The Listening Post

Reporting the Baga massacre

How has the media covered the latest Boko Haram attack? Plus, the Charlie Hebdo story through the eyes of cartoonists.

Events in Paris and reactions to them have dominated international headlines over the past weeks while another story that had cost far more lives has received far less media attention.

On January 3, the Nigerian armed group Boko Haram carried out what could well be its deadliest attack – but that depends on where you get your news. Some news organisations have put the death toll as high as 2,000; the Nigerian military puts it at 150 and that discrepancy gets to the heart of the problem with this story.

Facts are hard to verify since events are taking place in areas under the control of Boko Haram who have proved in the past to be hostile to the news media. Mobile phones and the internet are also unusable, making satellite pictures the only source of visual information.

Helping us to understand the reasons why this story is not getting the coverage it deserves are the author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani; journalist Ashionye Ogene; political analyst Azuka Onwuka; the Washington Post‘s Karen Attiah; and Taiwo Obe, the director of The Journalism Clinic.

Other media stories on our radar this week: journalists’ emails on the servers of US and UK intelligence agencies – the latest from the Edward Snowden leaks; the mayor of Paris wants to sue Fox News for reporting on the French capital’s non-existent “no go zones”; and another high-profile journalist commits ‘twitter-cide’.

Our feature this week returns to the Charlie Hebdo story, this time, viewed through the eyes of the international colleagues of those who were killed. From South Africa via Spain to the United States and Chile, we ask prominent cartoonists what the events in Paris meant to them and what continues to motivate them to poke pens at power.

Closing the show, we pick out some of our favourite examples of cartoons from around the world responding to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in creative and critical ways.