“Why would you hold a microphone plugged into an amplifier without the intent to sing?” Ian Somerhalder.
It is a call challenging the age-old ubiquitous notion that journalism must remain passive to uphold objectivity in relaying information to the audience. It rejects the ethical absurdity of being allowed to cover stories of human misery without being allowed to allude to what can be done to relieve the miserable. To report about imminent environmental crises but not what can be done to avert them. And how astonishingly ironic that the controversy is about helping people around the world! If it is a moral duty to care for one another and stand for the cause we believe in, then calling for an action when one is in a position to do so is nothing short of obligatory.
With technology at our disposal, we can include an imbedded action into our reporting of events to link the audience to the situation on the ground. It is, truly, the perfect tool to bridge the gap between awareness and participation syndicating journalism and activism. Perhaps one of the recent atrocities still vivid in our minds is the Westgate attack in Nairobi which has garnered the sympathy of the world. Unconvinced that its role is confined to the passive coverage of the death toll and giving publicity to terrorists, RYOT championed the initiative of connecting sympathizers and well-wishers from all over the world to the local aid workers and Red Cross teams pioneering relief efforts on the ground through its website while the attack was being reported in real time. It is, without doubt, heartening and more motivating for a journalist to convey information knowing that it is a push to achieve quantifiable change he deeply cares about.
Given the current heartbreaking situation in my country, Sudan, where the government is pitilessly killing its own citizens for standing for their basic rights to food and dignified living, In a country where expressing your mind or demanding your basic human rights constitutes a crime to be punished by harassment, police brutality and the threat of death. Or the humanitarian crises behind how we obtain the minerals for our mobile phone technology and computer technology where child soldiers are taken out of school and forced to carry Kalashnikovs to guard the mines in eastern DRC, and where child labor is practiced in the most awful of ways. It is our moral integrity and our sense of moral duty that is at stake for not taking participatory part in standing for our fellow human beings when we have the means. Or how else can you be the change you want to see if you don’t lead or call for action. “And in the end, we won’t remember the words of our enemies but rather the silence of our friends”