For all the damage it's doing, not another word should be
published or report broadcast about the Gulf of Mexico
oil spill until at least twice as much coverage is given to
similar but far more devastating disasters in countries
like Nigeria. These are all too easily ignored or under-
reported because they don't happen in richer countries
where all the best-resourced and most influential media
organizations operate. As for the New Zealand media,
not having a single foreign correspondent worthy of the
name, and none at all in a non-Anglophone nation, it
inevitably gives disproportionate space to American
and British news. Thanks to the papers like the Guardian
and the Observer, though, some stories from poorer
parts of the world still get through; and I'm grateful to
the New Zealand Herald for reprinting this:
We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian
village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava
plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into
the warm tropical water and began swimming,
cameras and notebooks held above our heads.
We could smell the oil long before we saw it—the
stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation
hanging thickly in the air. The farther we travelled,
the more nauseating it became. Soon we were
swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the
best-quality oil in the world.
One of the hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that
crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed
oil for several months...
The rest of this eye-opening report by John Vidal is here.