Introduction: Humanitarianism, Communications, and Change
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Humanitarianism, Communications, and Change
SIMON COTTLE AND GLENDA COOPER
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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