CSRC Discussion Paper 8

Media Policy, Peace and State Reconstruction
Author(s) : Tim Allen and Nicole Stremlau
Date : March 2005

This paper begins by identifying and discussing the current prevailing liberal policy towards the media's role in 'peace-making' and 'peace-building'. It then proceeds to assess whether this has been an effective or ineffective approach, and concludes by suggesting ways in which the debate can be reframed or expanded. In brief, it is argued that laissez-faire policies towards media development in societies that are in the process of resolving violent conflicts are unlikely to be the best option. While recognising that proposing censorship is problematic and controversial, the paper argues that there have to be restrictions on material that is divisive and inflammatory – although this inevitably raises questions of who should decide what is unacceptable and on what basis.