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How do the media decide which stories to cover?

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How do the media decide which stories to cover?


Frank, Lyon, France:

“Events in Libya and the rest of the Arab world have dominated news coverage over recent weeks. This has completely overshadowed reports of the political unrest in the Ivory Coast. Can you explain why this has happend?”

Gianni Rufini, University of York, UK:
“This is an old problem. International events have always has a huge impact in the media and especially humanitarian crises.”

“It goes back to the days of the crisis in Biafra, which determined the first great international achievement of Doctors Without Borders, until the famine in Ethiopia in 1984/1985.”

“There are countries that do not interest people and there are countries that do, like those in the Middle East.”

“Whatever happens in the Middle East will have an overall impact on international politics and will therefore be covered by the media in a systematic way.”

“Unfortunately, a continent like Africa does not seem to interest the media the way the Middle East does.”

“Currently – the Democratic Republic of Congo has the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa but the country has been completely forgotten by the international media. The same thing for Somalia, it was abandoned by the media and global politics 15 years ago.”

“The humanitarian response depends on the impact of the crisis on the media. There are great responsibilities on newspaper and television editors because they decide on the stories to follow. A humanitarian crisis could determine the magnitude of the humanitarian response and therefore can determine whether lives are saved in these events or not.”

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