Earlier this week, the New York Times had an article about how citizens of the Georgia (the country) were in a panic over a fake news broadcast that stated Russia was invading Georgia. Although the television show was intended as political satire, it was apparently so real (and close to home) that citizens believed the report. It was a similar media hoax that caused a constitutional crisis in Belgium last year and is the subject of one of the great articles just published in the Marquette Law Review’s symposium on International Media and Conflict Resolution. My introduction to the symposium outlines all of the articles (linked here) and, as I wrote,
For conflict resolution scholars, the idea of focusing on the media is a logical one. After all, the media is the primary method through which the public and political leadership perceive and understand conflicts at home and abroad. If we are working to better handle these conflicts, the way that these conflicts are explained and understood is a crucial part of that process. Do the media have a responsibility to report all sides, even if one side is “wrong”? Do the media share in responsibility for escalation of a conflict if the reporting is incendiary? (The conviction of certain media figures involved in the Rwandan genocide and the use of “Tokyo Rose” during World War II are only two stark examples of how media can be directly involved in conflict.) And what of the responsibility of conflict specialists — are those of us in the conflict resolution field ignoring the media at our peril?
The symposium issue includes not only theoretical articles from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives (history, journalism, conflict studies), but also case studies of specific conflicts from Iraq to Tibet to Peru. All of the articles can be downloaded from the Law Review’s website, as can video from the conference. The full list of articles and authors is after the jump and includes well-known DR colleagues like Susan Hackley, Richard Reuben, Phyllis Bernard, Andrew Lee and Alain Verbeke. Equally importantly, there are excellent articles from luminaries in other fields (including my provost who happened to be an expert in the history of media and the spouse of a well-known DR luminary who happened to be an expert in elections). As I described last year, the symposium was terrific and I know that the articles are really unique contributions to our field.