“For all that it deals with events and realities…news has a prodigious capacity for myth-making. Like a huckster on the high street it hawks its wares regardless of their quality.”

Former BBC Correspondent Martin Bell [1]

It was Alexander Pope who observed that “a little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain.” [2] The Roman writer Publilius Syrus noted that it is “better to be ignorant of a matter than half know it”. Never have such warnings been more applicable than in studies of the media coverage of the Darfur crisis.

It should not have been unexpected. It is a simple matter of fact that a significant amount of the international press coverage of Sudan over the past decade has been questionable. Disinformation and propaganda have been an ever-present particular feature of most, if not all, wars over the past 50 years or so. Sudan in general and Darfur in particular have been no exception. The international news media have been an obvious target for those who wish to manipulate the way in which conflicts are presented. This is for obvious reasons. International “reporting” is in many instances the only image many outside observers will have of the country itself. International press coverage is also sometimes the only material many commentators and even legislators will have in mind when addressing issues either directly or indirectly related to Sudan. Journalists have in many instances managed to get away with some appalling reporting on Sudan. There has been a mixture of simply bad journalism and misinformation. The latest examples of questionable journalism have focused upon the war in Darfur.

Speaking in December 2004, Chris Mullins, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, noted the dysfunctional nature of much of the media coverage of the Darfur conflict. After viewing a British television news item on Darfur, he stated that the news item was “the first one to acknowledge there are actually two sides in this dispute” [3] – that is to say 18 months after the war had begun. It is a sad reality that Mullins’ comments can be applied virtually across the board with regard to media coverage of the Darfur crisis.

It is worth placing the reporting on Darfur into context. Over the past decade or so the international news media have carried a number of deeply questionable claims about Sudan. These have included allegations that Sudan possessed and manufactured weapons of mass destruction. These were, of course, particularly grave allegations to have been made. On 20 August 1998, the Clinton Administration launched cruise missile attacks on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum alleging that the plant was making chemical weapons as part of Osama bin Laden’s infrastructure of international terrorism. The Clinton Administration made several, widely-reported, claims about Sudan and the factory – all of which were repeated in the media. Every one proved to have been false. After carefully assessing the claims The Observer newspaper spoke of “a catalogue of US misinformation, glaring omissions and intelligence errors about the function of the plant”. [4] These claims are now accepted internationally to have been unfounded.

It has also “reported” that Khartoum had used weapons of mass destruction in the course of the then civil war in southern Sudan. The allegations were also shown to have been baseless. In this instance anti-government rebels claimed in July 1999 that Sudanese armed forces had used chemical weapons in attacks on their forces in southern Sudan. [5] These claims were repeated by several British newspapers as well as the BBC. They were also carried in other international media. [6] The United Nations investigated the claims and arranged for detailed tests which “indicated no evidence of exposure to chemicals”. [7]

One of the other widely-publicised sensationalist claims about Sudan has been allegations of government-sponsored “slavery” and “slave trade” in Sudan. As “proof” for this, a great number of newspaper articles “reported” instances of “slave redemption” in which alleged “slaves” were said to have been “bought” back from “slave traders”. These sorts of claims began to be exposed as questionable where not simply false as early as 1999. [8] In February 2002, in an unprecedented international focus, and as the result of some excellent investigative journalism, The Irish Times, London’s Independent on Sunday, ‘The Washington Post and ‘International Herald Tribune, chose to publish, or republish, articles definitively exposing the deep fraud and corruption at the heart of claims of “slave redemption” in Sudan. [9] The Washington Post reported that in numerous documented instances “the slaves weren’t slaves at all, but people gathered locally and instructed to pretend they were returning from bondage”. [10] The Independent on Sunday reported that it was able to “reveal that ‘redemption’ has often been a carefully orchestrated fraud”. [11] The Irish Times reported “According to aid workers, missionaries, and even the rebel movement that facilitates it, slave redemption in Sudan is often an elaborate scam.” [12]

Interestingly, allegations of chemical weapons use have surfaced within the Darfur conflict. In September 2004, the conservative German daily newspaper Die Welt published allegations that the Sudanese and Syrian governments were using chemical weapons in Darfur. [13] The article had a specific racial tone as the article claimed that the weapons were to be tested on “the black African population”. The newspaper claimed western intelligence services as its source. Similar allegations surfaced at the same time in Norwegian state media. The story was soon discounted, by, amongst others, the American government and German intelligence, but not before it had been was picked up and republished by major news agencies and by the media world-wide. [14] German intelligence sources blamed the fabrication on Sudanese exile groups. [15] The British government subsequently stated that it had “seen no credible evidence” to support the allegation. [16] The Norwegian variant on the story was sourced back to the Sudan Liberation Army through Norwegian People’s Aid, an anti-Khartoum organisation with a history of fabricating propaganda stories – including earlier disproved “chemical weapons” claims in southern Sudan. [17]

“Genocide” in Darfur
The latest sensationalist claim has been “genocide” in Darfur. The international media has carried a number of reports alleging “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” in Darfur. This has been despite the fact that such claims have been challenged by seasoned aid groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières, and only really advanced by a politically opportunistic Bush Administration.

The international media’s coverage of the Darfur conflict has been self-evidently lacklustre. The very dynamics of the conflict has not even been adequately analysed or reported. Most coverage has taken at face value rebel claims that they are fighting against underdevelopment and marginalisation in Darfur. As we have seen this has been challenged by fiercely antigovernment critics such as Ghazi Suleiman. Neither Turabi’s name, nor the Islamist involvement, has featured much in media coverage of the conflict.

Professor Moeller’s clinical description of how the media handles crises is instructive - a description that fits the way in which the Darfur crisis has been presented:

“Almost every night, [the crisis] will become a front-page, top-of-the-news story. Print and television reporters, photographers and camerapeople flood the area. At this point, the story is grossly simplified: clear victims, villains and heroes are created; language such as ‘harrowing,’ ‘hellish,’ ‘unprecedented,’ ‘single worst crisis in the world,’ [crisis] of the century’ is employed; huge numbers are tossed off frequently and casually, with few references to sources…[The crisis] dominates coverage of international news, and for a while even domestic events. It becomes the focus of presidential and congressional debate and action. It becomes a cultural and moral bellwether for the nation…By this stage, the story has become a runaway engine…The success of that morality play story line rests on the fact that it is easy to understand and appreciate…The set piece is ideal material for television and superficial print coverage.” [18]

Moeller additionally cites one disaster reporter as noting that there is “a common period in disaster reporting – exaggerating the immediate and long-term impact. We will always gravitate towards the largest kill count…We will always speculate…the cosmic consequence.” [19]

That there has been superficial and exaggerated press coverage is clear. That many news reports have accepted rebel propaganda is unsurprising. Much of this reporting has been done by journalists who were taken on guided tours by the rebels in Darfur. [20] Only one of these journalists subsequently contacted the government of Sudan stating that he wished to visit government areas to give the government’s position. That the reporting by these journalists in large part reflected claims made by the rebels is self-evident. This despite the fact that, as also noted by Reuters, “it is hard to independently verify claims by government or rebels in Darfur.” [21] It is also clear that some of these journalists are long-time anti-Sudan activists (such as Julie Flint) who have previously made several questionable claims about events in Sudan. [22] And, in addition, one has those journalists who wish to present one side as good and the other as bad. An example of this was the Scottish Sunday Herald’s August 2004 article “And With Darfur’s Rebels”, which actually used the phrase “guys in white hats” with regard to the SLA. [23]

