Breaking the silence on Pakistan

In Pakistan, a disaster of epic proportions
has unfolded. The Times
of India
reports it will take years for the country to recover. Yet media
coverage has been relatively muted. In a Global
Journalist panel discussion
, journalists working in the region agree
coverage of the flood lacks urgency. To illustrate the situation closer to
home, the pages of J-Source were silent in the first weeks of the crisis,
compared to extensive posts and discussion following the Haiti earthquake. Until today, with Claude Adam’s piece about why we don’t cover Pakistan.

In a thoughtful segment, Al Jazeera’s Listening
asks: What is it about the images of this disaster that has failed to
evoke the same compassion as others have done? 
Even the celebrity news website Jezebel has noted
the quiet reaction
. In this
New York Times
, the relationship between media coverage and
international response is clear. A column
in the Guardian
argues a steady drip of terror-obsessed media coverage has
affected how people feel. Yet Huffington Post columnist Ethan Casey feels blaming
the media is a cop-out
for a recession-distracted western audience with
narrow attitudes about the Islamic world.

In the immediate aftermath, social media is helping spread the flow of information, reports Saman Sheikh. An awakening world is sending more reporters to the scene, aided by citizen journalism reports. But, clearly, the wall-to-wall coverage we’ve seen in the past is not part of the picture this time around. BBC’s ‘Have
Your Say’ forum
asks: Should it be?

Meanwhile, here at J-Source, an over-long silence has been broken. What are your thoughts? Who out there is working on the story? What decisions are being made in terms of coverage?

(Photo: Pakistan flood damage / Monica Smith, US Army)