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Media and the Ukraine Crisis

Hybrid Media Practices and Narratives of Conflict

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Edited By Mervi Pantti

How are media and communications transforming armed conflicts? How are conflicts made visible in the media in different national and transnational settings? How does the media serve as a means by which
various actors manage and communicate conflict?

These are some of the questions addressed in this book. Using a variety of disciplinary perspectives and analytical approaches, contributors discuss the complex, multi-level Ukraine conflict as it is imagined and enacted in and through various media. Covering a wide range of media forms and content, including television news, newspapers, PR campaigns, and social media content, they offer new, empirically grounded insight into the ways in which traditional mass media and new media forms are involved in narrating and shaping conflict.

This book is suitable for students of conflict and media courses in journalism, media and communication, politics, security, and Russian and Eastern European studies.

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Chapter One: From Nation Branding to Information Warfare: The Management of Information in the Ukraine–Russia Conflict

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FROM Nation Branding TO Information Warfare

The Management of Information in the Ukraine–Russia Conflict

GÖRAN BOLIN, PAUL JORDAN AND PER STÅHLBERG

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has once again reminded the world that wars are not only fought with guns and tanks but also with information technologies. War propaganda is an ancient phenomenon that has been used for various purposes and for different audiences (Jowett & O’Donnell, 1992). Propaganda is targeted toward the enemy with the aim being to demoralise and destabilise public support, whilst, in relation to the domestic audience, it serves the purpose of mobilising public opinion to support warfare (Vuorinen, 2012). Foreign audiences are also propaganda targets, as the warring parties use it to raise support and to influence international public opinion (Schleifer, 2012).

In Western mass media, attention has been foremost concentrated on Russian propaganda, directed both toward Russian-speaking populations and international publics (Nevéus, 2015; Yuhas, 2014). The same pattern of attention has been revealed in the few scholarly articles published on the conflict so far (e.g., Pikulicka-Wilczewska & Sakwa, 2015), yet less attention has been paid to the management of information from the Ukrainian perspective. At its extreme, that is, in propaganda produced by pro-Russian sympathisers, Ukraine is described as having been taken over by fascists, while Russia is described as an autocratic madhouse by the Ukrainian side. Much of this information war is played out in social networking media such as...

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