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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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Chapter Six: NGOs, Media, and Public Understanding 25 Years On: An Interview with Paddy Coulter, Former Head of Media, Oxfam


← 78 | 79 → CHAPTER SIX

NGOs, Media, and Public Understanding 25 Years On

An Interview with Paddy Coulter, Former Head of Media, Oxfam


In 1989, Paddy Coulter, former head of media for Oxfam, trustee of Comic Relief, and the man who facilitated Michael Buerk’s first trip to Ethiopia, wrote a piece for the New Internationalist magazine, making a powerful attack on aid agencies of the time for their reliance on backward-looking ‘starving children’ imagery. This pushed the idea of a passive developing world, and agencies whose intervention was cheap, easy, and risk-free and which failed to mention the indispensable work that local partners did.

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