Some potential barriers and countermeasures of “exchange journalist” model for solving problems in propaganda model
The 4th and 5th filters mentioned in Chomsky’s propaganda model, namely the flak and ideological marginalization problems, compared with other three filters, are even harder to solve. Tutor Mexin argued that it is somehow because of the existence of “relevance” between the journalists and the society in which his reports rooted so that it’s understandable that there’s a fear to lose reputation; bring psychological or physical harms to himself or family, friends; or to be sued. And “exchange journalists” model aimed to improve the situation was brought up.
However, I’d have to say, this model it’s a good solution to the obstacles faced under the two filters, it seems to be so ideal, though.
First, let’s discuss the meaning of the word “relevance” and one primary nature of news. The model argues that if we can invite irrelevant journalists from other regions, say, African journalists to report Hong Kong local issues. Since news especially large events that would be strongly affected by the filters such as organization and eruption of social movements is somehow random. Thus, it’s ideal if a“HK irrelevant” foreign journalist happened to be at the scene when Mongkok Riots took place coincidentally, but we cannot ensure and expect that because, firstly, compared with local journalists, the number of foreign journalists is smaller so that it’s hard for them to be the witness. It also wouldn’t work if we invite them after the issue has already happened since filters may have already functioned. Secondly, someone would argue that the long duration of a foreign journalist may add to the probability of witnessing a news on the spot, i.e. if he lives in Hong Kong, rather than just stays several days for work. However, this leads to the problem of “relevance”. Even though we neglected the influence of globalization, if he lives in Hong Kong, is he relevant to this society? Though under international protection, the fears threaten local journalists will also affect him.
Secondly, to be frank, we can see many foreign media that are reporting Hong Kong local issues nowadays: CNN and BBC, etc. No matter it’s because cultural difference or ideological difference, many news we see from foreign journalists doesn’t present how they help to fight against the filters but how to “frame” issues according to political needs.
Thus, the “exchange model” required many specific guidelines in order to function properly, like setting appropriate duration for a certain journalist’s stay in a certain region, the backgrounds of these exchange journalists, etc. (Maybe a worldwide organization helps: to manage all the journalists willing to take part in the exchange program, collect their personal information, past experience and control their duration in a certain region to avoid the obstacles mentioned above.)