Critical Commentary- Adam Dwyer

Posted on April 29, 2013 by


The news story I am going to criticize is one that was written on April fourth. It took place in Medan, North Sumatra in Indonesia. There was an altercation between a group of Buddhist fisherman and a group of Muslim people who are seeking asylum. The groups were being held together in a detention center in Indonesia when they started attacking each other. The groups exchanged insults and it all led to a fisherman stabbing one of the Muslim clerics. Once that happened, the rest of the two crowds jumped in and bad turned to worse. The melee consisted of the two groups attacking each other with rocks, wood, chairs and knives. The attacks were so quick that the guards did not have time to react and stop them, but it was all over in a matter of minutes. The final casualty count was eight of the eleven Buddhists were killed while the other three escaped unharmed. There were fifteen wounded Muslim people. The news article ended the piece by saying that the police are investigating how the assailants obtained the knives.
My main problem with this story is the generalization. It specifies that there are Buddhists and Muslims, but it does not describe or even tell you what sect that they are from. Obviously, this article does not bring good press to either of the religious groups, but it puts a bad image in peoples mind about all of the religion. There are a multitude of different sects of both religions. The Theravada, Mahayana and other groups of Buddhists along with the Shiite, Sunni and other Islamic sects are all grouped together as Buddhist and Muslim in this article. If the reader does not know which sect the people who were attacking each other are from, they will generalize that all of the people who have faith in these religions are bad people who attack each other; which, of course, is not true.
Another problem is that they did not describe anything. There was no discussion about why the argument started or why the altercation took place at all. That makes the fight seem like it started out of thin air. This makes both parties look like they are just starting fights for no apparent reason. This gives both Islamic and Buddhist people a bad, and most likely inaccurate, representation to the entire rest of the world (or at least the people who read this article). This is not good for the religions to keep getting represented in a poor manner.
The media is a great, but dangerous thing. It can explain to the public what is happening in the world, but it can be bad for people. It can portray people, or in this case a group of people, in a way that is unjust and inaccurate. This could be detrimental to the person, or people, in the article or story. The author of this article was not considerate of how it made both religions look to the rest of the world.

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