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Darfur: Mass Media Framing of International Intervention, 2003-2007
Unformatted Document Text:  Darfur. And few of them appeared on the front page. Only a handful of newspapers have sent their own correspondents to the scene. Foreign desks more often turn to wire service briefs or an occasional piece by a stringer. (2005, Feb/Mar) The list of grievances regarding international reporting on Darfur is far ranging. For example, the pro-Sudanese lobby group ESPAC claims that A[t]he international media=s coverage… of the conflict has been self-evidently lacklustre. The very dynamics of the conflict have not even been adequately analyzed or reported. Most coverage has taken at face value rebel claims that they are fighting against underdevelopment and marginalization in Darfur.@ (2004, June 11) ESPAC=S Director, David Hoile adds the complaint that A[j]ournalists have in many instances managed to get away with some appalling reporting on Sudan. There has been a mixture of simply bad journalism and misinformation,@ (2005) while Kajee concludes that A [d]espite a few laudable attempts by serious political analysts to defray the often naïve and sometimes infantile portrayals of the Darfur conflict in mass media, lazy writers persist in defining the war in Sudan=s westernmost region purely as an ethnic cleansing of Africans by Arab pro-government militias.@ (2007, April 29) Hoile as well points to the uncritical acceptance by journalists of the scenario of government-supported AArab@ B AJanjaweed@B militias attacking AAfrican@ villagers (and in doing so often merely echoing questionable rebel claims). [He argues that] [t]his had been done despite the scarcity of reliable information. United Nations media sources... have noted Aa lack of accurate information on the ## email not listed ## and Reuters has also stated that Ait is hard to independently verify claims by government or rebels in Darfur.@ (2004, July 5) Reporters without Borders adds to the list the failure of international media to adequately utilize local media in Sudan, pointing out that Anewspapers published in Khartoum are... very diverse and reflect the voices of Sudanese human rights activists, university researchers and other civil society actors that find it hard to make themselves heard outside Sudan.@ (as quoted in AfricaFocus, 2007, Apr. 22) Other criticisms focus on issues such as the exaggerated attention 11

Authors: Sidahmed, Abdel., Briggs, E.. and Soderlund, Walter.
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Darfur. And few of them appeared on the front page. Only a handful of newspapers have
sent their own correspondents to the scene. Foreign desks more often turn to wire service
briefs or an occasional piece by a stringer. (2005, Feb/Mar)
The list of grievances regarding international reporting on Darfur is far ranging. For
example, the pro-Sudanese lobby group ESPAC claims that A[t]he international media=s
coverage… of the conflict has been self-evidently lacklustre. The very dynamics of the conflict
have not even been adequately analyzed or reported. Most coverage has taken at face value rebel
claims that they are fighting against underdevelopment and marginalization in Darfur.@ (2004,
June 11) ESPAC=S Director, David Hoile adds the complaint that A[j]ournalists have in many
instances managed to get away with some appalling reporting on Sudan. There has been a
mixture of simply bad journalism and misinformation,@ (2005) while Kajee concludes that
A
[d]espite a few laudable attempts by serious political analysts to defray the often naïve and
sometimes infantile portrayals of the Darfur conflict in mass media, lazy writers persist in
defining the war in Sudan=s westernmost region purely as an ethnic cleansing of Africans by
Arab pro-government militias.@ (2007, April 29) Hoile as well points to the uncritical
acceptance by journalists of the scenario of
government-supported AArab@ B AJanjaweed@B militias attacking AAfrican@ villagers
(and in doing so often merely echoing questionable rebel claims). [He argues that] [t]his
had been done despite the scarcity of reliable information. United Nations media
sources... have noted Aa lack of accurate information on the ## email not listed ## and Reuters has
also stated that Ait is hard to independently verify claims by government or rebels in
Darfur.@ (2004, July 5)
Reporters without Borders adds to the list the failure of international media to adequately
utilize local media in Sudan, pointing out that Anewspapers published in Khartoum are... very
diverse and reflect the voices of Sudanese human rights activists, university researchers and
other civil society actors that find it hard to make themselves heard outside Sudan.@ (as quoted
in AfricaFocus, 2007, Apr. 22) Other criticisms focus on issues such as the exaggerated attention
11


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