Why don't you care about the Somali famine?
Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan called on members of the media on Tuesday afternoon to step up reporting of the famine that has a stranglehold on Somalia.
The United Nations estimates that more than 11 million East Africans are affected by a drought that has become a famine in Somalia, where 3.7 million are among the worst hit thanks to ongoing civil war. Aid organizations trying to help Somalis in and out of giant refugee camps face bans and/or looting from militant groups.
K’naan held a press conference with fellow musician and activist Bono of U2, Tuesday. In an interview afterward, K’naan told CBC that “the media first and foremost has to draw attention to this cause because Canadians don’t know this is happening."
When news first broke the other week that the UN was going to give the crisis in East Africa official ‘famine’ status, the first such move in over 20 years, a Canadian friend with Somali parents posted
a question on Facebook: Why do you think no one cares about this?
On MSN, it has become clear this isn’t a story that strikes a chord with most of our users. Given a choice between ‘how to stay cool in a heat wave’ or learning more about ‘tens of thousands killed
by Somalia famine’ on the homepage last week, users chose the heat wave. Both news headlines were given roughly equal play, running near each other as text links, but the heat wave generated more interest.
So, The Folo will pose this same question: Why don’t you care about the Somali famine? Or, if you’d rather, why don’t you care about it as much as other news?
Do MSN and other news agencies have a responsibility to prominently run this story, even if there is a lack of interest in it, or is that pushing an agenda on users who are more than capable of choosing for themselves what is important?