top of page

War, Media and Truth: Why Can’t They Work Together?

War and truth are often at odds. Truth shows the hideousness of war. It is despised by politicians because it can easily bring their military strategies to the ground. Truth is always around us and may hurt us at any time, which is why politicians should be transparent in wartime. 


The Knesset, the legislative institution of Israel, just passed a bill that would ban Al-Jazeera and other international news outlets perceived as security threats. It is of great concern to the principle of freedom of the press that media outlets criticizing Israel are facing bans inside the country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on April 1st that the news media outlet is a “terror channel.” Such a decision gives the Israeli government full media power in its war. 


Censoring Criticizers is Too Easy in Wartime

Netanyahu’s decision to ban Al-Jazeera and other media outlets is undeniably crucial for his strategy to win public support during the war. If no media outlet covers the cruel consequences of his decisions or criticizes him, how would the people be mad at Netanyahu? If Al-Jazeera and other media outlets’ messages criticizing Netanyahu echo in Israelis’ minds, it may harm his legitimacy and national support during the war. This war is slowly becoming an impediment to his reelection and national support. His management of the war has resulted in majority support by the United Nations and the Security Council for a ceasefire. Additionally, the United States, the strongest and one of the longest ally of Israel, is gradually retracting its support.  The majority of the world is concluding that Israel is in violation of international law. 


This sort of news brittles Netanyahu’s national support which would be devastating to lose in the middle of a war. He needed to keep national support. However, censoring a media outlet is not a democratic decision. This act stems from a dilemma: win the war or respect national democracy. It seems Israel has chosen its military priorities over preserving democracy.


Media Protection in Wartime

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, once said “A diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” Besides the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, the media stood strong. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore.


Media should be protected at all costs so every human can witness the atrocities happening during wartime. We already know what people feel when they see the horrors soldiers go through daily in wartime because of the Vietnam War, where the media's coverage resulted in a significantly reduced approval rating of the conflict. However, the newer generations have forgotten the sobering nature and trauma of wars. This is when and why the media news outlets have a responsibility to educate the public about these conflicts without bias.


I have never been to war, nor felt the trauma of it. I just heard stories, terrifying ones, that make me so grateful to have never experienced. I strongly believe media coverage can play a role in helping avoid war and the death that it brings. Pictures and testimonials create emotion and hurt, forcing people to think about the atrocities they capture. They are a powerful tool for enlightening the population about the customs of war.

The media has the power to share both pictures and testimonials. If we censor them while they advocate for peace, how can massacres stop? In the Israel-Palestine war, Israel is not the only villain. Hamas is also one. However, Israel cannot advocate for democracy and peace while censoring media outlets against them. 


Aeschylus, the father of Greek tragedy, once said “In war, truth is the first casualty.” This maxim has never been more true. We are losing the truth, our truth. We are losing it within social media misinformation and disinformation, the censorship during the Russia-Ukraine War and the Israel-Palestine War and the lies we hear about a so-called massive electoral fraud with no valuable proof. We need to do something, to come back on the right track, or war may burst if we cannot accept our differences and overcome our hate towards each other.


The media news outlets are then necessary on the battlefield, capturing what is happening there to let us witness the atrocities of war. They should be protected like first respondents because they are for those outside the conflicts. 


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


2 commentaires


It seems inevitable that the fog of war will always consume the truth. The truth is usually not useful in war as both sides are naturally incentivized to dehumanize and demonize one another. Your use of Aeschylus's quote is very apt here. Rather than increase the accessibility to the truth, social media seems only to accelerate its destructuion. Great work again Gabe, I have been loving your recent articles!

J'aime

Max Telfer
Max Telfer
12 avr.

This is very interesting since it does seem like it's so difficult to get genuine information during a war.

J'aime
bottom of page