux chiens de garde, (The New Watchdogs in English) is a French documentary film created by Gilles Balbastre and Yannick Kergoat which discusses and criticizes the close relations between media owners/ journalists, politicians and businessmen in France. In the summary of the film it says that the media claims to be “against-power” but the vast majority of newspapers, radio and television stations are owned by industrial or financial groups closely linked to power.

The name of the film is inspired by Paul Nizan’s book written in 1932 and named “Les Chiens de Garde” (The Watchdogs). Nizan was denouncing the philosophers and writers of his time who under the guise of intellectual neutrality, were really guardians of the established power. The film asserts that today’s watchdogs are journalists, editors and media experts. It claims that the media claiming to be independent, objective and pluralistic is against democratic-power.

As the film is a documentary, it contains good examples to prove its thesis. For example at the time it appears that there might be a big danger in one of the nuclear plants of France. Then the three biggest television stations are being observed during 24 hours. None of them talks about this danger. It is also shown with documents that many journalists are making extra money by doing advertisement in their programs. The ones who hold conferences and who speak in television programs are not telling the truth. They are talking in the order to support and approve the power. By doing this, they’re gaining extra money, increasing their popularity and constructing good relations with the powers that be i.e. the politicians and others in pwerful positions.

The film is quite striking and disappointing. To see journalists as pragmatists who support the established power, eradicates the hope for democratic and free societies. On the other hand it was considerably criticized by being exaggerated and even by being a political operation of an extreme left wing group. By hoping it is being exaggerated, we are underlining once more the importance of the media ethics. For free and democratic societies we need moral journalists who are doing their job according to code of ethics.

Sources: LesNouveauxChiensdeGarde, L'

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