World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


MSF: Top 10 Underreported Humanitarian Stories '07


MSF releases tenth annual 'Top Ten' most underreported humanitarian stories of 2007

The countries and contexts highlighted by MSF on this year's list accounted for just 18 minutes of coverage on the three major U.S. television networks' nightly newscasts from January through November 2007.

READ THE TOP TEN LIST

People struggling to survive violence, forced displacement, and disease in the Central African Republic (CAR), Somalia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere often went underreported in the news this year and much of the past decade, according to the 10th annual list of the "Top Ten" Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories, released today by the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The 2007 list also highlights the plight of people living through other forgotten crises, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Colombia, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, and Chechnya, where the displacement by war of millions continues. It also focuses on the ongoing toll of medical catastrophes like tuberculosis (TB) and childhood malnutrition.

"Certainly, many members of the press go to great lengths to report on what is taking place in conflict zones around the world," said Nicolas de Torrenté, executive director of MSF-USA. "But millions of people trapped in war, forced from their homes, and lacking the most basic medical care, do not receive attention commensurate with their plight."

MSF began producing the "Top Ten" list in 1998 when a devastating famine in southern Sudan went largely unreported in the U.S. media. Drawing on MSF's emergency medical work, the list seeks to generate greater awareness of the magnitude and severity of crises that are not always reflected in media accounts. Often, media attention is critical for generating and improving responses.

Childhood malnutrition is an example. Increasing coverage of effective methods to treat malnourished children with nutrient rich ready-to-use foods is generating a growing awareness of the need for changes in international food aid policies.

The DRC and Colombia, both wracked by ongoing civil conflict and massive internal displacement of civilians, have dominated the list over the past decade, each appearing a total of nine times. The humanitarian consequence of war in Chechnya has appeared eight times. Somalia has appeared seven times, most recently because renewed fighting centered in Mogadishu in 2007 has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, only to endure disease and extremely precarious living conditions.

According to Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the online media-tracking journal, The Tyndall Report, the countries and contexts highlighted by MSF on this year's list accounted for just 18 minutes of coverage on the three major U.S. television networks' nightly newscasts from January through November 2007.

This figure does not include coverage of Myanmar or tuberculosis; both generated significant media attention, but very little of it focused on the medical humanitarian aspects of either context. Chechnya, Sri Lanka and CAR - where many villages were burned to the ground in fighting between government forces and rebels and tens of thousands of people fled into inhospitable forests seeking safety-were never mentioned.

Coverage of TB was somewhat of an exception in 2007, when an Atlanta man was diagnosed with a multidrug-resistant (MDR) strain of the disease. However, increasing levels of MDR-TB globally, including extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB, and alarming rates of people with HIV/AIDS co-infected with TB, received little attention.

"Local angles of international stories can often drive coverage," said de Torrenté. "Unfortunately, the result is that the focus is not necessarily on the most vulnerable and desperate -- precisely the people whose stories deserve to be told."

'TOP TEN' MOST UNDERREPORTED HUMANITARIAN STORIES OF 2007

ENDS

Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news