U Thant the friend of the mass media

U Thant, ever a friend to the mass media, wrote in the September 1955 issue of Guardian Magazine: “One of the impressions I have gained… is the essential similarity of national characters on which a world-wide understanding can be built and global solidarity can rest. Everywhere men and women, young and old, love peace, enjoy a good joke and lead affectionate family lives. No doubt mass media… have bred in the minds of people certain prejudices and bias… but I believe that the same mass media… can turn such people into their real selves.”

Individuals can go together, mix together and fulfil themselves together. There is and there will always be an underlying oneness, an essential similarity of human beings, nations and national characters. It is not that each one must discover his goal totally apart from the rest of the world. Together we must strive to achieve the selfsame goal, for it is collective oneness alone that can grant us perfect satisfaction.

Again, we are afraid that the mass media have created tremendous confusion in life, a sense of superiority and inferiority that can ruin human minds. But U Thant’s prophetic utterance is that the same mass media can help human beings see, realise and become their true selves.