Some conflicts get all the attention and others just do not. What makes a conflict newsworthy? Why do we read more about an earthquake in Haiti than about conflicts in Eastern Sudan, Congo, Darfur, Central African Republic, Philippines, Pakistan, and Columbia? Who decides what is important for us, readers?

Especially, conflicts that are complex, prolonged and cruel beyond imagination are not the favorites of the news editors. A prolonged armed conflict is like a soap opera TV show with huge cast, complicated family and love relationships, fishy business deals, corruption, some characters interested in power, others pursuing their high moral standards. For viewers that tune in every day, the saga is easy to follow; they know character’s long personal history and are shocked to find out that the women he married is actually his half sister. For those, who want to see what the fuzz is about every now and then it is almost impossible to understand.

Therefore, we hear about a conflict when it starts, maybe when it turns into genocide, and maybe when a peace agreement is reached. The rest, according to some media people, is not newsworthy. Well, I claim the opposite. Instead of baby-sitting its reader- and viewership, media should let them follow violence around the world. So far, only when people saw and read daily about the killing fields, they raised their voice against war. Consequently, their governments were reminded of human security and responsibility to protect.

This week Prospects of Peace will host the soap opera Darfur, with its world famous ICC indictment winning actor al-Bashir (NCP), also starring Minni Minnawi (SLM) and Khalil Ibrahim (JEM). Special guests: civilian population and international community. Stay tuned!

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