The project ‘Media, Conflict and Democratisation’ investigates the role of traditional media and ICTs in conflicts that accompany and follow transitions to democracy. Our research focuses on three major arenas of contentious politics in emerging democracies: constitutional conflicts, accountability conflicts and election conflicts.
We argue that the media cannot be sufficiently understood in isolation, but have to be seen as part of an arena of public contestation that is occupied by multiple actors, each of which thriving to dominate the interpretations and outcomes of ongoing conflicts. Thus, the project aims to investigate
• The way in which traditional media in emerging democracies portray conflicts and whether media coverage contributes to the polarisation or moderation of divisions
• The diffusion of conflict messages through new ICTs;
• The role perceptions, ethics and working practices of journalists in conflict situations;
• The communication behaviour of conflict parties – governments, political leaders, civil society groups – during conflicts and how communications heightens or ameliorates tensions
The empirical research will be carried out in four emerging democracies: Serbia, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. These countries were chosen because their political development is of great significance for the respective geographical region in which they are located. All four countries have experienced severe democratisation conflicts, but represent distinct contexts that help to understand how cultural, political and social factors shape the role of the media in democratisation conflicts.
The project will closely work together with relevant stakeholders to develop recommendations for communication interventions that help to prevent conflicts and provide strategies for effective conflict management and conflict resolution. In particular, we will provide knowledge and skills as to how ICT tools can be used for effective communication management during conflicts
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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