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Discuss the media representation of 'Somalian piracy'. Is 'piracy' an accurate term for what is taking place off the coa - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Somali Piracy: An Examination and Discussion of Current Trends and Definitions Within the course of the past few years, each and every well informed citizen has been made fully aware of the situation involving Somali “piracy” which exists in and around the immediate coast and far-flung international waters that make up the horn of Africa’s coast…
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Discuss the media representation of Somalian piracy. Is piracy an accurate term for what is taking place off the coa
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"Discuss the media representation of 'Somalian piracy'. Is 'piracy' an accurate term for what is taking place off the coa"

Download file to see previous pages Furthermore, the unique dynamics of Islamization, poverty, and the effects that 20 years of incessant civil war on the only truly failed state in the world has had on the way in which Somalia and the issue of “piracy” has developed will be discussed within the lens of media representation of the issue (Samatar 2010, p. 1380). Merriam Webster’s dictionary broadly defines piracy as “an act of violence or robbery at sea”. Such a broad definition leaves little room for prevarication concerning whether or not the actions taken by groups of Somalis over the past decade or so can be understood as piracy or not. However, a more important test of determination is of course the question of how tactics, objectives, and operational mechanisms differ when one compares current Somali piracy with that of the earlier more traditional understandings of the word. What is unique with regards to Somali piracy is the fact that the actual material goods that the ships which are arrested by them are often of secondary or tertiary importance. Of primal importance is the money which can be extracted from shipping companies, governments, or interested loved-ones of the crew members of the ships which have been captured. This serves as a fundamental deviation from traditional piracy in that this is the ultimate goal which the Somali pirates pursue as opposed to a secondary or tertiary goal that traditional piracy was engaged with (Murphy 2011, p. 19). For the traditional definition of piracy on the high seas, the requisition of the goods was of primary importance with the lives and health of the crew being much lower on the list of interests that the pirates dealt with. Ultimately, in the traditional understanding of piracy, the lives of those which were captured were worth little unless it was believed that an added amount of money could be extracted by ransoming them off to interested governments, families, or trade representatives. This shift in the dynamic that piracy has taken within the modern world is a unique hallmark of the Somali understanding of the term. Instead of seeking to acquire and sell tens of millions of dollars worth of ships and goods, the Somali pirates are almost exclusively disinterested in such an operation; instead concerned with seeking to ransom the ship, its contents, and the crew itself to interested parties the world over (Pham 2010, p. 330). The media’s interpretation of piracy in Somalia has been one that has traditionally missed the point. Although the actual day to day occurrences of piracy and associated deaths are recounted within world media, little to no attention is paid to the preceding determinants with regards to the underlying reason why piracy is currently taking place to such a high degree within Somalia (Hanson 2012, p. 524). There are a number of reasons for this media misrepresentation; however, it is the belief of this author that a large degree for the hesitancy with which Western media has sought to discuss and analyze the underlying reasons for Somali piracy is the level of culpability that the West continues to feel with regards to t ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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