The media would once again appear to have gone for the sensationalist story in Sudan – at the expense of professionalism. Andrew Buckoke, a British foreign correspondent who has written for The Guardian, The Economist, The Observer, The Financial Times and The Times, has provided an insight into the mindset – even on non-controversial issues – which should be borne in mind when reading claims of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” in Darfur. He cited the example of the sensationalistic coverage of the floods in Sudan in August 1988. Torrential rain on the headwaters of both the White Nile and Blue Niles had resulted in intense press prediction and speculation that Khartoum “would disappear under a gigantic whirlpool”. [24] Buckoke was sent to cover this impending disaster and found there was none to report on: “The Nile never did burst its banks, nor was any significant damage due to the downpour evident in central Khartoum.” [25] This, however, did not stop “the story still being taken very seriously in the outside world, and I was rebuked by a telex demanding more drama and detail”. Despite their being a non-event, “the floods were the biggest story out of black Africa”. [26] Buckoke questions the international coverage: “How did the coverage…get so distorted and imbalanced, as they so often do when Africa is involved?” [27] He also notes that “the whole story was out of control. Journalists, aid agency workers, the government and donors had been caught from the beginning in a self-sustaining spiral of exaggeration.” [28]

It can be argued that Andrew Buckoke’s use of the term “self-sustaining spiral of exaggeration” applies equally to sensationalistic claims of “genocide” in Darfur. What has happened there is bad enough. Given the expected story-line set by editors it would be a brave journalist indeed who returned from a week of milling around in the sands of Chad or along the border with Sudan without filing the some sort of story of “ethnic” cleaning or genocide. This does not, of course, in any way excuse the unprofessional way in which Sudan continues to be covered by many journalists. Given the track record of questionable claims about Sudan, one would have expected professional journalists to have taken a much more cautious approach to events in Darfur.

There are numerous instances of poor journalism on Darfur. The following are a few examples.

‘The New York Times’: Questionable Journalism
In the course of 2004, The New York Times published a number of articles alleging that genocide is taking place in Darfur. The newspaper has also published articles alleging that there has been systematic “ethnic cleansing”. [29] Mark Lacey, for example, has claimed that the “Janjaweed” have been purging “villages of their darker-skinned black African inhabitants”. [30] Nicholas Kristof, a former editor of The New York Times turned columnist, has repeatedly claimed genocide in Darfur, asserting that the “Arabs” have been targeting “blacks”, citing claims that “The Arabs want to get rid of anyone with black skin…there are no blacks left.” [31] In another article Kristof alleges that “black Africans have been driven from their homes by lighter-skinned Arabs in the Janjaweed”. [32] These sorts of claims are particularly inflammatory and very questionable. (The racial dimension of their claims would also be called into question by subsequent New York Times articles with titles such as such as “In Sudan, No Clear Difference between Arab and African”. [33]) The discrepancy between simple factual Darfurian realities and the “reporting” and claims of people such as Kristof and Lacey exposes either poor reporting (of very sensitive issues) or reporting that has been purposefully skewed. Either is simply unacceptable. It is perhaps worth noting that Kristof’s reporting on other issues has been repeatedly criticised for its shortcomings. His coverage of Africa in general was described as cynical and distorted and “bizarre” by African academics. [34] It should also be noted that Kristof is no stranger to blunders, managing to get his newspaper sued over claims made in the wake of the post-September 11 anthrax scare when he erroneously pointed the finger at an American scientist as being responsible. [35]

Even The New York Times, while blithely claiming genocide has admitted at the same time that “it is impossible to travel in Darfur to verify these claims”. [36] Despite these circumstances, Lacey, Kristof and others have rushed in to make the most serious claims imaginable. And, as we have seen above, claims of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” in Darfur have also been categorically contradicted by seasoned humanitarian groups with hands-on experience of events within Darfur such as Médecins Sans Frontières. Dr Mercedes Taty, MSF’s deputy emergency director, was one of those aid workers who have gone on record to refute allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Amazingly enough, Nicholas Kristof has actually quoted from Dr Taty in one of his articles claiming genocide in Darfur. He apparently did not ask the most obvious question, or if he did he chose to ignore the answer. He obviously thought that his one or two day visits to the Chad border, running after third- and fourth-hand stories provided him with a better picture than someone such as Dr Taty, and MSF, whose thousands of workers have worked at the heart of the affected area for over a year.

Kristof’s apparent disinclination to even discuss MSF’s reservations is a strange one journalistically. As Professor Moeller has noted: “The central heroes of [crisis] are the western aid workers.” She quotes a commentator as saying that “The age of the ‘French doctors’” has come. [37] Moeller also notes: “In contrast to the victims, the relief workers are extensively quoted. As the on-scene mediators in the [crisis] world, their comments are used both as the ‘deus ex machina’ of the stories and as providers of verbal ‘color.’ Their words give the political and social context and much of the anecdotal fillip.” [38] In the words of Michael Maren, a journalist and former aid worker cited by Moeller, journalism can become “impervious to facts that do not fit the popular story line”. [39]

For all its sensationalism and inaccuracies, Kristof’s reporting succeeded in adversely influencing thinking within the United States. Foreign Affairs magazine, for example, noted that “[t]he genocide debate took off in March 2004, after New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a number of articles making the charge.” These were said to have “stimulated…calls for action from an unlikely combination of players – Jewish-American, African-American, liberal, and religious-conservative constituencies.” [40] The lessons of previous mistakes have clearly not been learnt. Professor Susan Moeller has stated that “conventional wisdom” has it, as Senator Paul Simon wrote in 1994, that “The media brought the disaster of Somalia into our living rooms. The American people and our government were moved to action.” [41] It is, of course, now widely accepted that the American intervention in Somalia had disastrous consequences – for the Somali people, for American prestige and for American foreign policy.

‘The Washington Post’: A Recruiting Sergeant for al-Qaeda?
The Washington Post’s editorial stance on Darfur has been both remarkably shallow and sensationalist – never a good combination. In a series of editorials in the course of 2004, the newspaper repeatedly described events in Darfur as genocide. [42] Its June 7 2004 editorial, “300,000 Deaths Foretold”, for example, merely echoed, and in some instances updated, much of the misinformation that has previously so clouded perceptions of Sudan. In some instances it was simply untruthful. The editorial sought to draw parallels between events in Darfur and the recently concluded civil war in southern Sudan. It additionally attempted to compare the situation in Darfur with Rwanda or even Cambodia. These attempts – which are little more than crude opportunism - were all the more shameful given that they come from a newspaper of record.

