Saturday, February 7, 2009

Civilian Watch, cont'd.

Just as a reminder, this running series of posts is meant to document civilian deaths in time of conflict between a state and a separatist group. Again, its purpose is twofold: first, to bring attention to the loss of life when it would otherwise be overlooked; and second, to show the difference between the media responses to the Gaza war and these conflicts. This is in no way meant to minimize the terrible pain and suffering felt by the Palestinians. It's just that the media's ability to feel pain shouldn't be limited to the Palestinians.

In Madagascar, Agence France-Presse reports (via the New York Times) 23 protesters were shot dead by the police, with 83 injured. The protesters, who are supporters of opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, were demonstrating against President Marc Ravalomanana's dictatorial regime. When they decided to march on his palace -- still, apparently, acting non-violently -- the police opened fire. According to the article, Madagascar's main foreign donors, including the EU, have suspended financial aid. But, with the exception of international press agencies, this has been severely under-reported by major news outlets.

The war in Sri Lanka appears to be winding down, with the international community -- from heads of state to human rights organizations -- getting involved. But again, despite the magnitude of this fight, with hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to flee and an unknown number killed, it hasn't made headline news.

One could argue that the lack of heavy reporting in these areas is due to large financial losses major news outlets are experiencing, forcing them to cut back on foreign bureaus. But the reports exist -- they're just buried inside of the paper, not prominently displayed on the front page.

1 comment: