Food crisis is central theme at WUR symposium

Published on
March 20, 2018

'When can a situation truly be defined as a famine?' That is the central question of the Knowing Food symposium. Scientists, journalists, and aid organisations will be providing their opinions on the topic. The conference will be held within the context of the 100-year anniversary of WUR. Until mid-May, the theme of this celebration will be Life.

Various factors influence the decision of whether to refer to a crisis as a famine. These may be figures that indicate how many people have been admitted to hospitals, but can also be media coverage. During the symposium, a generous amount of time will be spent focusing on the role of local journalists in news coverage.

There is a documentary on YouTube that aired on Norwegian television, which subtly uncovers the role the media can play in the declaration of a food crisis. It takes place in Niger in 2005. Various international media outlets reported that 3.5 million people in the African country were starving. In the documentary, residents of Niger, including the former prime minister Hama Amadou, talk about how there is absolutely no famine at all.

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