Media, Conflict and Polarized Politics

Panel Code: 
Dr. Gianluca Iazzolino 

Drawing on research from the Media, Conflict and Democratization (MECODEM) project this panel explores how media may both reflect and further exacerbate conflict in democratizing states. We focus on efforts to shape narratives and the information environment: efforts from state sponsored media to steer political change, or international efforts to subsidize and alter the information available to communities. Such efforts may have unexpected consequences, further exacerbating tensions and provoking violence. New communication technologies are offering conflicts new and increasingly complex theaters to be contested – from state sponsored political bots, to citizen driven hate speech.
This panel explores both the intended and unintended effects of efforts to mold information environments with the goal of altering the outcomes of a conflict. We explore the tools available (from regional state-sponsored media; training of journalists; political outreach on social media; and orchestrated campaigns of online trolling) and the objectives behind national and international efforts, asking whether they are in the self-interests of conflicting parties or seeking to encouraging longer-lasting resolution to conflict. Our papers focus on South East Europe (Serbia), the Middle East (Egypt) and Sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia). International efforts to shape the information environment are explored though a cutting-edge analysis of the latest techniques by media assistance organizations to alter the voices available in conflict environments.

Prof. Katrin Voltmer
Prof. Nebojša Vladisavljević