The editorial claimed genocide and ethnic cleansing in Darfur. In attempting to make its case, The Washington Post has made assertions that are at best very questionable where not simply untruthful. It claimed that “almost no foreign aid workers operated in the region” – this despite the fact that there were over a thousand present at that time. A prime example of The Washington Post’s crassness was its claim that “Sudan’s government is delighted with the war’s ‘slaughter’”. The editorial staff had not even asked of themselves the most elementary of questions: who benefits from the Darfur situation? Khartoum has not. The Zaghawa and Fur communities have not. The only people to benefit from Darfur are those Islamist extremists who succeeded in drawing Khartoum into a war in the region, and those within the anti-Sudan lobby who have not hesitated to continue with their long-standing propaganda war against Sudan.

The Washington Post was also caught out in more lies. Much of the debate about Darfur now evolves around the need to provide war-affected communities in Darfur and refugees in Chad with humanitarian assistance. In trying to argue that Khartoum wants 300,000 of its own civilians to starve, The Washington Post claimed that in “its long war against the country’s southern rebels” the government has used “starvation” as a weapon stating that Khartoum’s response to humanitarian access was “always late and inadequate”. This could not be a more blatant lie. Humanitarian relief to the war-affected parts of southern Sudan is provided by Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). OLS began in 1989 under the auspices of the United Nations, and with the full approval and cooperation of Sudanese government. OLS was unprecedented in as much as it was the first time that a government had agreed to the delivery of assistance by outside agencies to rebel-controlled parts of its own country, something confirmed by The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance: “It was the first time a government agreed on a violation of its own national sovereignty by accepting that humanitarian organizations aid rebel-held areas. Further, the negotiators decided that non-government areas would be supplied from Lokichoggio, Kenya, consequently establishing the first legitimate cross-border operation for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.” [43] As The Guardian also observed: “Governments involved in civil wars usually refuse to authorise cross-border feeding.” [44] Far from using “starvation” against southern Sudan, independent observers confirmed that the number of Khartoum-approved OLS feeding sites in southern Sudan served by air grew within five years from ten in 1992 to over 200 sites by the end of 1997 - a twenty-fold increase. [45] Each and every one of these sites had been agreed upon by the Sudanese government. Khartoum could have refused to increase the number from the initial ten. There was also a similar increase in the number of approved non-governmental organisations operating within southern Sudan. There had only been six or seven NGOs working in the southern sector in 1992. [46] OLS brings together over 40 non-governmental organisations, including the UN World Food Programme and UNICEF. It is additionally worth noting that these increases in food delivery sites were also agreed by the Khartoum authorities despite it being widely known that the southern rebels were diverting very sizeable amounts of this aid for its own uses. [47] Far from starving civilians, there were unanimous United Nations resolutions acknowledging “with appreciation” Khartoum’s cooperation with agreements and arrangements facilitating “relief operations”. [48]

In projecting its claims of genocide in Darfur, The Washington Post’s figures for those who have died as a consequence of the crisis have grown exponentially. In February 2004, Amnesty International cited the United Nations figure of 3,000 deaths. [49] By August 2004, The Washington Post was citing 80,000 deaths. [50] In October 2004, the death toll is variable with figures ranging from 50,000 to 70,000 to 300,000 – a figure provided by established anti-Sudan activist Eric Reeves, described disingenuously as “an independent Sudan watcher”. [51] By November 2004, the figure is unquestioningly said to be 300,000. [52] The Washington Post’s choice of Reeves, one of the most jaundiced and inaccurate commentators on Sudan and the description of his figure of 300,000 as the “best” estimate available, is revealing.

To make its case The Washington Post has also had to ignore the fact that the rebel movements have been at the heart of so much of the violence, and disruption of essential food aid deliveries, over the past several months. Indeed, when it is forced to mention repeated rebel attacks in November and December, the editorial line is that the murder of policemen and aid workers, and attacks on aid convoys, are little more than a rebel cry for help. [53]

The Washington Post’s editorial position has also neglected to note any Islamist involvement in the Darfur crisis, accepting rebel claims about “marginalisation” being the reason for the conflict. Interestingly, The Washington Post editorialists called on European countries to militarily intervene in Darfur, stating that “the United States is overcommitted militarily in Iraq and elsewhere”. The United States is overcommitted for the simple reason that it is mired in increasingly unsuccessful military interventions in two other Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. These interventions have served to galvanise anti-American forces, armed and unarmed, across the political spectrum within those countries and internationally, as well as attracting vast numbers of al-Qaeda fighters. Western military intervention in Sudan, another Muslim country, would have a similar effect. Simply put, The Washington Post’s editorial stance has put propaganda before both people in need and national security.

The London ‘Sunday Times’ Magazine: A Study in Inept Journalism:
On 11 July 2004, the London Sunday Times magazine carried an article written by AA Gill, on the situation in Darfur. Written by someone better known as a restaurant critic, the article was described as the “first of our series of stirring reports from around the world” and featured a picture of Gill swathed in a head-scarf on the magazine cover. Entitled “Welcome to Hell”, the article demonstrated almost every facet of the poor journalism that has characterised media coverage of the Darfur crisis. His first piece of foreign reporting, Gill rushed at the Darfur issue with all the enthusiasm of a cub reporter - and made all the mistakes one would have expected from one.

Gill chose the easy option on Darfur, echoing sensationalist claims, stating for example that “there are rumours of war, of genocide, of ethnic cleansing” before moving on to assert that there is “ethnic cleansing and genocide”, and then concluding that the Sudanese government is a “blatantly racist, genocidal regime”. Gill’s inept journalism, based on a short visit to the Chadian side of the border, was illustrated by his attempt to produce evidence for the “genocide”. As proof of genocide and ethnic cleansing Gill pointed to the fact that in the refugee camps he visited “all the refugees are black: there are no Arabs here.” Here Gill made his first mistake. As we have seen, both “African” and “Arab” in Darfur are black. Any number of antigovernment sources have shown Gill’s claims to be dangerously lazy racial shorthand. Perhaps Gill was expecting “Arabs” to be Omar Sharif lookalikes. The discrepancy between simple Darfurian realities and the “reporting” and claims of people such as Gill exposes either poor reporting or reporting that has been purposefully skewed. Either is simply unacceptable: in Gill’s case it was all too obvious that it is merely poor journalism.

AA Gill chose to make serious claims of genocide in Darfur - this despite the unambiguous observations of groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières. This was even more surprising as what little “front-line” colour there was in Gill’s report came out of visits to MSF camps and facilities on the border. While visiting their camps, Gill seemingly neglected to ask MSF for their view of claims of genocide. Gill would have also come across these views had he done even a basic internet search. He opted, however, for easier, more sensationalist and less demanding story-lines.

