the other night, a man was shot dead with an arrow up the road from where i am staying. this was duly reported by reuters news agency who also put the killing into a bit of a context by stating that since the start of the crisis here in april/may 2006, at least 37 people have been killed and 150 000 are internally displaced.
the trouble with those figures is that they reflect the situation as it was 1,5 years (!) ago, but still almost every single news item on the timorese crisis uses those completely outdated figures. is it too much to ask of professional journalists to do a bit of background research or, at the very least, to add the casualty they are reporting in their piece to this total figure? to say that by now there's at least 37 + 1 = 38 dead?
as far as i can tell no-one has collected the total number of casualties since the beginning of the crisis. my own estimate is at least 50 (tallying up the cases i remember hearing about) have died, perhaps closer to 100. as far as the idps are concerned, the current official figure is down to approximately 100 000 from 150 000, though some would dispute that number.
and as always, each of those figures consist of individuals whose stories and fates will in all probability remain unreported by the local or the international media... but the very least they could do is get their numbers straight.