Routledge Companion to Media and Humanitarian Action: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Routledge Companion to Media and Humanitarian Action

1st Edition

Edited by Robin Andersen, Purnaka L. de Silva


572 pages

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Hardback: 9781138688575
pub: 2017-09-19
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pub: 2017-09-14
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In this moment of unprecedented humanitarian crises, the representations of global disasters are increasingly common media themes around the world. The Routledge Companion to Media and Humanitarian Action explores the interconnections between media, old and new, and the humanitarian challenges that have come to define the twenty-first century. Contributors, including media professionals and experts in humanitarian affairs, grapple with what kinds of media language, discourse, terms, and campaigns can offer enough context and background knowledge to nurture informed global citizens. Case studies of media practices, content analysis and evaluation of media coverage, and representations of humanitarian emergencies and affairs offer further insight into the ways in which strategic communications are designed and implemented in field of humanitarian action.

Table of Contents

Preface by Sir Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration and Development


The Power of Media in Times of Humanitarian Crisis: Global Challenges, Constraints and Consequences - Robin Andersen and Purnaka L. de Silva

Section 1: Theories and Practice of Media and Their Impact on Humanitarian Action

1) Media, Politics, Compassion and Citizenship in the Post-Humanitarian Debate: Visual Storytelling and the Humanitarian Imaginary - Robin Andersen

2) Communicating for Impact, The Voice of the Victims: The Role of Media Design in Humanitarian and Human Rights Organizations - Tamara Alrifai

3) The Aljazeera Effect: News Media Coverage of Global Humanitarian Emergencies - Yehia Ghanem

4) Dignity in Times of Crises: Communicating the Need for Global Social Climate Change - Evelin Gerda Lindner and Linda Hartling

5) When Media is Used to Incite Violence: The United Nations, Genocide and Atrocity Crimes - Adama Dieng and Simona Cruciani

Section 2: Documentary, News, Human Traffickers and the Rescue Narratives of Global Migrations: Humanitarianism and Human Rights in an Age of Crisis

6) Frontline Doctors: Winter Migrant Crisis, BBC 1 - Alexander Van Tulleken

7) A Humanitarian Battlefield: Redefining Border Control as Saving Victims - Pierluigi Musarò

8) From Pity to Control: Regulated Humanitarianism in German Media Coverage of Refugees and Asylum - Elke Grittman

9) Regional Implications of Human Trafficking and Forced Migration: Looking for Solutions in Libya - Purnaka L. de Silva

10) The Drowning of SPHERE in the Mediterranean: What Has Happened to Humanitarian Standards in Fortress Europe? - Pamela DeLargy

Section 3: Global Humanitarian Information Policy: Financing, Early Warning and Crisis Response

11) Forecast-based Financing, Early Warning and Early Action: A Cutting Edge Strategy for the International Humanitarian Community? - Alexandra Rüth, Laura Fontaine, Erin Coughlan de Perez, Konstanze Kampfer, Kevin Wyjad, Mathieu Destrooper, Irene Amuron, Richard Choularton, Meinrad Bürer and Rebecca Miller

12) Policy for Media and Communication in Humanitarian Action and Long-term Development Cooperation: Some Norwegian Experiences and Perspectives - Anne Skjelmerud and Ivar Evensmo

13) The Correlation of Humanitarian Aid, North-South Development Cooperation and the Media: Facts and Fiction - Ulrich Nitschke and Heike Wülfing

14) Global Emergency Preparedness and Multilateral Action in an Information Age - Henia Dakkak

Section 4: Famine, Violence and Compassion: The Politics of News, Perception, Aid and Security

15) Reporting Humanitarian Narratives: Are We Missing Out on the Politics? - Suzanne Franks

16) Front Pages and Frontlines: How the News Cycle Impacted Humanitarian Assistance in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo - Heather Bourbeau

17) Compassion as a News Value: Comparing French and UK Humanitarian Coverage of the War in Gaza 2014 - Emma Heywood

18) News Frames and Global Terrorism Coverage in the UK and Norway: Context and Consequences for Humanitarian Issues - Maria Konow Lund and Eva-Karin Olsson

19) The Central American Refugee Crisis, Securitization, and the Media - Adrian Bergmann

Section 5: Voices at the Table, on the Internet and Over the Airwaves: Expanding the Global Dialogue on Science, Religion, Civil Society and Human Rights

20) Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Faith-based NGOs and Humanitarian Work – A Story from the World Humanitarian Summit - Azza Karam

21) The Role of Media in Public Advocacy and Countering Violent Extremism - Nadia Sraieb-Koepp

