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Inter Press Service News Agency
Every year, the U.N.'s Department of Public Information (DPI) unveils its list of the world's 10 most under-reported stories, implying that politics, murder and sex scandals still take precedence over poverty, peace-building or economic development.
The list, released by the United Nations Monday, covers a wide range of stories -- from the plight of asylum seekers and refugees in ongoing conflicts to earthquake relief and post-war reconstruction -- that received little or no play in the world media.
"We all know that violence and conflict, and the threat thereof, always seem to make the headlines -- 'if it bleeds it leads', while 'good news is no news'," says Shashi Tharoor, U.N. under-secretary-general for communications and public information.
"We've tried over the years to show that development issues can make good stories too -- by pointing out the human interest aspects, and by helping demonstrate that such stories can be made 'readable', 'watchable' and interesting," Tharoor told IPS. According to the DPI, headed by Tharoor, the ten stories the world should hear more about include post-war reconstruction in Liberia; the new challenges faced by bona fide asylum seekers; the upcoming historic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo; children caught in the ongoing conflict in Nepal; and the compounding effects of a drought threatening to undermine stability in war-devastated Somalia.
The list also singles out several other stories under-reported by the world media: the plight of millions of refugees living in limbo; the problems of relief efforts in the aftermath of the South Asian earthquake and tsunami; the alarming number of children in conflict with the law; the collaborative solutions that have prevented conflicts over scarce water resources; and renewed violence that threatens to undermine the peace process in Cote d'Ivoire.