Too far to care


The Royal Dutch/Shell company’s treatment of the Ogani people in the Niger Delta was nothing short of taking advantage of a disfranchised people. In some ways it reminded me of the Nike case because the government and the company both conspired together to take advantage of the local population. From reading the article on Shell and Nike, it seems to me that the common denominator for both is that they were taking advantage of people that are very far away from the Western world and its cameras. As much as we seem to think that we are connected with the world and that nothing can happen without our knowledge, there are still many parts of the world that fall under the radar. Companies like Shell know that these parts of the world won’t fall under the heavy scrutiny of mainstream media and so abuse their power by taking advantage of the local population.

In the case of Shell, they were using the land that the Ogani people lived on without the consent of the people and without giving much back to those people. Rights groups talked about how there were high pressure oil pipes winding around and within villages. If these any of these pipes were to leak or burst, it would be devastating to the immediate population as well as the Niger Delta. This, of course, is exactly what happened without much help from Shell. Compared to what BP did for the Gulf region of the United States when they had the big oil spill, the Shell company  did absolutely nothing. Although the BP oil spill was bigger than any of the Shell spills, I think part of the issue is that BP was a huge news story and, unfortunately, the Ogani people and their issues aren’t. It seems to me that the media is sometimes the best regulators for big businesses because the media can reach out and influence millions of customers and potential customers.

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6 Responses to Too far to care

  1. MDHarbin says:

    Do you think BP resembles the NIke case in that BP took all the oil spill thunder, rather than textile worker exploitation infamy? Although the US media latched on to the BP story because of the possible large scale shore devastation, Shell deserved the same amount of attention! Corporations like Shell need to uphold their social responsibility to protect the environment especially human lives are put at risk by pollution.

  2. Jordi says:

    Interesting to compare BP to Shell. Does the size of the event matter? Like, if in Nigeria it was lots of little leaks all over the place, is it easier for less to be done?

    Can you add anything about the amounts of spillage or the estimated impact of the two cases, as well as costs of clean up, just to get some idea of comparison.

  3. awhigbee says:

    In terms of Shell I think the most interesting thing about them that was when I searched Youtube, there was no positive Youtube video that came up, only the negatives from many different sources. The only positive oil videos were from Exxon which I thought was very smart of them. So I tend to agree that Shell is exploitative of the local populations, but also doesn’t really try to do much damage control. The lack of damage control is not helpful to Shell and is really harmful to Nigeria. In that respect it is like BP, not making as much of a visible effort, especially regarding press coverage, to clean up the area it affected.

  4. ALXLIONS says:

    But I think it’s pretty interesting to think that BP got so much negative publicity when they had an oil spill but now they receive no media attention at all. It just shows you how media will only cover something that is controversial and eye-opening. I would love to hear about how the oil spill has affected the local communities and the ecosystems. I guess the media doesn’t want to admit that they were wrong and that the spill wasn’t that hurtful or it feels the public just doesn’t care anymore.

  5. mnickels says:

    It is interesting to compare two different companies such as Shell and BP, and compare the exposure of their actions. I think the media tends to focus on the more negative sides of events and seem to focus on positives directly after events occur or for a fraction of the time of negative events. Our media might focus more on events that affect the U.S. then events that affect the rest of the world, which isn’t the best thing. I think we need to know what is going on in the world and we need to have things covered in the news that affect people in other countries. Especially like the Shell case. Maybe if there was more media coverage on things like Shell and Nigeria the company would have more motivation to actually do something about the situation.

  6. mcardinute says:

    It is unfortunate that the Ogani people had to experience what they did. With the help of media exposure I am sure things would have been much different. The media makes its money on negative news especially when its about the U.S. When something good is on the news its like yea…okay, but when BP was being broadcasted for having a huge oil spill, everyone was tuned in! I feel that since Shell is a U.S. based company, when they go to other parts of the world to exploit the market, it just gives a bad image of Americans. If anything, as Americans we should be happy that the media is not reporting on Shell’s exploitation because people around the world are just going to think less of us Americans. On the other hand, in terms of the livelihood of the people, I can see where the media worldwide would be beneficial to stop the labor exploitation.

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