Tuesday, July 26, 2005

When television fails to inform

Nicholas Kristof, one of the few voices in the media who has consistently worked to bring attention to the on-going suffering of the people of Darfur, has another column up now at the NYT about the situation, except this time instead of being critical of our government, Kristof has focused his attention on the failure of journalism, and more specifically, tv news, to raise awareness of this important issue. It is truely shameful how much time is devoted to covering irrelevant soft news (such as celebrity gossip) while the plight of hundreds of thousands of people goes unnoticed. This point from Kristof's column puts it in perspective:
According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year - and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings. NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes - about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks.
In other Africa related news, the people of Zimbabwe may have something to be hopeful about, as a UN report released last Friday came out strong against Robert Mugabe. The report, which can be viewed in pdf format here, condemns the government's demolition of homes and businesses during "Operation Restore Order," which left some 700,000 people homeless, as a clear violation of international law.

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