Life in Dadaab 2 Essay

Submitted By aimz_515
Words: 1598
Pages: 7

Running Head: LIFE IN DADAAB

Life in Dadaab:
A comparison of the ways different media outlets treat the world’s largest refugee camp

Life in Dadaab:
A comparison of the ways different media outlets treat the world’s largest refugee camp

Introduction:
Through the conscious use of journalistic techniques, global media coverage presents a range of distinct – and often conflicting – perspectives on global issues. This is clearly evidenced through media coverage of the Dadaab refugee camp; in particular through contrasting perspectives surrounding:
1. The conditions faced within the camp
2. The responsibility of the Kenyan government to host Somli refugees
3. The perceived permanence of Dadaab
In addressing these contentious issues, national, regional and global media take very different stances. This is revealed through a close analysis of five media articles: the British Broadcasting Corporation (Gitani, 2011); Reuters (Ali, 2012); United Nations News Centre (UN, 2012); allAfrica (Smith, 2012); Kenya Broadcasting Centre – KBC – (KNA, 2012).1
The facts of Dadaab in these five depictions remain constant; rather it is the choice of facts to include, and the techniques employed by journalists which lead to five very different narratives concerning the world’s largest refugee camp.
Issue 1: The conditions faced within the camp
Whilst the BBC (Gitani, 2011) and UN (UN, 2012) articles emphasize the positive physical conditions of life in the refugee camp, the Reuters (Ali, 2012) opinion piece tells a very different story through its depiction of the “pitiful conditions” of Dadaab.
The BBC’s (Gitani, 2011) choice to interview a “bride-to-be,” an “aspiring journalist” and a “tireless doctor” immediately sets the scene for the success story that the BBC article aspires to convey. A string of positive emotive words such as – “happier”, “hope”, “peace”, “tranquilly”, and “positive” – create an optimistic tone which permeates the entire article. The story of the camp’s forthcoming marriage creates a particularly positive impression of Dadaab life which is enforced by the articles visual element: a colourful photograph of the bride smiling widely with her nice.
The BBC also note the improvement of educational facilities, as a school is upgraded from classes held “under trees” to a “huge tent to shelter children.” The UN article (Un, 2012) closely follows this approach, with an account that enphasizes sucessful decisions of the UN as part of a broad strategy to “improve the camp’s conditions.” The web layout of the UN News Center plays an important role in increasing relaiability, as the official seal of the UN and absence of advertisements gives credence to the legitimacy of the site.
In stark contrast to the optimistic treatment of Dadaab by the BBC and UN, Reuters (Ali, 2012) emphasises what they describe as the “pitiful conditions” of the camp. The article is carefully structured, with an opening sentence intended to shock the audience into an emotional response:
“Nadifo Farah is traumatised by the death of her baby as she fled Somalia, but she has no time to grieve as she battles to keep her five other children alive in the world’s biggest refugee complex”
Notably, the BBC and Reuters rely on similar techniques in the creation of seemingly polar opposite worlds. While each article relies on the personal testimony of refugees, - in the case of the BBC (Gitani, 2011) this personalisation is deepened through an audio link to the actual interviews – the individuals they chose to interview proves crucial to how these sources seek to frame the conditions of the camp.
Issue 2: The responsibility of the Kenyan government to host Somali refugees
While global media outlets, such as Reuters (Ali, 2012), emphasise Kenya’s international responsibility to protect vulnerable refugees, regional and national news sources such as allAfrica News (Smith, 2012) and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) (KNA, 2012)…