Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guinea-Bissau: A Far-Too-Outdated Primer

If you watched the Daily Show last night, you saw a segment in which Kaj Larsen of CNN was found to now be working as a consultant on the HBO show The Newsroom, because CNN shut down their investigative division because it wasn't making a profit and, to hear CNN's programming guy tell it, you could just get everything off Skype anyway (which, really, no you can't). Kaj was mentioning drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau as a story he was looking at. There, per his point, isn't very much reporting being done in Guinea-Bissau lately.

So let's try to fill in a gap or two. As per Kaj's point that you can't just sit on your butt from home and expect all the reporting you need to be done that way, I'll deliberately not say anything of my own- I'm sitting on my butt from home, after all, and any value I add would only undermine him- and leave the reporting to people on the ground. That said, the first thing to note is that, again as per Kaj's point, there just isn't much being reported from the ground in Guinea-Bissau, and there really needs to be. But we do have a couple places we can go. For the drug-trafficking story, here's a report uploaded to YouTube in January 2011.

A military coup occurred in April 2012, after that first report, with both major candidates ousted from an upcoming election and third-place candidate Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo being installed in office. Al Jazeera has a report from the time of the coup here. This second video, from the International Crisis Group, is from August, asking around about the aftermath (and before a failed counter-coup a few months later; the only video on that is a 45-second blurb).

For more information about the country, here's a further selection of on-the-ground reports; unfortunately, they're from 2008, which only drives home the point further:

*A look from Journeyman Pictures into a hospital in the country that has no budget for drugs or medical equipment, uploaded January 2008
*A UNICEF video on child trafficking in the country, uploaded April 2008
*A report from France24 on overcrowded prisons, uploaded June 2008

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