Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Documentary by Brien Steidel: The Devil Came On Horseback
Darfur: Covering the "forgotten" story
No issue in Arab journalism today is more controversial than how the region's media cover Darfur. From Arab Media & Society.
By Lawrence Pintak for Arab Media & Society (25/05/07)
Not Iraq, where, according to a new report from the Arab Archives Institute, 52 Arab journalists have lost their lives since 2001; not Palestine, where journalists are caught between Israel and the Palestinians and between Fatah and Hamas; nor Lebanon, where reporters have been in the cross-hairs of rival factions and governments.
Darfur is a hot-button issue in the newsroom not because of the physical danger but because the issue bores right to the heart of the mission of Arab journalism and the self-identity of those who practice it.
That was vividly apparent at a one-day workshop on the crisis organized by the International Crisis Group and hosted by the Center for Electronic Journalism at The American University in Cairo in April this year and it was evident again, two weeks later, at the 2007 Arab Broadcast Forum, the annual gathering of Arab television executives.
The central issue: "The Arabs see the victims are not Arabs, and we don't care," Khaled Ewais, Al Arabiya's political producer, told the Cairo gathering, which brought together reporters and editors from across the Arab world. Fayez el Sheikh Saleik, Khartoum correspondent of Al-Hayat, concurred: "Sudan is a marginal country when it comes to the Arab region."
Darfur "not a popular topic" in the Arab world
Some pointed to an even more insidious issue: In other regional conflicts, Arabs are the victims. In Darfur, Arab militias are the perpetrators. That's not a popular topic.
"The media are directly responsible for this crisis," an angry representative of the Liberation Front of Darfur told those assembled in Cairo. While few of the journalists were willing to go quite that far, there was widespread acknowledgement that Darfur has been the biggest untold story of the Arab world. Read More...
Also read Five Years On - Apr 2008 Report from Human Rights Watch and
Letter to the United Nations Security Council from Justice for Darfur
Human Rights Watch
Eyes on Darfur
Darfur Peace and Development
Q&A on Darfur Crisis from Human Rights Watch