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October 1, 2008
Journalists not to blame for Somali pirate glory



AUDIO: Rob Crilly of The Christian Science Monitor discusses international efforts by America and Russia to combat Somali pirates.


CLICK on the image above for a complete interactive map from ICC Commercial Crime Services.

Somalia said today that it will allow foreign powers to use force against pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian ship as the pirates continue to face off with U.S. warships.

Rob Crilly is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi. He has written for The Times, The Irish Times, The Daily Mail, The Scotsman and The Christian Science Monitor. Crilly’s blog “African Safari” appears on the blog network “From the Frontline.”

It’s All Our Fault

It’s starting to look as if the problems in Somalia are all down to the inability of journalists to cover the conflict there properly – rather than say the complete hash of things made by the country’s neighbours, the United Nations’ and donors’ misguided attempts to prop up an unpopular government of warlords, and the repeated attempts of the US to solve the problem by bombing a stone-age country back to the, erm, stone age.

Hot on the heels of Kenya’s angry accusations that journalists were buying the terrorists’ propaganda, comes a rather snippy press release from Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN Special Representative for Somalia.

Mr Ould-Abdallah called on the media to treat the pirates’ actions as unlawful activities and use the same judgment as they would in other regions of the world. He said journalists should not allow themselves to be used to broadcast messages from the pirates or help glorify their actions.

I’m tempted to respond that UN officials should use the same judgment as they would in other regions of the world when welcoming peace agreements between two sides who have lied their way to the negotiating table and have no interest in laying down their weapons, and who don’t even control the insurgents or Ethiopian troops responsible for wreaking havoc on the ground. But that would be childish.

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