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Darfur: Mass Media Framing of International Intervention, 2003-2007
Unformatted Document Text:  included her visit to a refugee camp, their major focus was on the mistreatment of her staff and accompanying journalists at the hands of Sudanese security officials in Khartoum. 14. In early 2006, Nicholas Kristof noted that “Mr. Bush barely lets the word “Darfur” past his lips.” (2006, Feb. 7, A21). The non-appearance of the president can hardly be attributed to chance, as the occupant of the office has an almost unlimited capacity to command journalistic attention. For similar instances of presidential avoidance of the media, see the discussion of President Clinton’s lack of visibility in television coverage of the Jamaat-al-Muslimin coup in Trinidad and Tobago in 1990 and the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994 (Soderlund, 2003, Chapters 2 and 6). 15. Lance Bennett’s theory of “indexing” (1990) suggests that media coverage of an issue is intensified when important political elites call for policies that run counter to those proposed by the White House. 16. The concept of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) and the conditions under which it would be applied emerged from the deliberations of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty reported in 2001 and approved by the international community in 2005 (see ICISS, 2001). For whatever reason, there was no direct linkage to this doctrine in media coverage of Darfur. 17. In March 2006 Mr. Kristoff was given a special award by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy for his reporting on genocide in Darfur-- reporting that was credited with “ ‘saving many thousands of lives.’ ” (Janofsky, 2006, Mar. 16, A20) 18. As with most humanitarian crises in the post-colonial world, precise numbers in terms of casualties are difficult, if not impossible, to verify. The figures cited here are those that were widely reported in both television and newspaper reporting. There is, however, some academic confirmation of these numbers. Gérard Prunier estimates that at the beginning of 2005, between 280,000 and 310,000 had been killed (2005, 152). Julie Flint and Alex de Waal report that at the same time “almost 2 million people had been driven to overcrowded and unsanitary camps inside Darfur and another 200,000 had sought refuge in Chad.” They also report a UN estimate of between 700 and 2,000 villages “totally or partially destroyed.” (2005, 112) 28

Authors: Sidahmed, Abdel., Briggs, E.. and Soderlund, Walter.
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included her visit to a refugee camp, their major focus was on the mistreatment of her staff and
accompanying journalists at the hands of Sudanese security officials in Khartoum.
14. In early 2006, Nicholas Kristof noted that “Mr. Bush barely lets the word “Darfur”
past his lips.” (2006, Feb. 7, A21).
The non-appearance of the president can hardly be attributed to chance, as the occupant
of the office has an almost unlimited capacity to command journalistic attention. For similar
instances of presidential avoidance of the media, see the discussion of President Clinton’s lack of
visibility in television coverage of the Jamaat-al-Muslimin coup in Trinidad and Tobago in 1990
and the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994 (Soderlund, 2003, Chapters 2 and 6).
15. Lance Bennett’s theory of “indexing” (1990) suggests that media coverage of an
issue is intensified when important political elites call for policies that run counter to those
proposed by the White House.
16. The concept of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) and the conditions under which it
would be applied emerged from the deliberations of the International Commission on
Intervention and State Sovereignty reported in 2001 and approved by the international
community in 2005 (see ICISS, 2001). For whatever reason, there was no direct linkage to this
doctrine in media coverage of Darfur.
17. In March 2006 Mr. Kristoff was given a special award by the Joan Shorenstein
Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy for his reporting on genocide in Darfur--
reporting that was credited with “ ‘saving many thousands of lives.’ ” (Janofsky, 2006, Mar. 16,
A20)
18. As with most humanitarian crises in the post-colonial world, precise numbers in terms
of casualties are difficult, if not impossible, to verify. The figures cited here are those that were
widely reported in both television and newspaper reporting. There is, however, some academic
confirmation of these numbers. Gérard Prunier estimates that at the beginning of 2005, between
280,000 and 310,000 had been killed (2005, 152). Julie Flint and Alex de Waal report that at the
same time “almost 2 million people had been driven to overcrowded and unsanitary camps
inside Darfur and another 200,000 had sought refuge in Chad.” They also report a UN estimate
of between 700 and 2,000 villages “totally or partially destroyed.” (2005, 112)
28


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