The governments of Egypt and Dubai have issued complaints to the Indian authorities over the excessive media coverage given to relatives of Indian seafarers currently being held by Somali pirates.
According to the complaints, the hype whipped up by the Indian media is not helping negotiators as they struggle to strike deals for the release of the crews.
Negotiators believe that the press coverage jeopardises their efforts. Such delicate negotiations take time and skill, and it is felt that media coverage can build up pressure by highlighting the relatives grief and the desire to get the hostages freed. In this way pirates often feel emboldened and that having grabbed the attention of the media they will be able to extract more money.
In response to these concerns the Indian government is trying to avert publicity with the hope that negotiators will succeed soon in striking a deal with the pirates.
Back when the Chandlers were held hostage a media blackout was in place – and it was felt that this helped efforts to secure their release as the pirates became dispirited, and began to question whether they would actually get the funds they wanted. However as we live in a world with rolling 24 hour news, internet bloggers spreading news and views incessantly and with Facebook and Twitter thrown into the equation, then it is increasingly difficult to keep a lid on information…with the attendant problems that can bring.