Gill was equally strident in his claims that humanitarian access to Darfur is being blocked by the Khartoum authorities, claiming: “invariably the promised visas for observers and NGOs never materialise...There are 500 applications from humanitarian agencies alone gathering dust.” This claim would come as a surprise to aid workers in Darfur. Mr Jan Egeland, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (and a fierce critic of the government), stated in early July - a week before Gill’s article - that he was surprised to see claims that aid was not reaching Darfur: “It is strange to see that there is still the notion in the world that nothing is happening and we’re completely blocked from accessing Darfur. We are reaching some 800,000 people at the moment with some sort of assistance and food.” [54] Gill may also have been interested that three weeks before his Sunday Times magazine article, Mr Kevin Kennedy, the outgoing acting UN Humanitarian

Coordinator for Sudan, stated that visas were generally being granted within 48 hours and that “people are experiencing very few visa difficulties”. [55] Gill's claims were also somewhat dented by the United Nations announcement one week prior to his article that two million children in Darfur had been immunised against measles. [56] This was carried out by 2,000 health teams made up of World Health Organisation, UNICEF and other humanitarian workers - all of whom would presumably have needed visas of some sort.

AA Gill’s gullibility appeared to know no bounds. He rounded off his lacklustre piece on Darfur by repeating a few more stale and discredited claims about Sudan. He states, for example, that Khartoum has “attempted to develop chemical and nuclear weapons”. This will come as news to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Clinton Administration’s farcical 1998 cruise missile attack on the al-Shifa aspirin factory in Khartoum and its subsequent inability to substantiate its claims (and Gill’s) about Sudan and chemical weapons was painful and public. [57]

The Independent’ on Sudan: Hypocrisy and Hype
The Independent, a British newspaper, has over the years established itself as a newspaper which showed a genuine interest in Africa and African issues. Sadly, its coverage of the Darfur crisis has demonstrated every shortcoming associated with Western media coverage of the continent: inaccurate reporting, sensationalism, prejudice and hypocrisy. In a mirror image of The Washington Post, The Independent’s editorial line has claimed that events in Darfur were genocide and has called for military intervention. The newspaper enthusiastically proclaimed Colin Powell’s 9 September 2004 claim of genocide in Darfur with a banner-page headline, “Genocide”, the following day. [58] Given that The Independent has hitherto been very cautious about believing anything claimed by Colin Powell it is very surprising that it unreservedly accepted at face value Powell’s claim of genocide in Darfur, let alone to have given his assertion such prominence in the paper. [59]

This leads to the first surprise about this newspaper’s embracing of claims of genocide. Not many months previously, The Independent had been at the forefront of opposition to any American military intervention anywhere, and was particularly prominent in the opposition to the American-led war in Iraq. It published several editorials and numerous comment pieces and news items critical of the war. It warned about American claims leading up to the Iraq war. [60] It reported on the horrific nature of the American-led war in Iraq. [61] It reported on the gradual disintegration of the American reasons for invading Iraq in the first place. [62] And it has reported on the consequences of the American invasion of Iraq. [63] The Independent has also asserted that President Bush and Colin Powell led Britain into an illegal war in Iraq. [64] Yet, the newspaper’s editorialists appear to be blind to the fact that in their unquestioning acceptance of clearly questionable American claims about another Muslim country – and in their calls for military intervention they have reduced The Independent to nothing more than a mindless cheerleader for action that could be every bit as badly thought-out and disastrous as Iraq.

It is worth noting that The Independent was very critical of Prime Minister Tony Blair for supporting the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq. It has claimed he was suckered into doing so by untrue American claims about the country. [65] It is ironic that with regard to American claims about Darfur, unlike Mr Blair – who has been far more cautious and better informed about the issue on this occasion – it is The Independent that appears to have been suckered by Washington.

In any instance, the case made by The Independent to support its claim of genocide and call for military intervention is flimsy. The editorial which accompanied its “Genocide” front-page banner headline, for example, claimed that “By any civilised standards, the slaughter of 50,000 people constitutes genocide” and pressed for military intervention. [66] Given that the figure cited was a controversial statistical extrapolation, and included those who may have died from malnutrition and disease, the use of the term “slaughter” was immediately questionable, as was the inference that any war in which 50,000 may have died automatically qualifies as “genocide”. The intellectual and linguistic sloppiness of The Independent’s editorial team is manifest. This has not stopped it making repeated claims of genocide in Darfur.

Johann Hari, a regular columnist with The Independent, has led the newspaper’s attempts to describe events in Darfur as genocide. In so doing he has made repeated references to, amongst other things, the film “Schindler’s List” and the Rwandan holocaust. [67] Indeed, in his enthusiasm, he has trivialised concern for the Nazi Holocaust: “If we don’t intervene in Darfur, you can toss your tear-stained copies of ‘Schindler’s List’ on to a bonfire.” [68] Amazingly enough, however, in his article of 23 April 2004 claiming genocide, he quotes from one Mercedes Tatay [sic], whom he describes as “a Darfur-based physician with the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres”, as giving “a glimpse into the state of a country where journalists are being denied access”. This is, of course, Mercedes Taty, the deputy emergency director of Médecins Sans Frontières, someone who had indeed been based in Darfur, and who had been interviewed on 16 April by MSNBC. Hari cites Taty’s comments about the destroyed villages in Darfur, but conveniently ignores the fact that she unambiguously said events in Darfur did not constitute genocide – and that there was no systematic targeting of one ethnic group or another: Taty also said the crisis could not be described as ethnic cleansing. Hari’s article was one more example of appalling, two-faced journalism on Darfur. In his enthusiasm to claim genocide in Darfur, however, Hari actually compares Darfur to the Holocaust, Nazi death camps and IBM. [69] Unsurprisingly, given this sort of word-blindness, Hari’s Darfur articles regurgitate all the standard propaganda lines on the issue. He writes about “racist Sudanese militias” engaging in “attacks against black people”, and their disruption of “basic food and medicine supplies”. [70] He has claimed that “the Arab majority is continuing to rape and slaughter the black minority”. [71] And just as the United Nations tells us that things are getting better, the situation has stabilised, war-affected communities are being fed, Hari, once again claiming genocide, informs his readers that “the situation…is getting worse”. [72]

Hari’s skewing of the reality of events in Darfur complemented the newspaper’s general Darfur coverage. Despite having published a glowing account of Médecins Sans Frontières, The Independent’s editorialists conveniently overlooked MSF’s views on claims of genocide in Darfur. [73] It has also published untruths. In January 2005, for example, it alleged that the charity Save the Children “was expelled from the country last year”. [74] The reality was that Save the Children had voluntarily left Darfur following the murder by rebels of four of their staff. This had even been reported on by its own correspondents.[75] The Independent’s editorialising about the murder of aid workers also demonstrated its slant. The newspaper had ignored the fact that the Darfur rebels had murdered a number of aid workers – including the four Save the Children personnel, had abducted dozens of others and had repeatedly attacked aid convoys over several months in 2004. It chose to editorialise when another aid worker was killed in cross-fire during an engagement between government forces and rebels. Its editorial then accused the government of the “deliberate targeting of aid workers” and inferred that the government had killed the four Save the Children workers, thereby forcing the organisation out of Darfur. [76]

It is still puzzling how The Independent finds itself in the lonely position of enthusiastically articulating American claims about genocide in Darfur – claims which even the Americans appear not to take too seriously – in the face of precisely the sort of concerns it raised about previous American assertions about Iraq: widespread international unease about the American claims, the horror of the military intervention that would be needed and the unpredictable outcome and legality of any such intervention. The question it has not posed or answered is that given the chaos that we now see in Iraq, whether the people of Darfur would be any better off with a similar intervention in their homeland. Would Darfur – and Sudan and possibly some of her neighbours – merely become the latest extension of Afghanistan or Somalia, a failed state with no international humanitarian presence?

