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UN spotlights top 10 issues that should garner more media coverage

30 April 2004 – The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) today shined the spotlight on the plight of child soldiers in Uganda, the crisis of children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and overfishing as a threat to marine biodiversity as it sought to raise awareness of some of the important international issues and developments that often do not get sufficient media attention.

This list of “Ten Stories the World Should Know More About,” announced at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York by Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, includes a number of humanitarian emergencies, as well as conflict or post-conflict situations, and spans other matters of concern to the United Nations, although it is far from representative of the main issues before the Organization.

According to DPI, the stories are not ones that have never been reported, but are often second-rung issues that need more thorough, balanced and regular attention. Mr. Tharoor stressed that the list itself was "a snapshot of the most compelling stories that, at this point in time, we believe are in need of more media attention."

While the list was prepared in consultation with various UN offices and agencies, DPI said it took full responsibility for the final selection, noting that the ranking did not necessarily reflect the order of importance. "Our number one story is merely the first among equals," said Mr. Tharoor.

Noting that the launch took place on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day, he stressed that the goal of the initiative was to engage the media in bringing attention to critical issues, rather than to criticize the press for what it covers or overlooks.

To assist journalists in covering the stories, DPI will provide contact information about UN focal points for the highlighted stories, launch a special page on UN News Centre web site and will help the press to arrange interviews with UN officials prepared to speak on those issues.

Video of the press briefing [35mins]