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Humanitarianism, Communications and Change


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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Introduction: Humanitarianism, Communications, and Change


← xii | 1 → INTRODUCTION

Humanitarianism, ­Communications, and Change


The world of humanitarian communications is changing fast. From geo-stationary satellites charting disasters from space to social media uploading raw emotions and scenes of devastation on the ground. From 24/7 news channels broadcasting crisis reports live from distant locations to crowd-sourcing and crisis-mapping visualizing local hotspots and sources of relief. From new volunteer technical communities mobilized at their desktop computers anywhere in the world to diasporic communities settled in distant countries donating funds ‘back home’ via their mobile phones. And from choreographed, videoed acts of inhumanity targeting humanitarian workers to calls for help from disaster survivors and potential atrocity victims fearing for their lives—all uploaded to the world’s media via a networked inter-linkage of mobile telephony, social media, Internet, satellites, and overlapping national and international news ecology. These and a host of other communication developments are posing new challenges and new opportunities for those who variously work in, are concerned about, are subject to, or who seek to mobilize humanitarian communications.

Humanitarianism, Communications, and Change sets out to explore today’s rapidly changing media and communications environment against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized and threat-filled world. The volume explores how media and communications, both old and new, and often in complex interaction, enter into humanitarian disasters from the outside in, and inside out, changing humanitarian capabilities and challenging as they do traditional relations of ← 1 | 2 → communication power. Today...

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