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Economy driving the Conflict, & Hiding the DR Congo Conflict

July 21, 2009

It’s been a while since anything was written here, but the thesis is complete and it’s time to think about how to develop ideas regarding media response to DR Congo. In the coming days, or weeks, I’ll be explaining some of my results, which began to demonstrate what restraints there are upon the foreign correspondents.

To my surprise, today there was a front page (on the internet at least) story on the Guardian website, titled “British firms linked to Congo’s illicit mineral trade”.  This isn’t really news to anyone who would spend 2 minutes reading about what’s going on in the DRC – where do you think coltan is heading to if not the Western or Chinese markets?

What this article instantly reveals is the bias towards the news’ own nation; if this was ‘Malaysian firms’, or perhaps even ‘American firms’, this would not be front page.  It wouldn’t be big enough news.  In fact, I get the feeling it must be a slow news day for this article to head the website.

The interesting thing is that economics really are the driving force behind this conflict.  And, by the same token, economics are restraining decent reporting of the conflict.  I’ll explain in more details in the coming days but I was recently told this by a reporter based in West Africa (I won’t reveal him):

I was told by the editors: if I have to choose between the latest inflation figures in the West, and a dozen deaths somewhere, I’d have to go with the inflation figures.

So hitting the economic theme of the conflict is probably the only way it’ll make the news. Sad but true.


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