Claims Paris Attacks Received More Media Coverage Than Beirut Called 'Blatantly Untrue' By Journalists

16/11/2015 12:11 | Updated 16 November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is among those claiming that recent media coverage has been unfairly focused on the terrorist attacks in Paris, ignoring recent atrocities in Beirut and Baghdad.

At least 41 people were killed in blasts in Lebanon's capital Beirut on Thursday, the day before the Paris attacks, while attacks targeting Shiite Muslims in Baghdad killed at least 19 people on Friday.

Meanwhile in Turkey, 102 people died in bombings in Ankara in October.

The Labour leader said on Monday the other attacks got "hardly any publicity" compared to the events in Paris, calling for the media to “report things that happen outside of Europe as well as inside”.

One Twitter user shared an illustration depicting the world's media focusing its vision exclusively on Paris while bombs and violence erupt elsewhere.

And "No media covered" the Beirut bombings according to actor and comedian Jack Jones, who posted a tweet saying "R.I.P. to all the people that lost their lives".

News site Inquisitr.com recalled the brutal killing of 147 people in Garissa university in Kenya in April, saying "news hounds might only remember the horrific attack at the Kenya college as a blip on the radar in the news cycle in comparison to the equally horrific Paris attacks."

But Martin Belam, a journalist and designer who has worked for the BBC and the Guardian, hit out at the claims, saying, "It’s just blatantly untrue... It pisses me off."

Writing in a blog post on Medium, he said that the media had been covering the other attacks - extensively.

"Search Google News and you will find pages and pages of reports of the attacks in Beirut. Pages and pages and pages. Over 1,286 articles in fact — lots of which pre-date the attacks in Paris," Belham wrote.

He argued that the lack of conversation around the attacks beyond Paris was not down to disproportionate media coverage - but rather that fact that people are less interested in tragedy outside of Europe.

"To say that the media don’t cover terrorism attacks outside of Europe is a lie. They do. But as anyone working in the news will tell you, if you look at your analytics, people don’t read them very much."

Facebook was also lambasted for introducing a "safety check" feature for people to tell their friends they were safe after the Paris attacks, and a function letting people overlay a French flag over their profile pictures, while doing nothing similar for the Beirut attacks.

The site defended itself by saying "the high level of social media activity" around the Paris attacks is what inspired the Safety Check option to be introduced for terrorist attacks for the first time - again reflecting that interest in the Paris attacks is being generated by the public, rather than the media.

“There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris,” wrote Alex Schultz, Facebook's vice president for growth.

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