The world we ignore

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Posted on: 18 July 2011 by Alexander Hay

Much of what goes on today is sadly overlooked

My blog last week on the largely unreported uprising in Belarus got me thinking - what else is being ignored right now? Obviously, the phone-hacking scandal is taking centre stage at the moment, and for good reason: It seems News Corporation's illicit antics have tainted our national politics and media.

Yet what's going on in Belarus matters too. Apart from the human side of the event, what happens in Minsk will also have repercussions across Europe, just when it is riven with an economic crisis that is in danger of immersing the whole continent.

In fact, at a closer glance, many of these overlooked stories are in fact of great importance. For example, the attack on a police station in China's Xinjiang province by the local Uighur minority suggests ethnic and political instability within the borders of a rising economic power.

Moreover, the clash between Uighurs and Han Chinese risks escalating into civil unrest, even insurgency. China is now a linchpin in the world economy, and any such conflict would affect its economy and infrastructure and so, eventually, ours. And yet the crisis in Xinjiang remains largely ignored.

Elsewhere, did you know that Latin America's economy is estimated to be growing by 4.7%? This is good news in the sense that many nations there are moving away from poverty, but it may also mean another realignment of the worldwide economic system.

Analysts also fear a price bubble akin to that which brought the Asian Tiger Economies to their knees in 1997 or our own ruin in 2008. That would lead to greater instability in an already unstable area. What would the local and international implications be?.

The most recent worrying event that is not being covered by the media, however, is the EU's ongoing economic crisis, which grew ever more perilous over the weekend. With Greece in free-fall and the economies of Spain, Portugal and Italy in jeopardy, you'd expect a great deal more coverage of this problem in the media. You would be wrong. The story was overshadowed by coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

It is partly the media's fault, forever convinced that it knows what the public wants to read - a justification that, after all, lead to phone hacking – and it also decides what doesn't get reported on or what gets completely ignored.

But we must learn to pay attention too. As said, these events affect the nations in which they take place and, in turn, effect the world of which they and we are increasingly an interconnected part of. We need to find out more about the world we live in, or at the very least, focus on journalism that's not just about, or care of, phone hacking.

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Alexander Hay

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