Every so often an event of global concern transpires before the eyes of the world but yet appears to be recapped with enormous variation. Whether this event is of social, economic, political or environmental concern, certain points of information are naturally of greater significance to particular parties: hence the variation in reporting. The discrepancy in information is generally evident from one geographic region to the next.
If one were to take any event of global importance such differences would be extremely evident. Take the event that occurred on May 5th, 2006. On this date, after a lengthy negotiating session, the Sudanese government and the largest of the Darfur rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), signed a hard-fought peace agreement intended to end three years of desolation and bloodshed in Darfur.
By focusing on three different newspaper articles covering this event-the Wall Street Journal, The Independent, and Comtex News, representing the regions of North America, United Kingdom, and Africa respectively-one can conclude that each respective news source places greatest emphasis on the information that most concerns themselves, and infuses their region’s historic and eminent perspectives.
The Wall Street Journal’s article, “The Devil in Darfur,” focused on the superior role that America and the Bush Administration played in the progress of the peace agreement over the roles nations’ such as France and Sweden played. In regards to the future outlook of the peace deal, it was reported that, “It sounds promising, and if it sticks it will be a diplomatic triumph for the Bush Administration, which has so far provided $1 billion in humanitarian aid to the deal” (“The Devil in Darfur”).
This statement highlights America’s innate sense of self-importance in regards to policing international crises. The article further unfairly takes the position that the international community has uncooperatively stood by, unwilling to aid in international issues, leaving “the United States, the only country in the world with the capability and, potentially, the will to aid Darfuris and every other group threatened with genocide or brutal oppression” (“The Devil in Darfur”).
Unique to this article, greater focus is placed on the issues the U. S. faces from the international community in regards to achieving its goals in Darfur, rather than paying chief attention to the reconstructive work Darfur is in need of. In addition to failing to draw statistics from the reports of international agencies, “The Devil in Darfur’s” coverage involved the most biased opinions and gave the least thorough account of the state of the Sudanese civilian population of all the articles.
The Independent gave the most thorough and well-rounded report of the issues concerning the signed peace deal in its article “Sudan Signs Peace Deal With Rebels Over Darfur. ” The article shed fair and equal light upon the proceedings of the peace deal, the UN’s Secretary-General’s address to the global community, and the necessary next steps regarding external aid and peacekeeping measures. The article was written from an “arms-length” perspective and was not biased in its style of reporting.
In fact, it incorporated details and opinions from various international sources, such as US Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoel-lick’s address, the African Union’s chief mediator, Salim Ahmed Salim’s comments and the UN’s chief humanitarian co-coordinator, Jan Egeland’s report. This article is in marked contradiction with the Wall Street Journal’s article on the point of the international community’s involvement.
The Independent reports, “The breakthrough in negotiations [is largely due to] Britain and America, who have both been active in attempting to end the ethnic cleansing” (Penketh, Anne), while the Wall Street Journal criticized the international community for not doing enough and named America as the only nation that has had sufficient concern. Comtex, Africa’s own vehicle for news reporting, naturally had the most invested interest in the event that occurred on May 5th, and, as such, reported from a personal perspective in “Peace Deal Must Deliver on Darfur Aid.
Given this invested interest, the article was realistic in it’s coverage of the situation in the war-torn region of western Sudan at the time. It refrained from sugar-coating both the events that preceded the signing of the peace agreement, and, of all the articles, it most thoroughly outlined the much needed work that still needs to be done in the region. The article partly drew its focus from the report of Human Rights Watch, and as a result it especially emphasizes, “Enforcing the agreement and ensuring real protection and access to humanitarian aid for civilians remains the top priority” (“Peace Deal Must Deliver on Darfur Aid”).
Unique to this article, light is shone on the fact that “the government of Sudan has obstructed relief activities with a campaign of administrative harassment” (“Peace Deal Must Deliver on Darfur Aid”), even though international pressure forced the Sudanese government to allow aid agencies into Darfur in 2004. Unlike the other articles, Comtex calls fair attention to mounting violence against aid workers and restrictions on their efforts as “part of a broader surge in attacks on civilians and clashes between the warring parties across Darfur” (“Peace Deal Must Deliver on Darfur Aid”).
The fallacious idea of a nation-state-the assumption that cultural identities (nations) coincide with politically sovereign entities (states) to create a series of internally unified and essentially equals units-markedly influenced the perspective of each article (Lewis M, Wigen K). The articles took into account that seldom is an independent political territory coterminous with the territory of a self-consciously united people.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal commented, “Sudan’s track record inspires no confidence that it will abide by the agreement it has now signed” (“The Devil in Darfur”), which stresses the point that even such a small as Sudan has tremendous disparity that obscures the potential for collective agreements. That common notion elects to call such an internally divided nation as Sudan a nation-state shows a determined desire to will uniformity out of diversity, and overlooks the struggle currently being waged there.
The result is that boundaries have been evoked in innumerable arenas where their usefulness is truly restricted, exemplified by Comtex’s report: “Access to civilians has become extremely difficult because of the volatile border zone erected in West Darfur which straddles Chad” (“Peace Deal Must Deliver on Darfur Aid”). In closing, the Darfur peace agreement that was signed on May 5th, 2006 was recounted with slight, yet significant variation by various news sources around the world.
The Wall Street Journal’s article was polluted with perspectives biased towards the United State’s involvement; the Independent was fair and thorough in its evaluation of the event, and; Comtex News infused it’s own personal perspective and invested interest in the event to recommend future plans of action. Therefore, by concentrating on the varying reporting styles of three different newspaper articles covering a singular event, one can deduce that each news source naturally puts greater weight upon the facts that most concern themselves whilst incorporating their region’s prominent perspectives.