Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ignoring the DRC

Andrew Stroehlein asks in the CS Monitor, "Why aren't the media covering the Congo?"

With an estimated 1,000 people dying there every day as a result of hunger and disease caused by war, it is an appropriate question. But the extent of this coverage of noncoverage is reaching the absurd: print, radio, TV, Internet - they all want to know why they themselves are not writing articles and broadcasting programs about the Congo.

And it is not just me noticing this. In March, Reuters even held a seminar on "forgotten crises," at which the Congo topped the list, and on BBC World Service the other day, I heard a newscaster ask: "Shouldn't this be getting more attention?"

Indeed. What the world media are missing is one of the deadliest conflicts since World War II: 3.8 million people have died in the Congo since 1998, dwarfing not only the biggest of natural catastrophes, such as December's South Asia tsunami, but also other manmade horrors, such as Darfur.

Congo's situation is complicated - any war on such a scale would be - but the outlines of the current stage of the conflict are straightforward enough for any journalist to summarize.
Stroehlein doesn't leave you hanging, and goes on to outline the complicated situation in the rest of the piece.

His point, obviously, is valid, particularly in the US where the media remains transfixed by Jacko-mania, pretty white women disappearing, and the like. It's a disgraceful situation, to say the least.