September 24, 2023

Atrocity Prevention in the New Media Landscape

Journalists have traditionally played a crucial role in building public pressure on government officials to uphold their legal obligations under the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. But over the past twenty years there has been radical change in the media landscape: foreign bureaus have been shuttered, young freelance journalists have taken over some of the work traditionally done by experienced foreign correspondents, and, more recently, the advent of social media has enabled people in conflict-affected areas to tell their own stories to the world. This essay assesses the impact of these changes on atrocity prevention across the different stages of the policy process. It concludes that the new media landscape is comparatively poorly equipped to raise an early warning alarm in a way that will spur preventive action, but that it is well-positioned to sustain attention to ongoing atrocities. Unfortunately, such later stages of a crisis generally provide the most limited policy options for civilian protection. Read more at AJIL Unbound.



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