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Humanitarianism, Communications and Change


Edited By Simon Cottle and Glenda Cooper

Humanitarianism, Communications and Change is the first book to explore humanitarianism in today’s rapidly changing media and communications environment. Based on the latest academic thinking alongside a range of professional, expert and insider views, the book brings together some of the most authoritative voices in the field today. It examines how the fast-changing nature of communications throws up new challenges but also new possibilities for humanitarian relief and intervention. It includes case studies deployed in recent humanitarian crises, and significant new communication developments including social media, crisis mapping, SMS alerts, big data and new hybrid communications. And against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized and threat-filled world, the book explores how media and communications, both old and new, are challenging traditional relations of communication power.


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Part Four: NGO Communications: Impacts, Audiences, and Media Ecology


NGO Communications: Impacts, Audiences, and Media Ecology p a r t f o u r News coverage does not in itself determine policy despite what proponents of the CNN effect might contend. But it does wield influence in the democratic interaction between public and government. (Seib, 2002) The degree of influence of media coverage upon policy is part of a longstanding debate. There are many and varied strands to these relationships and the way that media coverage may or may not influence political decision making in relation to foreign policy. Trying to separate out the precise impact of media effects is invari- ably complex and often opaque. This chapter analyses the state of the contem- porary debates. But it also uses historical analysis to assess the arguments about how media influence affected decision making in the period after the television coverage of the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s, which was a key moment in the way that television reported humanitarian crises. c n n e f f e c t d e f i n e d The term ‘CNN effect’ was first formally used during the first Gulf War in 1991 to describe the way that real-time news coverage of foreign stories appeared to af- fect the decision making of political elites, either directly or through the influence upon domestic audiences. It was defined as a ‘generic term for the ability of real- time communications technology via the news media to provoke a major response from domestic audiences and...

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