BBC Panorama, “The New Killing Fields”, 14 November 2004
British foreign minister Mullins has also been critical of BBC coverage of the Darfur crisis: “I continually hear reports of the situation in Darfur, often on the BBC, as if only one party – the Government of Sudan – were involved…we do ourselves no service in improving our understanding of what is happening there if we continually pretend that it is all due to the Government of Sudan. That is not the case.” [77] “The New Killing Fields”, a BBC Panorama programme, presented by American reporter Hilary Andersson and screened on 14 November 2004, provided clear evidence of this poor reporting. The programme deviated significantly from the journalistic standards normally associated with the flagship Panorama series and violated the BBC’s own Producers’ Guidelines. These guidelines declare that “[a]ccurate, robust, independent, and impartial, journalism is the DNA of the BBC” and called for people to be able to rely on the BBC for “unbiased and impartial reporting and analysis to help them make sense of events; and where a debate can take place in which relevant and significant voices are heard”.

It goes without question that any journalistic investigation of allegations of genocide must be thoroughly professional and objective. Anything less is simply unacceptable. The BBC’s “The New Killing Fields”, fell considerably short in both respects. The thrust of the programme was clear. It argued a case for genocide in Darfur – the title of the programme made that clear from the start - but in making its case it presented an incomplete and questionable picture of events to support its assertions.

Ms Andersson’s report essentially cut and pasted footage in an attempt to put her case for genocide in Darfur. This undermined the report’s chronological integrity from the very beginning of the programme. It is a simple fact that the bulk of the actions that framed the tragedy of Darfur happened up to April 2004. The April ceasefire and the deployment of thousands of policemen in Darfur essentially stabilised the situation in Darfur. Ms Anderson reported from Darfur during this earlier period and did not then assert that genocide had taken place. It is hard to see how not having seen or reported “genocide” then, that a subsequent visit to Darfur during a period of comparative stability during which the UN and other aid agencies were able to reach most if not all of those Darfurian communities in need of humanitarian assistance, Ms Andersson was then able to insinuate that genocide has/is taking place in Darfur. Ms Andersson’s attempt to update her coverage of Darfur from earlier in 2004 did not produce anything remotely supportive of her assertions of genocide in Darfur. By way of evidence Ms Andersson produced interviews and a Sudan Liberation Army rebel videotape which – even if taken at face value – point to the sorts of appalling human rights abuses that are tragically a hall-mark of many African and European civil wars. However much Ms Andersson and Panorama may have sought to package the suffering of those she interviewed; it was simply not evidence of “genocide”.

While there were several examples of questionable and lacklustre journalism in the BBC programme, two issues stood out. The first point is that there was a clear failure to reflect “all significant strands of opinion” as stipulated in the BBC’s Producers’ Guidelines. The guidelines state: “Openness and independence of mind is at the heart of practising accuracy and impartiality. We will strive to be fair and open minded by reflecting all significant strands of opinion, and by exploring the range and conflict of views. Testing a wide range of views with the evidence is essential if we are to give our audiences the greatest possible opportunity to decide for themselves on the issues of the day.” With regard to “accuracy” and “achieving accuracy”, the Guidelines state that “The BBC must be accurate. Research for all programmes must be thorough. We must be prepared to check, cross-check and seek advice, to ensure this. Wherever possible we should gather information first-hand by being there ourselves or, where that is not possible, by talking to those who were. Accuracy can be difficult to achieve. It is important to distinguish between first and second-hand sources.” With regard to “impartiality in general”, the BBC’s Producers’ Guidelines clearly states that: “No significant strand of thought should go unreflected or under represented on the BBC.” The Panorama programme clearly did not reflect “all significant strands of opinion” on allegations of genocide in Darfur. Ms Andersson also did not talk to “those who were [there]”. Her programme pointedly ignored the views of the most respected, independent, vocal and accessible authority on the issue of genocide in general and allegations of genocide in Darfur in particular – the views of Médecins Sans Frontières, the biggest humanitarian aid agency present in Darfur.

There were therefore several question-marks over this BBC programme. Was Ms Andersson or the BBC aware of Médecins Sans Frontières’ stance with regard to allegations of genocide in Darfur? Why were the clearly relevant views of Médecins Sans Frontières ignored in her report? Why did Ms Andersson not interview Médecins Sans Frontières about allegations of genocide in Darfur? Did she really believe that MSF’s view on the issue of genocide was irrelevant or not significant? If she was not aware of MSF’s position would that not indicate inadequate background research on this grave issue? It is all the more surprising that Ms Andersson did not approach Médecins Sans Frontières given that she filmed MSF facilities in Darfur. Why did Panorama chose to use MSF as a prop and not a commentator? Could this have been because Ms Anderson knew they may well have contradicted the core of her report? Similarly, it is strange that while interviewing African Union officials in Darfur, she pointedly chose not to ask their position with regard to allegations of genocide in Darfur. Like Médecins Sans Frontières, the African Union has a presence in Darfur, albeit subsequent to that of MSF, and, as we have seen above, its position that there is no genocide in Darfur is a clear one. Given that Ms Andersson self-servingly interviewed African Union officials about allegations of human rights abuses, why did she not interview the African Union about allegations of genocide in Darfur? Was she aware of the African Union’s stance with regard to allegations of genocide in Darfur? If she was not aware of the African Union’s position, would that not indicate inadequate background research on this serious issue?

Secondly, the BBC’s Producers’ Guidelines note the importance of using “accurate language”, stating that “it is not sufficient that we get our facts right. We must use language fairly. That means avoiding exaggeration. We must not use language inadvertently so as to suggest value judgements, commitment or lack of objectivity.” The title “The New Killing Fields” was simply unacceptable. They are words that directly refer to the genocide in Kampuchea in the 1970s – and were the title of a well-known film about the Kampuchean genocide. The absence of a question mark in the title was even more insidious. The use of this title implied precisely the sort of value judgement and lack of objectivity warned against in the ‘Producers’ Guidelines’.

The Producers’ Guidelines additionally refer to “hurtful or inaccurate stereotypes” and under a section headed “misleading images” states that “Programmes must not allow offensive assumptions or generalisations in scripted material, and interviewees who express them need to be challenged wherever possible.” The BBC programme resorted to inaccurate stereotyping regarding Darfur, repeatedly referring either to “black Africans” or “Arabs”. Ms Andersson referred, for example, to “black African rebels”, “black Africans”, “black African civilians”, “African families”, “black African population”, “black African civilian areas” etc. She also referred to “Arab militias”, “Arab-looking” and “the Arabs”. In so doing Ms Anderson wittingly or unwittingly perpetuated the patently inaccurate stereotype that the conflict in Darfur has been a racial one in which light-skinned “Arab” tribes have been engaged in the “genocide” of black “African” tribes. These sorts of claims are selfevidently inflammatory and very questionable. Ms Andersson may only have spent a short time in Darfur but it cannot have escaped her notice that “Arab” and “African” communities in Darfur are both black – a reality repeatedly confirmed by prominent critics of the Khartoum government.

