THE “F-WORD” – HUNGER IN THE MEDIA;
WFP & THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION HOST LONDON HUNGER EVENT
Women from Dadinga tribe wait in line for World Food Program (WFP) staff to start distributing food in the village of Lauro, Budy county, in Eastern Equatoria State, south Sudan, April 3, 2010. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
– Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, will open a day of discussions on the issue of Hunger on Friday 2 July.
Four panel discussions will focus on:
• Reporting on complex humanitarian disasters;
• The cost of getting food to the hungry in danger zones;
• Who is responsible for speaking up for the hungry;
• Intelligent food aid – new horizons in food assistance.
Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation
The event will also ve led by moderators Lyse Doucet and Adrian Finighan, there will be a stellar list of panellists - representatives from international media, international non-governmental organisations, policy-makers, commentators and think-tanks – including Shaheen Chughtai, Oxfam, Jonathan Rugman, Channel 4 News, Richard Dowden, Royal Africa Society, Brendan Gormley, the Disasters Emergency Committee, Simon Maxwell, the ODI and Feike Sibjesma, CEO of DSM.
Men, fleeing a military offensive in South Waziristan, sit in a queue for handouts under a sign for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) at a food distribution point in Dera Ismail Khan, located in Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province November 9, 2009 REUTERS/Akhta Soomro
A WFP truck taking food across the desert somewhere near the border between Libya and Chad.
In the world of food aid, the F-word is 'Famine'. It's at the heart of the discomfort that sometimes marks relations between the media and people in the food aid business. News organisations go looking for famine, because it's strong news. Sometimes it seems that unless they can use the word 'famine' in their headline, they are not interested in reporting on hunger. But real famines -- of the type seen in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s -- are quite rare. And aid organisations like WFP are doing their utmost to get rid of them entirely.
Alongside this divergence of interests, there's the feeling in the aid world that, regardless of whether it's a famine or not, hunger is a dramatic and life-threatening reality in many countries and so it should get more space in the media than it does.
Here is some information on the July 2nd Hunger seminar:-
London, 2 July 2010
The Auditorium, Thomson Reuters Foundation,
30 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 5EP
09:30 Arrivals, registration, and coffee.
10:00 Welcome speech from WFP Executive
Director, Josette Sheeran.
10:15 Reporting complex humanitarian
emergencies – famine, food shortages, and other
fables from the frontlines of hunger.
11:15 Coffee break
11:45 The value of a child’s life -
the cost of getting food to the hungry in
extreme danger zones.
13:45 Who should the hungry turn to? The role
of media, the humanitarian community and
governments in determining who gets help.
14:45 Intelligent food aid – moving beyond bags
of rice and maize.
15:45 Concluding remarks
On the subject of hunger, @MSF_USA are posting some really interesting info about food and malnutrition on Twitter - just search for #STRVD - lots of issues that are sure to come up at the MFP-AlertNet debate.
@fighthunger I think we only report it when it hits extremes, like any news story it drops off the media radar unless there are drastic numbers of starving and dying people