Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding
Mitigating Media Incitement to Violence in Iraq: A Locally Driven Approach
The Iraqi media sector is polarized, with news content often representing political positions. In a postconflict environment such as Iraq, this polarized content can become inflammatory, potentially inciting violence. By engaging key parts of the media sector, discussing how to minimize inflammatory language, conducting a media content analysis, Iraqi media stakeholders and USIP were able to create a style guide for conflict reporting. Building on the self-regulatory tools developed, USIP is seeking to create a network of civic organizations across Iraq that can monitor media content on a range of potential conflict issues, from elections to oil to ethnic relations. The process—as outlined in this report—could be a model for other conflict-affected countries. | Read the Report
Sponsored by USIP and ITVS, the Media as Global Diplomat series of summits has highlighted the expanding power of today's media to transform public diplomacy and promote peaceful international relations since 2009. This year's summit, Media that Moves Millions, looked at the unprecedented phenomena of user-generated media campaigns that have inspired masses of participants and rocked political systems. | Learn more about this event and watch the online archive
Exchange 2.0 is a critical next step in international education and exchange that leverages the power of new technologies to vastly increase the number and diversity of students who have a profound cross-cultural experience as part of their education. At this event, policy-makers, funders, researchers and program implementers from the Exchange 2.0 coalition met to present and discuss new research on the impact of virtual exchange programs and explored opportunities for public-private collaborations to scale up this untapped resource. Learn More about this Event | Read the Special Report
As part of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Blogs & Bullets initiative, this event provided analysis and insight into the influence of new media in the Syria crisis, specifically on three types of actors: activists on the ground, journalists and media-makers who are reporting on the crisis, and policy-makers around the world. | Learn More about this Event
Pakistani Media: Getting Beyond the Hype
The orientation of U.S. public diplomacy is changing from telling America’s story to direct dialogue in an interconnected world. With this shift has come a need to revitalize a core pillar of public diplomacy strategy: international exchanges. This event explored how access to international study and cultural exchange could be broadened by combining new media with crosscultural dialogue. | Learn More about this Event
In Iraq, "Salam Shabab" is the very first peacebuilding television program depicting the real life story of Iraqi youth. The series showcases not only a population that is often marginalized, but also the powerful desire and capacity of Iraqi youth to bring peace to their communities. The afternoon featured an exclusive screening of one episode from Season 1 of Salam Shabab, which aired in full on Iraq on Al Iraqiya and throughout the region on Space Power. A Q&A session with the show's producers followed the screening. USIP then welcomed a panel of dynamic young cultural leaders and activists from across the Middle East to discuss the role of youth in peacebuilding in the region. The evening concluded with a live performance by Iraqi pop band UTN1. | Learn More about this Event
PeaceWatch Winter 2011: Media, Technology & Conflict
Published several times per year, USIP’s PeaceWatch newsletter features stories and photos covering Institute events, accomplishments, news, and announcements of note. This issue of PeaceWatch highlights the Institute’s work in media, technology and conflict resolution efforts around the world. | Read this PeaceWatch
Featured Publications & Tools
Iraqi media stakeholders have identified media incitement to violence as a crucial issue, especially during election periods. As a result, USIP’s Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding convened a conference on September 25-26, 2009 to explore the complex issue and to identify specific action points for mitigating inflammatory coverage in Iraq.
Based on Twitter and Facebook data gathered during the 2011 Arab revolutions, the authors of this Peaceworks report find that new media informed international audiences and mainstream media reporting, but they find less evidence that it played a direct role in organizing protests or allowing local audiences to share self-generated news directly with one another.
Experts lay out a set of common principles for assessing how media programs in conflict zones help or hinder peacebuilding.
Salam Shabab (Peace Youth) is a unique reality TV series filmed in Iraq that brought together youth from six provinces of Iraq to compete for a chance to become youth “Ambassadors of Peace.” The views of young Iraqis participating in Salam Shabab, along with new surveys on youth perspectives, have begun to create a potential profile of the next generation of Iraqi leaders.
The methodology defined in this work helps a media assessment team understand the causes of conflict in a society, identify changes that could reduce that conflict, and create media interventions that help realize those changes.
In February 2009, the United States Institute of Peace hosted a daylong conference, “Media as Global Diplomat,” that explored the changing orientation of public diplomacy and the importance of international cross-cultural exchange to public diplomacy. This report explores how access to international study and cultural exchange could be broadened by combining new media with established processes and pedagogy for cross-cultural engagement.
This report was commissioned by the United States Institute of Peace’s Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. It assesses Afghanistan’s media sector through a new tool developed by USIP, which combines elements of a traditional media assessment with conflict analysis.
This report from the United States Institute of Peace’s Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding illustrates the importance of local ownership in peacebuilding and stabilization operations—not just in concept but in practice.
This Center of Innovation focuses on harnessing the power of the media for peacebuilding and better understanding the role of media throughout the conflict cycle: preventing media incitement to violence, protecting media from abuse during conflict, and empowering sustainable peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict situations. Additionally, the Center conducts research, develops programming across all forms of media, and promotes cooperation and information sharing among policymakers, experts, media actors, and peacebuilding practitioners.
Work in Zones of Conflict
Promoting Legal Awareness in Afghanistan through Radio Programming
After traveling to Afghanistan to conduct an in-depth media evaluation, the Center is working with local partners to use edutainment to address the challenges of dealing with Afghanistan’s multiple informal and formal judicial sectors through a serial radio drama. The Center is also using new technology and radio to provide youth with the capability to inform others on legal issues and solutions.
As part of an initiative to formulate a two-track strategy to mitigate media incitement to violence in Iraq, the Center continues to work directly with Iraqi media regulatory officials, civil society media monitoring organizations, and news directors and reporters from across the broadcast sector in Iraq. Content analysis research is continually conducted as a means of affecting and charting progress in mitigating the inflammatory coverage of conflict-related issues.
Salam Shabab: Peace Media for Iraqi Youth
The Center is helping to highlight and address the many challenges faced by Iraqi youth by producing a multi-media peacebuilding program called Salam Shabab (Peace Youth), aimed at 14 - 18 year olds. The series, backed by a peacebuilding curriculum and complimented by a social networking component (http://salamshabab.com) is currently broadcasting on the Iraqi state television channel.
Countering Extremist Messages in Pakistani Media
By working with local Pakistani organizations on a comprehensive content analysis initiative, the Center will produce an assessment of the role of the media in promoting extremist messaging. Based on the results of the content analysis, the Center will work with media stakeholders to review the findings and develop actionable next steps to counter extremism in local media.
Radio for Peace in South Sudan
As South Sudan grapples with continued violence, state building challenges, and issues pertaining to national identity, the Center is working with local partners to address these issues through a serial radio drama. With much of the population consuming broadcast radio, the Center’s radio drama will address drivers of conflict, aiming to create lasting peace.
In partnership with Independent Television Service, USIP produced a series of summits to highlight the expanding power of today’s media to transform public diplomacy and promote peaceful international relations. These events have been hosted by influential public figures such as Ted Koppel and Queen Noor.
A joint project with the Center for Science, Conflict, & Peacebuilding, the Center explores ways to utilize quantitative and analytical tools to understand the power of online discourse to both promote and prevent conflict.
Through its goal of better understanding the role of media throughout the conflict cycle, the Center has been working on the development of a variety of assessment and evaluation tools. These tools include a strategic framework for media interventions, a template for the assessment of the media landscape in conflict situations and guidelines for evaluating the impact of media programs in conflict areas.