An American Media Critique of Itself
A September 2004 article in The Village Voice, a liberal New York newspaper, provided one of the most insightful critiques of American news coverage of Darfur. It is worth quoting it at length:

“For news outlets covering the conflict in Sudan, the killings rapes, and razing of villages boils down to one factor – race. The Washington Post and The New York Times have repeatedly characterized attacks by the Arab riders of the government-backed Janjaweed as a war against “black Africans.” The Associated Press has referred to the turmoil in the Darfur region as fighting between Arabs and “ethnic Africans.” Clinging to race as an explain-all theory might make for more readable stories, but it has a central flaw. Many of the Sudanese “Arabs” are as dark as the “ethnic Africans” they are at war with....“If you look at most of the media coverage, you get the impression that Sudan is made up of white people, who are mostly Arabs, attacking black people who aren’t Arab,” says Bill Fletcher, president of TransAfrica Forum. “Some of the Africans in question are Arab, some are not. But they are almost all black – at least the way we understand it. Being Arab is a matter of culture and language. Arabs look all kinds of ways, but you’d never get that impression.”…The narrative of Darfur involves issues of religion, climate, and competition for land…Nuanced and accurate, this kind of explanation has little chance of making it into the morning papers…In much of its coverage [The New York Times] has been sucked in by the siren song of race. An August 20 piece cited “the war in western Sudan, pitting the Arab-led government against black Africans in Darfur.” [78

] In Online Journal’s independent critique of Eric Reeves’ activity on Sudan – he “may be the major source of disinformation (he calls it ‘analysis’) about Darfur” – the gullibility of the American media is also criticised: “How curious that the American media latches on to Mr Reeves’ one-sided falsehoods by way of presented out-of-context half-truths while at the same time ignoring the dispatches of other journalists, including those who have provided eyewitness accounts…Reeves’ pieces altogether comprise of several dozens of pages which have the same basic thrust, yet be utterly ignores the realities of the twodecades- plus Civil War in Sudan and even the more recent background of violence….Reeves’, and by extension, the newspapers that publish him, morality is clearly a one-way morality. In other words, a hypocritical immorality.” Online Journal concludes: “In sum, what the American media has poured down an unsuspecting public’s throat is a hellish brew of selective half-truths, sophistry, and ad hominem pseudo-arguments.” [79] That any newspaper worth that name would publish material by Reeves is surprising. There can be no greater indictment on the ethics and standards of American journalism. Reeves, however, has provided students of the media-propaganda dynamic with a snap-shot of gullibility and culpability. In an attack on “shamefully irresponsible journalism” – that is to say those newspapers and wire services that have not accepted his claims of 400,000 dead in Darfur – Reeves provides us with a list of those “news organizations, editorial boards and journalists” that have. They include “the editorial boards of the Washington Post and Boston Globe; Bloomberg News; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; and experienced Sudan journalists such as Julie Flint.” [80] The Online Journal states that The Washington Post has, indeed, been “a major conduit for Mr Reeves’ misinformation”. [81]

In her study of media reporting and compassion fatigue Professor Moeller has also pointed to other media shortcomings which can also be applied to reporting of the Darfur crisis:

“The media should commit to covering international affairs as they cover domestic crime. If they report on the arrest of a suspect, they have an ethical responsibility to follow up and report on the outcome of that arrest. Was there a plea bargain or a trial? Was the defendant found innocent or guilty? Too often the media cover an international crisis as they would a dramatic incident like an arrest, but then the story is dropped, and the public never learns whether the victim survived or whether the suspect arrested was really the person responsible. The media also too infrequently revisit stories six months or even six years later.” [82]

That the media rarely follows up on its stories was confirmed by former NBC News president Bill Small: “It is rarely done but whenever it is, one finds insights in the follow-up, and, often, the discovery that the original story was either wrong or lacked vital ingredients that the follow-up discovers.” [83] It is worth noting that in the small number of cases when there has been follow-up on sensationalist stories on Sudan - on “slave redemption” and weapons of mass destruction stories, for example - much of the original story, as outlined above, was wrong or deeply questionable.

Coverage of Darfur has led to considerable in-house debate amongst journalists, including several exchanges in the Press Gazette, British journalism’s in-house magazine, with articles questioning the close relationship between the media and nongovernmental organisations in Darfur. One keynote piece asked whether some “kind of deliberate misinformation about the Sudan was being engineered by some…NGOs that had become players in the civil war in the south or had been involved in media manipulation through friendly journalists?” [84] One journalist expressed his concern “that a number of aid and humanitarian organisations continue to hid their own political agenda and a larger number of journalists and media organisations resort to lazy racial stereotyping…Many humanitarian crises caused by civil wars are in inaccessible places and appear too complicated…but it is exactly the duty and function of journalism to highlight the crisis and explain its background.” [85]

Mediocre and sensationalist media coverage of the Darfur crisis has, and will have, a number of deplorable consequences. Firstly, given that the some of the media - journalists such as Kristof - have, for whatever reason, labelled events in Darfur as genocide when there have already been several credible denials that that is the case, there is a clear danger of interest in the issue waning as a result. This is a point made by Professor Moeller: “There is another problem stemming from the labelling of crises by images and metaphors. Once an audience is familiar with a label, it becomes easy to dismiss the event itself by rejecting the label. And that rejection can become a form of compassion fatigue.” [86] Secondly, the media’s role in forcing the US Administration into a declaration of genocide in Darfur - in circumstances in which that description was at best deeply questionable and at worst undeserved - will, in the light of clearer examinations of the issue, have the effect of presenting the United States as once again crying wolf. In the wake of the “weapons of mass destruction” fiasco over Iraq, this “weapons of mass distraction” controversy will ill serve the reputation of the United States. And on a related issue, the mis-labelling of events in Darfur as genocide will - as was the case with American policy after Somalia - make the United States reluctant to recognise genuine instances of genocide in the future. Thirdly, shallow media coverage of Darfur claiming genocide and calling for foreign military intervention would not only have resulted in an Iraqi-style quagmire but would also have had a disastrous knock-on effect on the delicate north-south peace deal in Sudan. [87] The irresponsibility of shallow, and in some cases self-serving, media coverage of Darfur could not be clearer.

