Policy and Research Papers

Shifting journalistic roles in democratic transitions: lessons from Egypt

While in the case of the Arab Spring the focus of research and debate was very much on the role of social media in enabling political change both during the uprisings and in their immediate aftermath, the impact of traditional national mass media and journalism on framing this political change has been less addressed. In this article, we investigate the role of Egyptian journalists in shaping Egypt’s complex and fast-moving political transition. Based on a thematic analysis of in-depth interviews and a conceptual framework building on Christians et al.’s normative roles of the media, it can be concluded that the monitorial and facilitative roles, which were prevalent in the early stages of the post-Mubarak era, were quickly overturned in favor of a radical and collaborative role. Egyptian journalists working in private media thus demonized their political adversaries, mainly the Islamists, transforming this political ‘other’ into the ultimate enemy. At the same time, the new military regime was being revered and celebrated. This arguably contributed to further destabilize the fragile transition to democracy. It is furthermore concluded that for democracy to succeed in an Egyptian context, antagonistic political conflicts need to be transformed into agonistic ones both at the level of political culture and media culture.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Social Media and Peace Mediation

New technologies increasingly shape the environment of peace mediation, as conflict parties and mediators resort to technology for different purposes. This trend is likely to continue and yet, mediation practitioners are ill prepared and do not fully understand the impact of new technologies on peace mediation.  To address this gap, in March 2018, the UN Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA), together with three Switzerland-based organizations – swisspeace, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) and DiploFoundation – initiated the CyberMediation Initiative. The Initiative dovetails with UN efforts to better understand and leverage new technologies in global governance and collective security.

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How Media can be an Instrument of Peace in Conflict-prone Settings

This paper presents evidence on how media development policies and programmes can help prevent insecurity and violent conflict, and contribute towards peace and justice. It aims to help practitioners and researchers in the field of conflict prevention and communication explore ways to work better in this area.
While there is increasing recognition given to the importance of media and its positive and negative potential in relation to conflict, there is relatively little accessible evidence on what works, guidance for practitioners, or attention from donors.

The paper examines the available literature on this subject specifically focusing on the challenges that conflict prevention and media specialists face in working in this area as well as what we know works, drawing on best practices and lessons learned.  It highlights the knowledge gaps around media for conflict prevention and form a basis for the discussion of what steps conflict resolution specialists could take next to engage in this area.

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UNDP’s Engagement with the Media for Governance, Sustainable Development and Peace

This report features 13 case studies that together highlight the range and impact of UNDP’s engagement with the media for the purpose of achieving development outcomes. First, it seeks to demonstrate that, across development contexts, UNDP has increasingly identified media engagement as a priority for its policy and programmes. Second, the report seeks to outline UNDP’s comparative advantage and unique role in this area of work as well as to spark new approaches on media engagement and build new partnerships with media actors, the private sector, civil society and governments. Finally, by delving into the challenges and lessons learned across UNDP’s initiatives, the report seeks to contribute to broader debates among a range of stakeholders on how to design more effective and sustainable policies and programmes to support the roles of the media, which can better meet the needs and challenges of today’s complex media ecosystems.

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Si Les Victimes Deviennent Bourreaux : Facteurs contribuant à la vulnérabilité et à la résilience à l’extrémisme violent au Sahel central

Les groupes armés s’inspirant du djihadisme qui se sont installés dans les régions du Sahel central ont représenté un choc perturbateur des équilibres fragiles des communautés locales. Face à ce phénomène, ces dernières ont réagi de différentes façons, allant du rejet à l’attraction. Axée sur la jeunesse peule dans les régions de Mopti (Mali), du Sahel (Burkina Faso) et de Tillabéri (Niger), cette étude analyse les facteurs qui permettent d’expliquer la vulnérabilité ou alors la résilience des populations face à la montée de l’extrémisme violent.

L’adoption d’une approche comparative permet de vérifier la pertinence et la généralité des résultats de recherche sur toute l’étendue des régions étudiées, afin de fournir une compréhension plus ample du phénomène complexe de l’extrémisme violent au Sahel central. En ce sens, la présente étude capitalise les résultats des recherches antérieures sur le sujet, dont elle offre une revue critique à l’aune d’un riche apparat de nouvelles données qualitatives récoltées auprès des communautés peules vivant au front, et qui sont dès lors victimes tant de l’extrémisme violent que des réponses des acteurs nationaux et internationaux au terrorisme et à l’extrémisme violent.

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