WFP To Spotlight Challenges For Media Covering Hunger

Published on 28 June 2010

Hunger is an issue of growing concern for the global media, which face a number of challenges when reporting about it to the general public. Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud

WFP and Reuters AlertNet will gather NGOs, journalists, commentators and policy makers in London on Friday to delve into the way hunger is reported in the media and explore the challenges involved in delivering food assistance in dangerous environments. Go to Live Blog

ROME -- WFP and Reuters AlertNet will host a high-profile event in London on Friday to examine the way hunger is reported in the media and to provide insight into the challenges involved in delivering food assistance in dangerous environments.

The Hunger Seminar, to be opened by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, will draw heavily but not exclusively on WFP’s 47-year experience of delivering food aid in places like Darfur, Haiti and Somalia.

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We want your ideas, thoughts, questions. Take part in the Hunger Seminar in three ways: 
 
  1. Ask a question in the comment box at the bottom of this page. We will collect your questions and put some of them to our high-level panels. 
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  3. Log on to the live blog on Friday between 10 am and 4 pm London time to follow the debate as it unfolds. www.wfp.org/hunger-seminar

“It's an opportunity not only for us to explain the challenges we face but also for WFP to listen to other ideas and approaches to delivering humanitarian assistance,” said WFP’s Greg Barrow.

Broad participation

Senior representatives from British-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and think-tanks will attend, including Shaheen Chughtai from Oxfam, Richard Dowden from the Royal African Society, Brendan Gormley from the Disasters Emergency Committee and Simon Maxwell, the ODI.

Feike Sibjesma, CEO of Dutch company DSM, will be present to talk about private sector involvement in the fight against hunger.

As well as looking at the many costs of getting food aid to the hungry in danger zones, debate will also explore the concept of ‘intelligent’ food aid – food assistance which is precisely targeted and designed to have maximum impact, now and in the future.

Topics in hunger

For WFP, nutrition is at the core of intelligent food aid and its operations frequently focus on providing nutritious food to the under twos, thus ensuring that they avoid the irreversible effects on growth and mental development that undernutrition can cause.

The first of Friday’s panel discussions will focus on the way hunger is reported in the media. Josette Sheeran, a former journalist herself, will participate in this debate, alongside senior Reuters News journalists and prominent media commentators, such as Jonathan Rugman of Channel 4 News.

One of the goals of the seminar is to give the media a better understanding of how humanitarian agencies respond to emergencies – especially in complex situations such as Haiti and Somalia - so as to allow the best possible reporting.

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Martin Penner

Web Editor

Martin Penner, a former journalist, has worked for WFP since 2008. He is based at WFP's Rome headquarters, where he manages content on the organization's website and other online platforms.