Professor Moeller’s warnings about the importance of responsible reporting, and their relevance to Darfur, are equally clear: “Reporting the news is both a political and a moral act. An element of shame is involved in not reporting responsibly and reporting equitably. If the media don’t bear witness truthfully and thoughtfully, the good/bad stereotypes endure and the lack of concern persists.” [88]


1 Martin Bell, Through Gates of Fire: A Journey into World Disorder, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 2003, p.26.
2 Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism.
3 News at 7pm, Channel Four (London), 16 December 2004.
4 “Sudanese Plant ‘Not Built for Weapons’”, The Observer (London), 30 August 1998.
5 “Sudan Rebels Accuse Government of Using Chemical Weapons”, News Article by Reuters, 30 July 1999.
6 See, “Sudan ‘Chemical’ Attack on Rebels”, News Article by BBC Online News, 31 July 1999; “Sudan Denies ‘Chemical’ Attack”, News Article by BBC Online News, 1 August 1999; “UN Teams Investigate Sudan Gas Attack”, News Article by BBC Online News, 5 August 1999; “UN Investigates ‘Chemical’ Attack”, News Article by BBC Online News, 5 August 1999; and “Warning On Sudanese ‘Chemical Attack’”, News Article by BBC Online News, 23 August 1999. For a critique of the British media’s lacklustre reporting of this issue, see Irresponsible Journalism: British Media Reporting of Allegations of Chemical Weapons in Sudan, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, February 2000, available at <>. For a study of
similarly unfounded claims of the use of chemical weapons, see “Chemical Weapons in Sudan”: The Baroness Cox Fiasco, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, June 2000, available at <>.
7 “Note for the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Sudan”, Note delivered by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Philippe Borel, to the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, 17 October, 1999. The on-site inspection by United Nations medical teams had also found no evidence to support the claims made by Norwegian Peoples Aid: see, “UN: No Evidence of Serious Symptoms in Alleged Chemical Attack”, News Article by CNS, 13 August 1999.
8 Richard Miniter, “The False Promise of Slave Redemption”, The Atlantic Monthly, July 1999.
9 “The Great Slave Scam”, The Irish Times, 23 February 2002; “Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners”, The Independent on Sunday (London), 24 February 2002; “Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers’: Rebels Exploit Westerners’ Efforts to Buy Emancipation for Sudanese”, The Washington Post, 26 February 2002; “Sudan Rip-Offs Over Phony Slaves”, International Herald Tribune, 27 February 2002. “Slave Redemption” has also been extensively questioned. See, for example, Richard Miniter, “The False Promise of Slave Redemption”, The Atlantic Monthly, July 1999; The Reality of Slave Redemption, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, March 2001.
10 “Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers’: Rebels Exploit Westerners’ Efforts to Buy Emancipation for Sudanese”, The Washington Post, 26 February 2002.
11 “Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners”, The Independent on Sunday (London), 24 February 2002
12 “The Great Slave Scam”, The Irish Times, 23 February 2002.
13 “Syrien Testet Chemische Waffen an Sudanern”, Die Welt (Berlin), 14 September 2004.
14 See, for example, restating of claims, “Syria Tested Chemical Arms on Civilians in Darfur Region: Press”, Agence France Presse, 14 September 2004, and the discounting of the allegations: “Germany Questions Report Syria Tested Chemical Weapons”, News Article by Deutsche Press Agentur, 16 September 2004, and “US Doubts Report on Syrian Chemical Weapons Testing in Darfur”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 15 September 2004.
15 See, for example, “Sudan Chemical Weapons Allegations from Norway, Germany”, News Article by afrol News, 15 September 2004, available at
16 House of Lords Hansard, Written Parliamentary Answer, 16 November 2004, column WA 130.
17 For a detailed study of Norwegian Peoples Aid see Perpetuating Conflict and Sustaining Repression: Norwegian Peoples Aid and the Militarisation of Aid in Sudan, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, March 2000, available at <>.
18 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.106- 7.
19 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.106.
20 See, for example, “Sudan. A Triumph Marred by Terror”, The Economist, 29 May 2004; The Sunday Telegraph (London), 16 May 2004; “Inside Sudan’s Rebel Army”, Philip Cox, BBC Focus On Africa, 5 April 2004. Cox also appeared on “Inside Africa: Battle for Sudan’s Western Darfur Region”, Report by CNN, 17 April 2004.
21 “Pressure Seen as Key to Ending Sudan’s Western War”, News Article by Reuters, 28 January 2004.
22 See, for example, Questionable Sources, Questionable Journalism: The Observer and Sudan, The British-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, May 2000, available at <>.
23 “And With Darfur’s Rebels”, The Sunday Herald, 8 August 2004. This piece was written by the newpaper’s foreign editor, David Pratt.
24 Andrew Buckoke, Fishing in Africa: A Guide to War and Corruption, Picador, London, 1992, p.42.
25 Ibid., p.44.
26 Ibid., p.43.
27 Ibid., p.44.
28 Ibid., p.44.
29 See, for example, Nicholas Kristof’s, “Will We Say ‘Never Again’ Yet Again?”, ‘The New York Times’, 27 March 2004, “Don’t Let Sudan’s Ethnic
Cleansing Go On”, The New York Times, 25 March 2004
30 Marc Lacey, “In Sudan, Militiamen on Horses Uproot a Million”, The New York Times, 4 May 2004
31 Nicholas Kristof, “Will We Say ‘Never Again’ Yet Again?”, The New York Times, 27 March 2004. See also, for example, repeated claims of genocide in “He Ain’t Heavy…”, The New York Times, 20 October 2004; “Saying No to Killers”, The New York Times, 21 July 2004, “Sudan’s Final Solution”, The New York Times, 19 June 2004, “Dare We Call it Genocide?”, The New York Times, 16 June 2004.
32 Nicholas Kristof, “Cruel Choices”, The New York Times, 14 April 2004.
33 “In Sudan, No Clear Difference between Arab and African”, The New York Times, 3 October 2004.
34 “‘New York Times’ on Africa: A tradition of Pessimism Continues”, News Opinion Piece by Afrol News, 4 June 2003, <>
35 See, for example, “Times Columnist Humiliated”, “Media Monitor”, Accuracy in Media, Washington-DC, 18 August 2004, and “Another Embarrassment for Kristof”, “Media Monitor”, Accuracy in Media, Washington-DC, 17 October 2002. See also, “Another Black Eye for a Times Columnist”, “Media Monitor”, Accuracy in Media, Washington-DC, 11 March 2003.
36 “War in Western Sudan Overshadows Peace in the South”, The New York Times, 17 January 2004. Even long-standing anti-Sudan activists such as Eric Reeves has admitted to making serious allegations about Darfur while at the same time acknowledging that such claims are based on “second-hand accounts” and “fragmentary” accounts: “There have been virtually no first-hand accounts by journalists, and the observations by humanitarian organizations are necessarily scattered” (see, ‘The Accelerating Catastrophe in Darfur (Sudan): Khartoum Fixes Upon a Policy of War and Civilian Destruction’, 24 November 2003).
37 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.108.
38 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.108.
39 Michael Maren, “Feeding a Famine”, ForbesMediaCritic, Volume 2, Number 1, 1994, p.32.
40 “Darfur and the Genocide Debate”, Foreign Affairs, January-February 2005, Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
