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Media in Conflict situations Xavier Giró - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

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Presentation on theme: "Media in Conflict situations Xavier Giró - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Media in Conflict situations Xavier Giró - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

2 Outline The communicative strategy of actors in a Conflict The communicative strategy of actors in a Conflict Criticism to the Media coverage Criticism to the Media coverage Why media do not perform a better work Why media do not perform a better work The effective logic of Medias work The effective logic of Medias work Challenges for a critic journalism Challenges for a critic journalism

3 Actors (Communicative) Strategy Two battlefields: Two battlefields: –The military field : The rearguard The rearguard The front The front –The information field: The front The front The rearguard The rearguard

4 Communikative Strategy At the Front: At the Front: –To misinform, mislead the enemy: To lie is a necessity; telling the truth, a treason To lie is a necessity; telling the truth, a treason –i.e. Golf War (1991), before the offensive of the Allied forces.

5 Communikative Strategy At the rearguard: At the rearguard: –Legitimation of the choice of War. International Law / International Public Opinion International Law / International Public Opinion Their own public opinion / die voters Their own public opinion / die voters –Ex. M. Thatcher:

6 Thatcher, Margaret: My years in Downing Street. (about the Malvinas War)... We decide to allow war journalists in our Warships.... The result were very vivid reports about the events. But there was always the risk to broadcast information which could be useful for the opponent. I was shocked by the tendency of some commentaries to appear neutral, and I also found awful when reporters spoke about the British and the Argentineans.... We decide to allow war journalists in our Warships.... The result were very vivid reports about the events. But there was always the risk to broadcast information which could be useful for the opponent. I was shocked by the tendency of some commentaries to appear neutral, and I also found awful when reporters spoke about the British and the Argentineans.

7 Thatcher, Margaret: My years in Downing Street. (about the Malvinas/ Falklands War)... We decide to allow war journalists in our Warships.... The result were very vivid reports about the events. But there was always the risk to broadcast information which could be useful for the opponent. I was shocked by the tendency of some commentaries to appear neutral, and I also found awful when reporters spoke about the British and the Argentineans.... We decide to allow war journalists in our Warships.... The result were very vivid reports about the events. But there was always the risk to broadcast information which could be useful for the opponent. I was shocked by the tendency of some commentaries to appear neutral, and I also found awful when reporters spoke about the British and the Argentineans.

8 Ideological box To maximize your own victories, successes, qualities, virtues, and those of your allies. To maximize your own victories, successes, qualities, virtues, and those of your allies. To minimize the victories, successes, qualities, and virtues of the enemy and those of his/her allies. To minimize the victories, successes, qualities, and virtues of the enemy and those of his/her allies. To maximize the defeats, failures, and mistakes of the enemy, and those of his/her allies. To maximize the defeats, failures, and mistakes of the enemy, and those of his/her allies. To minimize your defeats, failures, and mistakes, and those of your allies. To minimize your defeats, failures, and mistakes, and those of your allies.

9 The ideological square in the case of the media Broadcasting information from military sources / actors Broadcasting information from military sources / actors Accepting the constraints put by the military authorities. Accepting the constraints put by the military authorities. Through the choice of the collected material. Through the choice of the collected material. Through the priority given to different parts of the information. Through the priority given to different parts of the information. Through the choice of people to be interviewed. Through the choice of people to be interviewed. With the decision to broadcast or not what a certain Actor has said. With the decision to broadcast or not what a certain Actor has said. Beyond the explicit content of information, with the IMPLICIT CONTENT. Beyond the explicit content of information, with the IMPLICIT CONTENT.

10 Criticisms at the media The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations Silences Silences Superficiality Superficiality Out of context Out of context Simplification Simplification

11 Simplification Alger: Islamic Fundamentalism Israel – Palestine: excessive personalization Putting all actors in the same category Demonising one actor, a part or an ethnic group.

12 Demonising an ethnic group Serbs block all the help for the starving Bosnian cities" (ABC, ). Serbs dont listen to the Nato threat to bomb them" (El País, ). Serbs spread death in Zagreb" (El Periódico, ). Serbs maintain, they will lift the Blockade of humanitarian Convoys to Sarajevo" (Avui, ) Serbs mine the Nato-headquarters in Zepa und threaten to blow it up if Nato attacks them" (El Mundo, )

13 The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations Silences Silences Superficiality Superficiality Out of context Out of context Simplification Simplification Repetition of direct violence / not looking for Why Repetition of direct violence / not looking for Why Assumption of the language of dominants. Assumption of the language of dominants. Criticisms at the media

14 USA says to the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry they dislike the visit to Cuba of the King in1998

15 USA doesnt put any objection to visit of the King to Cuba

16 The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations Silences Silences Superficiality Superficiality Out of context Out of context Simplification Simplification Repetition of direct violence / not looking for Why Repetition of direct violence / not looking for Why Assumption of the language of dominants. Assumption of the language of dominants. The South, nearly always negative. The South, nearly always negative. Criticisms at the media

17 A plane crashes in Nigeria against 10 buildings and causes more than 125 dead A ship sinks with hundreds of passengers in Bangladesh Imminent freeing of a Cuban dissident Pacemakers from dead will be reused in Argentina 396 Maoists Rebels dead in Nepal Several girls die in an accident in Iran