22) Ebola and AIDS: Harnessing Science and Human Nature to Combat Two Modern Plagues - Pat Fast

23) Plural + Media Literacy, and Voices of the Young: Platforms for Including Youth-Produced Media in Humanitarian Dialogue - Jordi Torrent

24) The Voice of the People in an Age of Environmental Crisis: Pope Francis, the Earth Community, Human Rights, and Independent Media - Robin Andersen and DeeDee Halleck

Section 6: Communication, Humanitarianism and Crisis: Case Studies from the Global Community

25) Horn of Africa: The Politics of Famine, Media Activism and Donor Aid - Aregawi Berhe

26) Disaster Management in The Philippines: Media, Unions and Humanitarian Action- Kim Scipes

27) Humanitarian Response and Media in the Arab Gulf Countries- Fadwa Ahmed Obaid

28) Quo Vadis? Ethnic and Cultural Genocide: Chaldean and Assyrian Christians and Yazidis in Northern Iraq and Syria - Purnaka L. de Silva

29) Child Protection and UNICEF’s Communication and Media Strategy: A Conflict-related Study from Mindanao, The Philippines - Priti Vaishnav

30) Environmental Degradation, Poverty and Corruption: Humanitarian Action and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Context of Media Influences and Power Dynamics in Latin America - Rudelmar Bueno de Faria

Section 7: Legacy Media from Fiction to Documentary: Representations of Crisis, Conflict, Humanitarian Assistance and Peacekeeping

31) HBO’s Treme and the Evolving Story of Hurricane Katrina: From Mythic News to Fictional Drama - Robin Andersen

32) "Shine a Little Light:" Celebrities, Humanitarian Documentary, and Half the Sky - Heather McIntosh

33) "The Record of a Total Power Loss": First Five Days at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant - Hajime Ozaki

34) Media Interventions as Humanitarian Action - Shawn Powers

35) Last Station Before Hell: United Nations Peacekeepers - Pierre-Olivier François

Section 8: The Contradictions of Social Media and New Technologies of Communication: Information, Fake News, Activism and Witness

36) Key Communicators’ Perspectives on the Use of Social Media in Risks and Crises - Harald Hornmoen, Klas Backholm, Elsebeth Frey, Rune Ottosen, Gudrun Reimerth, FH Joanneum, Steen Steensen

37) Global Activism on Facebook: A Discursive Analysis of "Bring Back Our Girls" Campaign - Dorothy Njoroge

38) "Take my Picture": The Media Assemblage of Lone-Wolf Terror Events, Mobile Communication, and the News - Kenzie Burchell

39) Keeping Reporters Safe: The Ethics of Drone Journalism in a Humanitarian Crisis - Turo Uskali and Epp Lauk

40) Weaponizing Social Media: "The Alt-Right," the Election of Donald J. Trump and the Rise of Ethno-Nationalism in the United States - Robin Andersen

Section 9: Media Industry and Government Influences on Policy and Humanitarian Affairs: The Propaganda of Warmaking

41) The Philanthrocapitalist and the Humanitarian Agenda: Motivations, Measurements and Media Power - Garrett Broad

42) The Impossibility of Humanitarian War: Libya and Beyond - Robin Andersen

43) The CNN Effect and Humanitarian Crisis - Piers Robinson


Assessing the Media and Humanitarian Landscape: Amidst Complexities, Global Peace and Prosperity Require New Directions and New Ethics and Expressions of Solidarity - Robin Andersen

About the Editors

Robin Andersen is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York. She is the author of four books, dozens of book chapters, journal articles and writes media criticism for a variety of publications. Her book A Century of Media: A Century of War won the 2007 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award, the honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities. She helped develop the curriculum for Fordham University’s MA Program on Humanitarian Action.

Purnaka L. de Silva is Director at the Institute for Strategic Studies and Democracy Malta. He was previously Senior Advisor at the United Nations Global Compact in the Executive Office of Secretary General Kofi Annan and served as a Lecturer in the School of Politics and the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict at The Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland. He has over thirty years of experience in conflict and peace studies with special focus on political violence, paramilitaries, counter-terrorism and transnational security, as well as the role of diplomacy and the United Nations system.

About the Series

Routledge Media and Cultural Studies Companions

Routledge Media and Cultural Studies Companions offer thorough, high-quality surveys and assessments of the major topics in the fields of media and cultural studies. All entries in each companion are specially commissioned and written by leading scholars in the field. Clear, accessible, and cutting-edge, these companions are the ideal resource for advanced undergraduates, postgraduate students, and researchers alike.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Media & Internet
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies