Sadly, many people tend to forget that thousands are dying in places outside of the few countries that dominate the global news cycle. Though rarely discussed, there are conflicts in such places as Yemen, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. Despite the devastation that is taking place there, the media often ignores these conflicts outright.
While the death toll in Yemen is lower than that of Syria, the country is still facing an overwhelming crisis. Currently around 70 percent of the Yemeni population is in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, and almost 4,000 civilians have been killed since the start of the conflict in 2015. Millions lack access to safe water, food, and health services. Nonetheless, there has been little to no coverage of the conflict since it began around two years ago. The media continues to neglect its duty to inform people around the world about the conflict—notwithstanding the mobilization of aid and international political pressure that often results when such actions are undertaken.
The same is true for Nigeria. Though the media does sporadically cover attacks, such as the recent accidental bombing of a camp for displaced people, it is rare for the media to genuinely bring attention to attacks in the African nation. In the same week that Alan Kurdi, a young Syrian boy, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and that 17 people were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, it is estimated as many as 2,000 people were killed by Boko Haram in Baga, Nigeria. Unlike after the other two tragedies, however, there was no international outcry for the people who died in Nigeria. In fact, there was barely any media coverage of the atrocity at all.
Contrary to what many people think, the conflict in Afghanistan—ignited by American invasion of the region in 2001—continues to this day. There are still 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan, and the Taliban remains at large. In 2016, around “1,700 people per day were displaced from their homes, reaching an annual figure of over 600,000.” In 2010, however, coverage of the Afghani conflict accounted for only 4 percent of the United States’ news in major outlets. Similar to the conflicts in Yemen and Nigeria, the world media is incessantly ignoring the conflict in Afghanistan.
It is difficult to know with certainty why these conflicts are repeatedly neglected. In the United States, perhaps these wars are forgotten because they do not pose a direct threat to American interests. In any case, there are many crises and conflicts in which human beings are in dire need of assistance; and yet, the world has shut its eyes. It is up to media outlets around the world to become more active and objective when covering the world’s conflicts. Otherwise, all those who have suffered during these crises are in danger of forever being forgotten.
At Grieboski Global Strategies (GGS), we form strategic connections with a variety of media organizations in order to bring to light world issues that have been overlooked. Through GGS’s partnership with MediaTenor, an organization that collects and analyzes data on how various issues are covered by world media sources, countries and organizations are able to understand how they are seen—or not seen—by the world. By changing perceptions and bringing awareness to the conflicts the world has neglected, countries such as Yemen, Nigeria, and Afghanistan can receive the attention they deserve. Working with GGS gives countries and organizations the opportunity to expose the suffering that has thus far been ignored by world media outlets and to strive for proportionate action and attention to these crises.