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Darfur: Mass Media Framing of International Intervention, 2003-2007
Unformatted Document Text:  given to purported instances of Aslave redemption,@ and especially the uncritical use of the terms A ethnic cleansing@ and Agenocide.@ Citing Andrew Bukoke=s description of a A >self-sustaining spiral of exaggeration,= @ ESCAP concludes, Agiven the expected story-line set by editors it would be a brave journalist indeed who returned from a week of milling around in the sands of Chad or along the border with Sudan without filing some sort of story of >ethnic cleansing= or > genocide.= @ (2004, June 11) Of course, not all the fault for cited reportorial deficiencies lies with journalists or the media organizations for which they worked. As was case with the civil war in the south, international reporting on Darfur suffered from obstructions deliberately put in place by the Sudanese government. As noted by Refugee International’s President Kenneth Bacon, Sudanese authorities rapidly erected an obstacle course for gaining access to Darfur. It can take more than six weeks to get a visa for Sudan, and sometimes the government won=t grant them at all. Those reporters awarded visas are required to get permission to travel to Darfur... and must be accompanied there by a government escort. Even then, soldiers can limit access to pillaged villages or displacement camps. (2004, 9) Marc Lacey reported that a photographer from the Hartford Courant had been placed under house arrest by Sudanese authorities for photographing “displaced people…without proper authorization,” (2005, Apr. 28, A6) while NBC’s Ann Curry indicated that it had taken her over three years to get a visa and papers necessary for travel to Darfur (NBC, 2007, Mar. 22). Empirical academic studies of media coverage of Darfur are still scarce. Jang Hyun Kim, et al., compared coverage of the conflict in The New York Times and Toronto=s Globe and Mail over a two-year period beginning in April 2003. The focus of this research, however, was not on the Darfur conflict itself, but rather on determining whether Athe influence of U.S. mass media might not extend to the Canadian media=s coverage of Canada=s foreign policies.@ (2007, 88) Using Darfur as a case study, the researchers investigated coverage of four story dimensions 12

Authors: Sidahmed, Abdel., Briggs, E.. and Soderlund, Walter.
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given to purported instances of Aslave redemption,@ and especially the uncritical use of the terms
A
ethnic cleansing@ and Agenocide.@ Citing Andrew Bukoke=s description of a A >self-sustaining
spiral of exaggeration,= @ ESCAP concludes, Agiven the expected story-line set by editors it
would be a brave journalist indeed who returned from a week of milling around in the sands of
Chad or along the border with Sudan without filing some sort of story of >ethnic cleansing= or
>
genocide.= @ (2004, June 11)
Of course, not all the fault for cited reportorial deficiencies lies with journalists or the
media organizations for which they worked. As was case with the civil war in the south,
international reporting on Darfur suffered from obstructions deliberately put in place by the
Sudanese government. As noted by Refugee International’s President Kenneth Bacon,
Sudanese authorities rapidly erected an obstacle course for gaining access to Darfur. It
can take more than six weeks to get a visa for Sudan, and sometimes the government
won=t grant them at all. Those reporters awarded visas are required to get permission to
travel to Darfur... and must be accompanied there by a government escort. Even then,
soldiers can limit access to pillaged villages or displacement camps. (2004, 9)
Marc Lacey reported that a photographer from the Hartford Courant had been placed under
house arrest by Sudanese authorities for photographing “displaced people…without proper
authorization,” (2005, Apr. 28, A6) while NBC’s Ann Curry indicated that it had taken her over
three years to get a visa and papers necessary for travel to Darfur (NBC, 2007, Mar. 22).
Empirical academic studies of media coverage of Darfur are still scarce. Jang Hyun Kim,
et al., compared coverage of the conflict in The New York Times and Toronto=s Globe and Mail
over a two-year period beginning in April 2003. The focus of this research, however, was not on
the Darfur conflict itself, but rather on determining whether Athe influence of U.S. mass media
might not extend to the Canadian media=s coverage of Canada=s foreign policies.@ (2007, 88)
Using Darfur as a case study, the researchers investigated coverage of four story dimensions
12


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