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Do you feel like you need to have a strong opinion about what ‘actually’ happened to MH370?


Caitlin on March 15, 2023

Conspiracy theories, misinformation and varied opinions are easy to come across in online public spaces. This is hard to navigate and thinking critically about what we are scrolling past is becoming a ‘must do’ for daily online life.

In the latest Netflix docuseries about the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 it looks like current conspiracy theories might be the new trend for documentaries and docuseries. Time to hone those critical thinking caps.

MH370: The plane that disappeared has been self-rated by Netflix M with a content warning for offensive language and suicide themes. For more information about the content warning check out our latest breakdown. While this content warning is important to be across before pressing play, it’s just as important to think critically about what you’re about to watch.

On March 8 2014 a plane went missing along with 239 passengers and crew who were travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. While travelling from Malaysian airspace and into Vietnamese airspace, the aircraft’s transponder stopped sending location data. Communication went dead and based on data, the plane made a sharp left turn. While satellite data showed that the plane would have either headed in the direction stretching from northern Thailand toward the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, or spanning from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean, there have been many questions raised as to why and how and if this is even right at all.

The docuseries has a strong focus on three specific theories of what happened to the plane. They vary from a mass-suicide plot, Russian hijackers and an American FBI cover-up, and are backed up by very convincing spokespeople. The series even includes a re-enactment of the theories to make them seem more believable.

What happened to MH370 is one huge aviation mystery and, respectfully, we need to continue treating it that way. When the facts are messy and experts across countries aren’t agreeing, it isn’t the time to pick a side. Instead it is time to think about how information is being served to you.

By focusing on three specific theories, the director, the editor, and the scriptwriter are crafting a story to capture your interest.

From Peppa Pig to the latest Batman film to anything else we watch, it’s on us to think carefully about what the messages are, how they make us feel and how they could be influencing the way we think. Take a moment to consider:

  • Could there be other theories? And why aren’t we being shown those as re-enactments?
  • How does this docuseries make you feel and towards whom?
  • Are you researching one theory in particular or are you balancing information and trying to debunk each possible angle?

But what does this mean when it comes to deciding what happened to MH370? Well, hopefully this blog gives you pause for thought, to not feel like you need to throw your support fully towards any theory. Watch the docuseries, enjoy chatting to your friends, colleagues and whānau about it, play the devil’s advocate – but most importantly, be aware of how you are taking on the information the series includes.

Needless to say, the reason why the plane went missing in the first place and why it hasn’t been found is extremely interesting, and it makes sense that Netflix created and released the series on the anniversary of the flight’s disappearance.

Here at the tari our hearts go out to the families who are still struggling to find answers and closure with what has happened.

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