“It was like a scene in the movies…”

“It was like a scene in the movies. There were glass shards everywhere… everyone was shocked and confused. I didn’t care what happened, I was only thinking ‘Danger, get out, get out!’ I jumped on my bike and rode off.’

Usman, a 48-year-old motorcycle taxi driver

This quote from a witness of the Jarkata bombings in today’s Straits Times reminded me of a CNN documentary I watched earlier this year about the 9/11 terror attacks in America. In CNN Tribute – America Remembers (2002), a eye-witness of the attacks also likened what he saw to a movie scene. It’s as if the movies, and the media, has defined our definition of what terror and destruction is. This is how the media helps us see what we cannot see now, so that when we see it, we know how to make sense of it.

But isn’t it a bit disturbing that we can make sense of so much destruction and carnage? Might this be how we get de-sensitised to it all? The next time this happens, it would be… just like in the movies.

That being the case, shouldn’t we as media producers pay more attention to what we show and how we show it?  This is no call for censorship, but we should take more responsibility over what we create. There is a need to have a deeper understanding of our craft and the effects it produces. Each frame and word we create has an impact. So call a spade, a spade, but know why you’re even putting in a spade.

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