September 1, 2011

Little Coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa

% of newshole
East African Famine 0.17
Sudan Conflict 0.07
Ivory Coast Conflict 0.06
Nigeria Violence 0.02
Somalia Violence 0.01

0.2% – News coverage focused on the Famine In Africa in 2011

In the Horn of African 12 million people are facing a hunger crisis and nearly a half million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and disease. On July 20 the United Nations officially declared famine in the region—the first officially declared famine since 1985 and the first significant food crisis in three years.

But this famine has received very little attention in the U.S. mainstream media. In July and August the food crisis has accounted for just 0.7% of the newshole. Year-to-date the crisis registers at just 0.2%.

The little coverage here highlights a trend in media attention to Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes the Horn of Africa as well as other regions.

The ethnic conflict in Sudan, for example, and the succession of Southern Sudan from the north has accounted for just 0.1% of the newshole this year, according to PEJ’s News Coverage Index. The civil war in the Ivory Coast and the arrest of President Laurant Gbagbo accounted for just 0.1% this year.

The ethnic violence following the 2011 election in Nigeria as well as economic crisis has accounted for less than 0.1% of the newshole. And the violence in Somalia by al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab, has accounted for less than 0.1% of the newshole this year.

The Tunisian protests, on the other hand, led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, accounted for 0.3% of the newshole, or three-times the coverage.  And the uprising in Egypt that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak have accounted for a full 3.8% of the newshole this year.

Tricia Sartor of PEJ