TV news ignores third world

Budget pressures mean broadcasters are not reporting on developing nations.

Developing world: stories ignored
Developing world: stories ignored

Leading charity organisations are finding it tougher to generate coverage for international stories, according to a report that found TV news is not interested in stories from the developing world.

The report, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), noted that broadcast news focused on a limited number of stories and countries, with the US, Australia and Israel accounting for more than half of all international stories over the period studied.

According to the research, TV audiences are instead finding out about life in developing countries from unexpected sources such as drama and factual series, from The World's Strictest Parents to Top Gear.

Unicef senior media officer Sima Islam admitted it was difficult to place stories about the developing world. She said broadcasters' budgets were being constrained and they could not afford to film abroad: 'We try to provide several stories out of one trip. It is also down to us to find engaging stories.'

Oxfam head of media Sam Barratt agreed: 'There's a real pressure on international coverage as a result of massive cutbacks in budgets, together with declining space on the news agenda as a result of the economic crisis. This means the bar for truly original stories is higher than ever. Oxfam is adjusting to the decline by establishing media partnerships and longer-term projects that are better insulated from these pressures.'

The report, which covered a two-week period in February, was published by the International Broadcasting Trust and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association.

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