The international community is showing hypocrisy by suddenly focusing on Somali piracy because of the capture of one American, a regional maritime group said on Saturday.If he means by "the international community" the American news media, he is right. Americans tend to focus on Americans. But in my readings of the media of the Philippines, China, India and other countries who have sailors captured by pirates or who have engaged the pirates, I note a strong bias toward covering their own citizens.
Sea gangs from the lawless Horn of Africa nation grabbed world headlines this week when they briefly hijacked the U.S. freighter Maersk Alabama. Its 20 crew retook control, but the gunmen took captain Richard Phillips hostage on a lifeboat.
The global media has tracked in great detail each twist and turn of the drama as it unfolds, including a failed attempt to swim to safety by the former Boston taxi driver.
But Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme said it was a pity similar attention was not paid to the nearly 250 other hostages -- all from poorer nations -- currently being held by other Somali pirates.
The biggest nationality represented, at 92, is Filipino.
As far as I know, the Philippines is free to send its own warships and personnel to do whatever it wants to do to free the Filipino hostages held by the pirates. And the Philippine media is free to cover the story as it sees fit.