New York, May 17. While the war and the insurgency in Iraq easily piqued the media?s interest, the same cannot be said about conflicts in Congo, Uganda and Sudan. Despite the humanitarian crises in these nations, they remain almost invisible in most media. The Media Tenor research institute analyzed the international news coverage in TV and print media in South Africa, the U.S., Germany and in the Middle East between 1/1/2004 and 3/31/2005. .
The results of the analysis show that the Democratic Republic of Congo, rated the worst humanitarian hot spot by AlertNet in a poll of 100 humanitarian professionals, was featured in only 0.24% of international news reports. Reports on the critical situation in Uganda, second in the poll, made up a paltry 0.06% of the coverage. The media paid a little more attention to Sudan, the site of Africa?s longest running civil war, due to allegations of genocide in the country?s Darfur region, but overall Sudan?s share of the coverage only comes to 1.25% of all international news reports. .
In contrast, Iraq, with its greater geopolitical significance, claimed 17.68% of all foreign news reports and was the most covered foreign country in U.S., German and Middle Eastern media outlets. In February of 2004, for instance, news from Iraq represented 61% of the international coverage in U.S. media and 40% of Al Jazeera?s coverage. The different emphases in the news coverage are particularly palpable in the U.S. and in South Africa. In the 15-month period of analysis, news broadcasts on ABC, NBC and CBS featured 4,997 reports on Iraq and only four reports on Congo. Generally, from analyzed media, Congo and Uganda received the most coverage in South African media. Just in South Africa, Iraq received less attention and was the third most-covered country. In Germany and in the Middle East, the media focused mostly on Iraq, although overall the conflict in Darfur received the most attention on Al Jazeera..
The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed at least 10 times as many lives as the December tsunami, but remains forgotten in the media, with a 0.04% share of U.S. foreign news coverage. It should be no surprise then that 57 percent of the U.S. public (poll conducted by Harris Interactive) believe that the earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia took more lives than the fighting in Congo. The sudden shock of the tsunami reverberated more strongly throughout international media, directly influencing public perception and resulting in almost immediate financial and humanitarian support for the region. .
Media trends have a direct impact on people?s perception of reality. The unequal distribution of humanitarian help between the affected nations and regions as well as the willingness or unwillingness for interventions by the developed nations can thus be contributed to the fact that the media favors some stories, while ignoring much of the unsettling rest. .
For this report, Media Tenor institute analyzed 79,709 reports on foreign countries in the following media:.
South Africa: Afrikaans News (SABC2), English News (SABC3), E-TV News, Zulu/Xhosa.
News, Sotho News, 9,434 reports.
USA: ABC, NBS, CBS, 10,194 reports.
Germany: ARD Tagesthemen, ZDF heute journal, RTL AKTUELL, SAT.1, Tagesschau, heute, .
Pro 7 Nachrichten, Deutsche Welle ? Journal (English and German), 57,896 reports.
Middle East: All Jazeera, 9,210 reports .
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