Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gaza and the BBC and journalism

For me the BBC is first and foremost the BBC worldservice and the BBC news website. I understand that the BBC is under fire because it will not broadcast a fund-raiser in the aftermath of the latest fighting in the Gaza strip.

It is this same BBC that continues its reporting about the hardships in the Gaza strip. This is what they wrote today. It is great reporting and it demonstrates how the BBC has continued its quality reporting after the abduction of Alan Johnston in 2004 to 2007.

The problem that I find in the reporting about Gaza is, that there is so much less attention about the conflicts elsewhere and the devastation caused by it often on a much bigger scale. The people leaving the Swat province of Pakistan because the Taleban prevents their children from being educated. The genocide that is the cholera epidemic of Zimbabwe. The civil war in Sri Lanka and the trouble with reporting this news.

These conflicts, and sadly many more, do not get the attention Gaza gets. Key in this is journalism. Journalists are needed on the scene before we can get the news in our newspaper, on our website or television. Journalists die in droves. It is the most dangerous occupation. In 2009 journalists died in Russia, the Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Gaza. In 2008 63 journalists died.

There are no tweets coming from Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan or Somalia to tell us about what happens. There are no people piling up the pressure to give more attention to these causes like it happens for Gaza. What we need are organisations that bring us the best journalistic intelligence. This is what the BBC does for me.

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