Objective Journalism

Few weeks ago, I went to watch a film called Big Boys Gone Bananas!*. This was shown at DOXA earlier this year and I missed it because ticket was sold out!

A Swedish filmmaker made a documentary called Bananas!*. This film documented that Dole has used banned pesticides and how it affected on plantation workers in Nicaragua. The workers stood up and fought in a lawsuit. It is totally untold stories and the film captured voices from voiceless people.

However, the film was an inconvenient truth for Dole. Dole attacked the filmmaker Fredrik Gertten and tried to stop distribution of the film internationally. They ended up with suing Gertten and the film showed how freedom of speech is intervened and how it happened.

It was really surprising to see how PR company hired by Dole chases all the media coverage and tries to change the information from negative to positive. Gertten’s voice is never heard from mainstream media except for Swedish media. Support from Swedish media, individuals, businesses and government were really empowering.

This reminded me of a documentary “The Cove.” A film about dolphin hunting in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan. The film received a lot of positive responses and raised awareness of dolphin hunting. However, the film caused controversy in Japan and some people questioned about their film making practice as well as its depiction.

There are many perspectives and the film was made from Western point of view. Viewers need to appreciate what they captured, at the same time, they have to have a critical thinking. They should not receive the film as it is told. The film should be explored from different perspectives – filmmaker, subjects, activists, scholars etc. On top of this, if anything catches your mind, you have a right to speak up or raise questions.

What we really need is media literacy, not banning films or suing/accusing filmmakers.