41 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999;
Senator Paul Simon. “Letters to the Editor”, ForbesMediaCritic, Volume 2, Number 2, 1994-95.
42 See, for example, “As Genocide Unfolds”, The Washington Post, 20 June 2004; “‘Realism’ and Darfur”, The Washington Post, 1 August 2004; “The Killing Continues”, The Washington Post, 17 October 2004; “Diplomacy and Darfur”, The Washington Post, 17 November 2004; “Inaction’s Consequence”, 9 December 2004; “US Shift on Darfur Policy”, The Washington Post, 27 December 2004.
43 Severine Autesserre, “United States ‘Humanitarian Diplomacy’ in South Sudan”, Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, 18 March 2002.
44 “Millions Still in Need in Sudan”, The Guardian (London), 25 April 1998.
45 “Chapter 4: Overview of the Humanitarian Response”, Evaluation of Danish Humanitarian Assistance to Sudan 1992-98, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Copenhagen, 1999.
46 Ibid.
47 See, for example, “Aid for Sudan Ending up with SPLA: Relief Workers”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 21 July 1998.
48 “Emergency Assistance to the Sudan”, UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/1 O, 17 December 1998.
49 Darfur: “Too Many People Killed For No Reason”, Amnesty International, London, February 2004.
50 “‘Realism’ and Darfur”, The Washington Post, 1 August 2004
51 “The Killing Continues”, The Washington Post, 17 October 2004
52 “Diplomacy and Darfur”, The Washington Post, 17 November 2004
53 See, for example, “US Shift on Darfur Policy”, The Washington Post, 27 December 2004.
54 “Sudan: Interview with UN’s Jan Egeland on the Situation in Darfur”, News Article by UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, 5 July 2004, Nairobi.
55 “Sudan: Interview with Kevin Kennedy, Outgoing Acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan”, News Article by UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks, Nairobi, 23 June 2004.
56 “Two Million Darfur Children Get Measles Shot”, Press Release by UNICEF, Geneva, 6 July 2004.
57 See, for example, “The Missiles, the Bungling Pentagon and the Nerve Gas Factory That Never Was”, The Observer (London), 30 August 1998; “Sudan Attack Blamed on US Blunders”, The Times (London) 22 September 1998; “Dubious Decisions on the Sudan”, Editorial, The New York Times, 23 September 1998; “Experts Find No Arms Chemicals at Bombed Sudan Plant”, The New York Times, 9 February 1999.
58 “Genocide”, The Independent (London), 10 September 2004; It also published another front-page banner headline reading, “Darfur: Never Again?”, The Independent (London), 26 January 2005.
59 See, for example, “An Impressive Show; But Mr Powell Failed to Make the Case for a War on Iraq”, Editorial, The Independent (London), 6 February 2003; “Colin Powell and the Failure of US Diplomacy”, The Independent (London), 5 August 2003. The Independent has also reported on proven inaccuracies in Powell’s claims: “Powell Withdraws al-Qa’ida Claim as Hunt for Saddam’s WMD Flags”, The Independent (London), 11 January 2004.
60 See, for example, “A World against the War”, The Independent (London), 19 January 2003; “Stop. Think Listen”, The Independent (London), 26 January 2003 “We Can Still Stop This Blind March to Disaster”, The Independent (London), 2 February 2003; “Revealed: How the Road to War was Paved with Lies”, The Independent (London), 27 April 2003.
61 “Focus: Part One The Human Cost – ‘Does Tony Have Any Idea What the Flies are Like That Feed Off the Dead?’”, The Independent (London), 26 January 2003.
62 “No Weapons, No Programmes: Nothing to Justify the Invasion”, The Independent (London), 7 October 2004; “Lies, Mischief and the Myth of Western
Intelligence Services”, The Independent (London), 28 September 2003; “WMD Just a Convenient Excuse for War, Admits Wolfowitz”, The Independent (London), 30 May 2003; “20 Lies About the War”, The Independent (London), 13 July 2003; “Bit by Bit, How Case for War has Unravelled, Leaving Blair Dangerously Exposed”, The Independent (London), 31 January 2004.
63 “Iraq is Now al-Qa’ida’s Battleground, Say MPs”, The Independent (London), 29 July 2004; “Iraq cannot be Forgotten or Forgiven”, The Independent (London), 16 September 2004; “Is the World Safer Now?”, The Independent (London), 28 January 2005; “The Final Judgement”, The Independent (London), 7 October 2004.
64 See, for example, “The Prime Minister Led Us into an Illegal War”, The Independent (London), 14 October 2004.
65 “Britain Must Not be Suckered a Second Time by the White House”, The Independent (London), 30 May 2003.
66 “The Belated Recognition of Reality in Sudan”, The Independent (London), 10 September 2004.
67 Johann Hari, “Sudan is Another Rwanda in the Making”, The Independent (London), 23 April 2004.
68 Johann Hari, “Would We Have Acted Long Ago if the Victims of this Mass Murder were White?”, The Independent (London), 25 August 2004.
69 “How some of the World’s Biggest Corporations are Fuelling the Genocide in Darfur”, The Independent (London), 19 November 2004.
70 Johann Hari, “Would We Have Acted Long Ago if the Victims of this Mass Murder were White?”, The Independent (London), 25 August 2004.
71 “How Some of the World’s Biggest Corporations are Fuelling the Genocide in Darfur”, The Independent (London), 19 November 2004.
72 Johann Hari, “The Great Betrayal: How the World is Ignoring the Victims of Racist Slaughter”, The Independent (London), 24 December 2004. The UN had said that “by 31 December 2004 the humanitarian situation for most of the 2.2 million people affected is stabilized”: Darfur 120-Day Plan Report September to December 2004, Office of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for the Sudan, Khartoum, January 2005.
73 “First In and Last Out of the World’s Danger Zones”, The Independent (London), 29 July 2004.
74 “Sudan’s Bombing of Darfur ‘Breaks Ceasefire’”, The Independent (London), 28 January 2005.
75 “Charity Pulls Out of Darfur After Murders”, The Independent (London), 21 December 2005; “Aid Workers Killed in Darfur Convoy Attack”, The Independent (London), 14 December 2004.
76 “The Withdrawal of Aid Workers Adds to Darfur’s Despair”, The Independent (London), 23 December 2004.
77 House of Commons Hansard, London, 14 December 2004.
78 Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Black, White, Read. News Ors Are Serving Up the Sudan Conflict as a Race War. Sadly, It’s Not That Simple”, The Village Voice (New York), 28 September 2004.
79 Kersap D. Shekhdar, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Media Coverage of Darfur (But Where Afraid to Ask), Online Journal, 12 September 2004 <>.
80 Eric Reeves, Darfur Mortality Update”, 18 January 2005, <>.
81 Kersap D. Shekhdar, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Media Coverage of Darfur (But Where Afraid to Ask), Online Journal, 12 September 2004 <>.
82 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.314.
83 Interview cited in Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.315.
84 See, for example, Pieter Tesch, “Unravelling Sudan: The Media Should Not Get Embedded with NGOs”, Press Gazette (London), 3 September 2004, p.17.
85 Pieter Tesch, “Darfur Deserves Analysis, Not Clichés”, Letters Page, Press Gazette, 7 January 2005.
86 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999. p.48.
87 “Darfur Overshadows the Peace Process in South Sudan”, News Article by IPS, 2 September 2004.
88 Professor Susan Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell, Disease, Famine, War and Death, Routledge, New York and London, 1999, p.321.

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