Global Media Policy and Crisis States
In the last 15 years, as the media development field has matured, the debate on media policy in crisis contexts has taken on a heightened importance. International norms – with the principles of Article 19 as the most important repository – are both more sharply articulated and advanced and more persistently compromised. In times and sites of territorial, ideological, and religious conflict – when faced with post-election violence in Kenya, with conflict-oriented color revolutions or their possibility, with the haunting potential for genocide – scholars and decision-makers increasingly seek to locate appropriate ways of thinking about media policy. Major disturbances come freighted with questions of when and how conflicts should be resolved, how rehabilitation can occur, what role there is for outside entities (including the usual international actors) to intervene, and what role the media (and media policy) can play in all of this.
The hope of policy usually incorporates ideas of positive change: the glimmering dream of an uncensored world, with rights to receive and impart information freely available to all, and a public sphere that is atomized and relatively independent of powerful and corrupting forces of politics and commerce. But the interim world may be all that matters. Especially in zones of recent, ongoing, or potential conflict, the oxygen of expression is commanded increasingly by totalizing forces, ...