Does Big Media’s lousy signal-to-noise ratio in Gaza give a free pass to atrocities elsewhere in the world?
Congolese activist Vava Tampa wonders why daily massacres in his home country don’t get the same level of media interest as the Gaza crisis. Tampa writes at CNN:
The question here is not whether the human suffering in Congo deserves more media coverage because it is greater than that in Syria or Gaza, but rather, why has the crisis in Syria or Gaza qualified for extensive media coverage, but not the killing and raping industries in Congo?
I doubt that this is because of a shortage of sobering imagery of Congo’s killing fields or a lack of first-hand testimonies from survivors, or a lack of human rights and humanitarian reports and assessments of the situation.
Is it due to the geographical or cultural distance between London or Washington and Congo? Or are Western media just reluctant, if not uninterested, to cover it because no Western interests or ally is endangered by it?
Ian Birrill of The Observer raised a similar point, which initially had me cynically react that nobody will be interested in Congo until there’s an Israeli angle to this tragedy.
The problem isn’t just the extensive coverage of Gaza, its the over-reporting of Gaza as well.
Here’s one example: Washington Post, reporter Scott Wilson thinks it’s a story that In Gaza, Attempted Warning Failed to Protect Civilians. You’d think from that headline there’s a damning flaw in the IDF’s system of warning residents to evacuate buildings that are about to be hit. But instead Wilson writes:
Family members said they didn’t know that another neighboring family, the Azzams, included a member of Islamic Jihad. Mohammed Qutati, an engineering student at al-Azhar University whose uncle Ahad died in the airstrikes, said, “If we had known, we would have left.”
To be fair, the Post did carry some brief wire stories about Congo. But articles by the paper’s own correspondents carry more weight and draw more attention.
Is Tampa’s frustration with the news industry any wonder?
(Image via YouTube/SavetheCongoChannel)