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a couple of musings on international media

13 July 2009

International media coverage has always remained a mystery to me: who decides what gets in print? Marc Herman writes about the quiet coverage of the recent Indonesian election. It’s a thoughtful post about a mostly Muslim nation currently experiencing stable democracy despite a not-so-distant violent and dictatorial past and a contemporaneous good run of bad luck:

At minimum, Indonesia is an example of a country that has done almost the complete opposite of what the US and its allies have counseled, and with now five years to examine the results, it seems the Indonesian strategy worked, and ours remains a subject of debate….And Indonesia had every reason to fail – and failure would have been a horror. “A thousand Bosnias,” a western diplomat spat, memorably, to the newswires, as far back as 1998…During the transition to democracy a string of natural disasters occurred – starting with the Indian Ocean tsunami, but continuing on to a second tsunami, two major earthquakes, and a volcanic eruption…The rash of terrorist bombings occurred during the transition from a dictatorship. So did 9/11 – and with it the huge crash in international business and travel, which were important to Indonesia’s financial health. Then came Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Avian Flu. A drought began, killing the crops. Planes crashed with alarming frequency. Ferry boats sank with hundreds lost at sea. For years it seemed like the country simply would not catch a break. Every reasonable thing the Indonesians did led to another unspeakable tragedy. The country felt cursed. Imagine Katrina, plus 9/11, plus Mexican flu, plus the financial crisis, at the same time, in the America of 1780 or the Russia of 1989.

And, Botswana now has a daily newspaper printed in Chinese: The Oriental Post.

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