A couple of months ago I looked into the global news coverage of the British Guardian newspaper which showed the distorted world views that we get from the printed media. Now a new media report by the International Broadcasting Trust and the University of East Anglia shows how British television viewers see the world according to the international coverage on the program (“Outside the box: How UK broadcasters portrayed the wider world in 2010 and how international content can achieve greater impact with audiences” by Martin Scott with Sandra Milena Rodriguez Rojas and Charlotte Jenner).
The foreword of the report says:
This research reveals how the nature of international factual coverage has remained remarkably static over time. Although individual producers and commissioners do not set out to reproduce the same view of the world on television each year, this study reveals that the combined result of all of those individual commissioning decisions, amongst all broadcasters, is to produce factual programmes that cover broadly the same topics, in the same formats, featuring the same parts of the world, every year.
Read more about the media report on Martin’s media blog and in the Guardian.
In collaboration with Martin Scott, the principal author of the report, I have created some worldmapper-style maps depicting the statistics used for this report. The following map is part of this map series, showing the amount of new factual programming received by different countries on British television in 2010:
It should be kept in mind, that this map shows the factual TV programs, which does not include the news coverage. However, one would perhaps expect more attention of the regions that are more covered by the news agendas. Compared to the map of the 2010 coverage in the Guardian, here the Arab world is almost non existent, raising some questions about the flexibility of TV producers and their priorities outside the news programs.
The report says:
Given the recent dramatic political changes in the region, perhaps the most significant lack of coverage is for countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Egypt and Tunisia did receive some coverage but Algeria, Bahrain, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were not the main focus of a single factual programme.