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Submitted by Jon on
Antonio, fantastic post and I especially agree with your summation. There is of course an effect of constant representation of the way those living in poverty are represented, and media does often tend to portray the poor in ways that reduce the dignity of people who live poverty. My only caution is - and this is why I loved your summation - is that media can't swing too far in the other direction. We need only look at representations of poverty in the developed world. While constant depiction's of the poor at their worst can have the unintended consequence of negatively impacting the public's perceptions of poverty, the opposite is also true. Not showing poverty as it really allows those in a position to help to believe that the plight of the less fortunate 'isn't so bad' so why should they help. Images of life in the inner city in developed countries - where the poor are sometimes depicted as happily coping with their lot - have had this effect. The aim should be to simply tell/show the truth, and let it speak for itself. If the image of a shanty town horrifies; then it should. While all the joys of life can occur there, we all know that this is not the ideal place for anyone to live. Don't engage in poverty porn as Mark mentions - its tacky and counterproductive - but avoid the temptation to sugar coat the very real and very stark realities of poverty. As you say, use the see/say (visual verbal) method. Show the conditions, tell what people are doing to improve, get out of those conditions, and I think the right balance both for those living with poverty and those who can be moved to help can be struck.