Media Irresponsibility

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ITV's Fake Gaddafi-IRA Video: A Case Study on Media Irresponsibility

ITV's Fake Gaddafi-IRA Video: A Case Study on Media Irresponsibility


Documentary film and Journalism is a powerful medium through which important stories, lessons and news reach the intended audiences. However, with a little carelessness and materialism, media becomes very irresponsible and forgets intrinsic values. The importance of media ethics is thus an important concept with respect to preserving the confidentiality of the news makers and the authentic of the news dispatched over electronic networks. In order to analyze this case, its ethical issues and the potential effects, it is necessary to realize the concept of documentary.

The acclaimed Director Rob Reiner used the term "documentary" to describe the film “This is Spinal Tap (1984)”, but it is certainly not the inventor of the genre which is already characteristics in a lot of previous works (Kuhn, p. 54). Already, the famous radio adaptation of “War of the Worlds” by Orson Welles is a mockumentary, but this process is the principle discovery of the works of “How to irritate people” by John Cleese (1968), “Take the Money and Run” by Woody Allen (1969), “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” (1978), “All You Need Is Cash” (1979), “Zelig” again by Woody Allen (1983), and more recently the cartoon “Creature Comfort” of Nick Park (1991). However, it is noticeable that the term is not an invention of television itself. Rather it is an old concept of the film documentary (Whitehouse, p. 324).

However, this particular case study refers to media ethics and its usefulness. This documentary will show that one should not put an irrational belief in these documentaries which are, sometimes, the creative treatment of actuality. This case study based on the evaluation of media ethics and media irresponsibility using the controversial film “Arms, the IRA and Gaddafi” which screened as an episode of the ITV 'Exposure' series.

Background of the Case and its Flaws

On September 26th 2011, ITV's new factual, documentary strand, Exposure, broadcast its first episode focusing on the alleged links between the Gaddafi regime in Libya and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The main motive of the documentary was to inform the public about how the two forces cooperated with each other in an apparently gross state of hostility (Patterson, p. 34-76). The Gaddafi regime in Libya was in a pitiful state, the Irish Republican Army perceived to be a terrorist organization. The video shows how IRA fighters shoot the British helicopter using machine guns and other deadly weapons. In order to highlight the credibility and reality of the video it was the caption that said that the film based on IRA and taken in the year 1988. The narration of the video suggested that this video supports the military influences of IRA that produced by Irish Republican Army itself (Wilkins, Renita, p. 100). The documentary was very successfully launched for the said purpose. However, it lost all its dignity and reliability as soon as people found that the documentary is ...
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