The Role of Media and Piracy in Somalia
December 12, 2008, 1:14 pm
Filed under: Africa, Poverty | Tags: , , ,

My friend Joe Le Sac at The Melon Online recently published a comment on the state of anarchy in Somalia and how piracy is being painted in the international press. He writes:

Somalia is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. While international eyes scorn the recent hijackings of over 40 shipping vessels off Somalia’s coast and berate the perceived “lawlessness” of the pirates who hold them for millions of dollars ransom, Somalis themselves seem more concerned about the destruction of human life caused by corporations and blood money from Western governments.

Very little attention is given to the fact that Somalia is, by the UN’s own admission, the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa. Rather, the focus on piracy seems to avoid contextualization.

Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post analyzes the sensationalist coverage of piracy across the international media.

The AP reports that the commander of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, is showing reseveration on the recent idea of attacking the pirates by land.

Since Somalia has no effective government, there is no international consensus on what to do with the pirates if they are detained.  The government they do have seems to be on the brink of collapse.

The New York Times reported last week that:

Somalia’s transitional government looks as if it is about to flatline. The Ethiopians who have been keeping it alive for two years say they are leaving the country, essentially pulling the plug.

To make matters worse, BBC reports that about 15,000 Somali soldiers and police have deserted.  Furthermore:

Mr Kumalo, the South African ambassador, also said most of the Somali government’s security budget – supposedly 70% of its total budget – disappeared through corruption.

 

Walid Zafar

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