Sunday, July 09, 2006

A story illustrating bias in the media regarding Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- The Islamic militiamen controlling the Somali capital broke up a wedding celebration because a band was playing and women and men were socializing together, witnesses said Saturday, describing the latest crackdown by a group feared to be installing Taliban-style rule in this African nation.

The second line of the headline was about how some militiamen killed some guys watching the World Cup earlier in the week. This just goes to show that either news organizations are not understanding the situation or they are deliberately choosing to downplay the difference between the moderate section of the ICU and the hardliners. It's very disappointing.

Further on in the article, they mention how Washington says some members of the militia have links to Al Qaeda and they may be sheltering those responsible for the attacks in Tanzania and Kenya. They also mention Bin Laden's tape calling Somalia a battleground in the fight against the US.

No mention is made of how the ICU is only in power because moderates and hardliners came together to overthrow the warlords, nor that the moderates are being shoved out by the hardliners, but probably have more popular support.

The writer of this article is evidently so ignorant that they cribbed notes from other news articles, never even using the name Islamic Courts Union (or, variably, the Union of Islamic Courts). They use the generic word militia as if the ICU is merely the equivalent of some warlord's band of fighters.

In short, ridiculous. This is an AP story, so I can't blame CNN specifically for writing it, but they ought to be doing a better job of providing in-depth coverage.


adam said...

Good post.

Xanthippas said...

When it comes to Africa, this is the sort of coverage we can expect. What disappoints me is that one of our very own bloggers was, with a few hours of research, able to inform himself quite fully on the relevant players and issues. And yet major news services, writing for millions, can't bring themselves to do the same even though they will shape public opinion on Somalia.

Nat-Wu said...

Well, I would say it was more than a "few" hours, but yeah, basically. But hey, if the AP can't do the job, people can just come here and find out what they need to know!

Steve said...

Good job. It's nice to see sober analysis. Check out my postings on the topic of the overall benign nature of the Islamic courts at and

Nat-Wu said...

Thanks for visiting. I'm glad to see that other people are actually talking about the issue.