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Humanitarianism, Communications and Change

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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 Five: Changing Communications and Communication Power

Extract

Changing Communications and Communication Power p a r t f i v e On stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony in April 2014, British musician Peter Gabriel expressed his delight to be accepting the honour in recognition of his work as a solo artist (he left behind his role as lead singer in the progressive-rock band Genesis in 1975). In the course of sharing anecdotes about his experiences making music, he proceeded to elaborate a revealing point con- cerning its wider importance. ‘Watch out for music. It should come with a health warning. It can be dangerous. It can make you feel so alive, so connected to the people around you, and connected to what you really are inside,’ he maintained. ‘And it can make you think that the world should, and could, be a much better place’ (Gabriel, 2014). For many of those in the audience aware of his passionate commitment to wielding celebrity to help advance human rights causes over the years, this personal insight into how an ephemeral sense of musical connection can inspire political empowerment may well have created a lasting resonance. It was almost three decades earlier when Gabriel realised that his ‘part-time interest’ in human rights—‘mainly, it was something that happened to other people over there’—was slowly intensifying (2006). His acclaimed 1980 protest song ‘Biko,’ recounting the police killing of South African anti-apartheid activ- ist Stephen Biko, prompted Bono of the Dublin-based rock band U2...

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