For our media, the UK and the US are more or less ‘down town’.
On 15 June 2017, the Times of India carried the following report:
‘At least 31 people have died after gunmen posing as soldiers attacked two restaurants in the Somali capital on Thursday. The attack involved a car bombing and a siege of the two busy establishments that lasted overnight until the gunmen were eventually killed by security forces; the al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabaab, which often attacks high-profile areas of Mogadishu, has vowed to increase its attacks following Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s launch of a new military offensive against the militant group in April. Meanwhile, the US has also expanded its military campaign in Somalia, with new authorities given by the Trump administration to carry out offensive airstrikes against al-Shabaab targets; the US reported that it conducted its first airstrike in Somalia last week, killing eight extremists in a targeted strike against an al-Shabaab command and logistics camp.’
Yet, the Australian media continues in overdrive in its daily coverage of the London attack and hardly mentioned this one. It is further proof of the old journalists’ adage: a thousand people die in Africa, that’s a tragedy; two people die in a downtown fire, that’s news. For our media the UK and the USA are more or less downtown.
Granted Somalia is not that important to Australia but we have troops and aid workers there as well as a growing Somali community here.
Cavan Hogue was formerly Australian Ambassador to USSR, Russia, Thailand and Mexico, and High Commissioner to Malaysia.