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The Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2003

 
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antony



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 35
Location: London

Post Post subject: The Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2003 Reply with quote

The Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2003

While certain international issues did receive media coverage, the humanitarian dimensions were largely overlooked. Proposals by the US government in world trade negotiations, for example, were widely discussed without adequate analysis of the devastating impact they may have on poor people's access to essential medicines.

New York - An escalating refugee crisis along the border of Sudan and Chad as well as chronic conflicts in Colombia, Chechnya, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo are among the Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2003, according to the yearly list released today by the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The sixth annual list also highlights the lack of media attention paid to the high death toll from malaria this year, ongoing unremitting crises in North Korea and Somalia, a new war in Ivory Coast, and the threats posed by regional trade agreements on poor people's access to life-saving medicines.

"Few Americans are aware that right now hundreds of thousands of people are seeking refuge from intense violence in Sudan's Darfur region or that tens of thousands of people have been sent back to a war-zone in Chechnya," said Nicolas de Torrente, executive director of MSF-USA. "Yet people we speak to around the country tell us they want to know about these crises so they, too, can speak out and act against them."

Increasing brutality directed at civilians in 2003 also extended to aid workers. MSF volunteer, Arjan Erkel, for example, is still being held hostage more than 500 days after being kidnapped in the Russian Republic of Dagestan on August 12, 2002. Such insecurity contributes to preventing journalists from providing wider coverage of some of the world's most dangerous regions.

According to Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the online media-tracking journal The Tyndall Report, international coverage on the three major US television networks increased in 2003, but it was concentrated on Iraq. The 10 crises highlighted by MSF only accounted for 30.2 minutes, or 0.2%, of the 14,635 minutes on the networks' nightly newscasts, and 7 of the 10 crises received a combined total of 3.2 minutes.

While certain international issues did receive media coverage, the humanitarian dimensions were largely overlooked. Proposals by the US government in world trade negotiations, for example, were widely discussed without adequate analysis of the devastating impact they may have on poor people's access to essential medicines.

"North Korea was also in the media spotlight all year," De Torrente said. "But the nightmarish situation for people living there, as well as the persecution of North Korean refugees, was nearly invisible. And from our experience, silence and indifference are what allow such injustices to continue."


To view further details of these stories click here:http://www.msf.org/content/page.cfm?articleid=AA4451CE-6C9E-4516-A063A1D44C3205CA
Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:43 pm
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antony



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 35
Location: London

Post Post subject: 2003’s stinkiest media performances Reply with quote

2003’s stinkiest media performances
Author: Norman Solomon

Opinion

The P.U.-litzer Prizes were established more than a decade ago to give recognition to the stinkiest media performances of the year.

As usual, I have conferred with Jeff Cohen, founder of the media watch group FAIR, to sift through the large volume of entries. In view of the many deserving competitors, we regret that only a few can win a P.U.-litzer.

And now, the twelfth annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, for the foulest media performances of 2003:

• Media Mogul of the Year – Lowry Mays, CEO of Clear Channel

While some broadcasters care about their programming, the CEO of America’s biggest radio company (with more than 1,200 stations) admits he cares only about the ads. The Clear Channel boss told Fortune magazine in March: “If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn’t be someone from our company. We’re not in the business of providing news and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-researched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers products.”

• Liberating Iraq Prize – Tom Brokaw

Interviewing a military analyst as U.S. jet bombers headed to Baghdad on the first day of the Iraq war, NBC anchor Brokaw declared: “Admiral McGinn, one of the things that we don’t want to do is to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we’re going to own that country.”

• “The More You Watch, the Less You Know” Prize – Fox News Channel

According to a University of Maryland study, most Americans who get their news from commercial TV harbored at least one of three “misperceptions” about the Iraq war: that weapons of mass destruction had been discovered in Iraq, that evidence closely linking Iraq to Al Qaeda had been found, or that world opinion approved of the U.S. invasion. Fox News viewers were the most confused about key facts, with 80 percent embracing at least one of those misperceptions. The study found a correlation between being misinformed and being supportive of the war.

• “Clear It with the Pentagon” Award – CNN

A month after the invasion of Iraq began, CNN executive Eason Jordan admitted on his network’s “Reliable Sources” show (April 20) that CNN had allowed U.S. military officials to help screen its on-air analysts: “I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance – ‘At CNN, here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war’ – and we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.”

• “Conservative Times for the ‘Liberal’ Media” Award – ABC News

Over the years, ABC correspondent John Stossel became known for one-sided, often-inaccurate reporting on behalf of his pro-corporate, “greed is good” ideology. He boasted that his on-air job was to “explain the beauties of the free market,” received lecture fees from corporate pressure groups, and even spoke on Capitol Hill against consumer-protection regulation. In May of this year, when Stossel was promoted to co-anchor of ABC’s “20/20,” a network insider told TV Guide: “These are conservative times. ... The network wants somebody to match the times.”

• “Coddling Donald” Prize – CBS’s Lesley Stahl, ABC’s Peter Jennings and Others

On the day news broke about Saddam Hussein’s capture, Stahl and Jennings each interviewed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In step with their mainstream media colleagues, both failed to ask about Rumsfeld’s cordial 1983 meeting with Hussein in Baghdad on behalf of the Reagan administration that opened up strong diplomatic and military ties between the U.S. government and the dictator that lasted through seven years of his worst brutality.

• Military Groupie Prize – Katie Couric of NBC’s “Today” Show

“Well, Commander Thompson,” said Couric on April 3, in the midst of the invasion carnage, “thanks for talking with us at this very early hour out there. And I just want you to know, I think Navy SEALs rock.”

• Noblesse Oblige Occupation Award – Thomas Friedman, New York Times

In a Nov. 30 piece, Times columnist Friedman gushed that “this war (in Iraq) is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan.” He lauded the war as “one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad.” Friedman did not mention the estimated 112 billion barrels of oil in Iraq ... or the continuous deceptions that led to the “noble” enterprise.


Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, www.accuracy.org, and writes a syndicated column on media and politics.


http://www.pww.org/article/articleprint/4648/
Sun Jan 18, 2004 1:56 am
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