18 Criticisms at the media The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations The broadcasting of lies and exaggerations Silences Silences Superficiality Superficiality Out of context Out of context Simplification Simplification Repetition of direct violence / not looking for Why Repetition of direct violence / not looking for Why Assumption of the language of dominants. Assumption of the language of dominants. The South, nearly always negative. The South, nearly always negative. The naturalization of Catastrophes and the war. The naturalization of Catastrophes and the war. Interpreting foreign conflicts in the key of internal conflicts Interpreting foreign conflicts in the key of internal conflicts

19 Not always Denunciation of military language: Denunciation of military language: –Collateral Damage, preventive Attacks, surgery operation, controlled Pools, etc. They distinguish aggressors from victims. They distinguish aggressors from victims. They take stand in favour of the weak. They take stand in favour of the weak. Etc. Etc. i.e.: Against the Bush administration and the war Iraq. i.e.: Against the Bush administration and the war Iraq.

20 Bushs inventions In his eagerness to justify the war against Iraq, the president made up reports and data.

21 Why dont media work better ? The first answers Why dont media work better ? The first answers Time Time Room, space Room, space Education Education Media pursue: Economic Profit and Influence. Media pursue: Economic Profit and Influence.

22 Aims: Profit and Influence (or the other way around) Competition: Competition: –The market, die Audience, the share, etc. Competitiveness Competitiveness –profitable, reduce costs But they need to work with reality, and be credible. But they need to work with reality, and be credible.

23 Cracks or chinks and elasticity Competition Competition Competitiveness Competitiveness Credibility regarding Reality Credibility regarding Reality

24 Cracks or chinks and elasticity Competition (Market, Audience) Competition (Market, Audience) The fight against the other Media and their political allies. The fight against the other Media and their political allies. Scoops Scoops Own Profile Own Profile all Segments of the Audience are important all Segments of the Audience are important

25 Cracks or chinks and elasticity Competition Competition Competitiveness (economic) Competitiveness (economic) insufficient payroll, exploitation of journalists insufficient payroll, exploitation of journalists Holes and ads, Refrigerator. Holes and ads, Refrigerator. Different margins of manoeuvre. Different margins of manoeuvre.

26 Cracks or chinks and elasticity Competition Competition Competitiveness Competitiveness Speak about the reality: Speak about the reality: Credibility Credibility – Critic attitude towards those in power. – Social pressure: Activists, professional organizations, council of information, – Code of Ethics (sometimes a double edged sword) Alternative Media Alternative Media

27 PEACE/CONFLICT JOURNALISM explore conflict formation, x parties, y goals, z issues explore conflict formation, x parties, y goals, z issues Focus on conflict arena, Focus on conflict arena, WAR/VIOLENCE JOURNALISM humanisation of all sides; more so the worse the weapons humanisation of all sides; more so the worse the weapons see conflict/war as problem, focus on conflict creativity see conflict/war as problem, focus on conflict creativity general win, win orientation general win, win orientation giving voice to all parties; empathy, understanding giving voice to all parties; empathy, understanding dehumanisation of them; more so the worse the weapon dehumanisation of them; more so the worse the weapon see them as the problem, focus on who prevails in war see them as the problem, focus on who prevails in war us-them journalism, propaganda, voice, for us us-them journalism, propaganda, voice, for us 2 parties, 1 goal (win), war general zero-sum orientation 2 parties, 1 goal (win), war general zero-sum orientation

28 proactive: prevention before any violence/war occurs. proactive: prevention before any violence/war occurs. focus on elite peace-makers focus on elite peace-makers Focus on suffering all over Focus on suffering all over focus on invisible effects of violence (trauma and glory, damage to structure/culture) focus on invisible effects of violence (trauma and glory, damage to structure/culture) Focus on people peace- makers. Focus on people peace- makers. expose untruths on all sides / uncover all cover- ups expose untruths on all sides / uncover all cover- ups focus only on visible effect of violence (killed, wounded and material damage) focus only on visible effect of violence (killed, wounded and material damage) Focus on our suffering Focus on our suffering reactive: waiting for violence before reporting reactive: waiting for violence before reporting Expose their untruths / help our cover-ups/lies Expose their untruths / help our cover-ups/lies

29 Aftermath: resolution, reconstruction, reconciliation Aftermath: resolution, reconstruction, reconciliation Leaving for another war, return if the old flares up again Leaving for another war, return if the old flares up again Focus on structure, culture, the peaceful society Focus on structure, culture, the peaceful society Peace = non-violence + creativity Peace = non-violence + creativity Highlight peace initiatives, also to prevent more war Highlight peace initiatives, also to prevent more war Peace = victory + ceasefire. Peace = victory + ceasefire. Conceal peace- initiative, before victory is at hand Conceal peace- initiative, before victory is at hand Focus on treaty, institution, the controlled society Focus on treaty, institution, the controlled society

30 The Challenge To understand the logic of the media To understand the logic of the media Take advantage of the Cracks or the Chinks Take advantage of the Cracks or the Chinks Build and strengthen alternative media Build and strengthen alternative media

31 Spasiba / Thanks Spasiba / Thanks


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