The F-word: Hunger in the media
London Hunger Seminar
How is hunger reported in the media? And what are the challenges involved in delivering food assistance in places like Darfur, Haiti and Somalia?
WFP and Reuters Alertnet hosted a Hunger Seminar in London on Friday to explore exactly these questions.
View how the debate went on the blog below. It's still live for another day if you want to leave a comment.
Read the coverage in Reuters Alertnet:
What do you do?
A truck convoy carrying desperately-needed food for tens of thousands of people living on the brink of survival in a war-torn African nation gets stopped by gunmen at a checkpoint. Before letting the convoy pass, the gunmen demand a “tax” and a few bags of food for their own use. What do you do? Pay the tax and hand over the food, or turn back to base, leaving the starving to fend for themselves? Read more
What's the F-word?
In the world of food aid, the F-word is 'Famine'. It's at the heart of the sometimes uneasy relationship between the media and people in the food aid business. News organisations go looking for famine, because it's strong news. That's their job. Meanwhile, aid organisations like WFP are doing their utmost to get rid of it.
Real famines -- of the type seen in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s -- are fortunately quite rare. But regardless of whether it's technically a famine or not, hunger is a dramatic and life-threatening reality in scores of countries. For many in the aid community, it deserves more space in the media. For many in the media, longstanding, chronic hunger doesn't quite add up to news.This is one of the issues this Hunger Summit aims to address.