The Project

The purpose of this homepage is to present the progress of my dissertation “Radio Broadcasting as a Tool for Peacebuilding”.  Additionally, it shall be a hub for anybody who is interested in the topic and for experts in the wider field of peacebuilding, radio and media. Please feel free to sign up for the newsletter.

Blog: For obvious reasons I cannot reveal all of my research results on this homepage before the thesis is published. Nonetheless, I will inform you on the current status of my thesis as far as is possible. This means that I will be writing a blog to brief you on what problems and questions I am struggling with at any given time. My hope is that I will get feedback from many interesting people from all around the world. Rest assured that every useful hint will be mentioned in the acknowledgements of the final thesis.

Interviews: I have planned to interview as many experts as I can get. These interviews will be downloadable as mp3 files and transcripts will be available.Doing interviews is a virtue made of necessity. There is some theoretical literature on peacebuilding, little about media in peacebuilding and practically none about radio broadcasting in peacebuilding. Therefore I need to find my sources mainly amongst practitioners. In any case, my thesis is not conceived as a highly theoretical piece of work, but as a dissertation based on practical experiences in the field. Hopefully it will also become an input for future peacebuilding missions.

Outline: Finally, I would like to briefly outline the idea behind my dissertation on “Radio Broadcasting as a Tool for Peacebuilding”.
Following the devastating failures of United Nations peacebuilding in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Somalia in the 1990s the United Nations went through an in-depth analysis of their mistakes in those UN-Missions. This ultimately led to the “Report of the Panel on United Nations Peacekeeping “, better known as the Brahimi-Report, which was the foundation for many improvements in the UN peacebuilding concept in the new millennium.
One of these improvements was the UN Peacebuilding Commission. The PBC tries to address the deep roots of a conflict to gain sustainable peace. For this purpose the PBC is committed to an integrated peacebuilding strategy. The UN realised that the multiple sectors of peacebuilding like DDR, SSR, good governance, human rights, development e.g. are not separate spheres but interdependent sectors. Failures were often results of a one-sided approach whereas sustainable peace can only be accomplished by addressing all sectors.
The concept of ownership is the most important element for successful peacebuilding. If the local population, the government and the opposition are not dedicated to the peacebuilding process, it will most likely fail.
I think a coordinated media intervention can raise the commitment to the peacebuilding process. Many other concepts of media in post-conflict environments are only focused on bringing former enemies together. The simple idea is to turn the use of media as hate-media or propaganda instrument upside-down, and use media as a positive “propaganda” instrument for peace. Indeed this is an important function of media, but I think it could do even more.
Peacebuilding processes are not always self-explanatory in the eyes of the local population. These processes are often developed in faraway places like New York. This often leads to a distancing between the international community and the local population, if they feel excluded from the peacebuilding process. Media can close this gap. If media covers the whole integrated peacebuilding strategy, it could bring leverage to bear on the peacebuilding process.
Why is my dissertation about radio broadcasting and not media in general? I think that there are very significant arguments that speak for radio being superior to all other forms of media in post-conflict scenarios. I even think that in 90% of post-conflict states all other forms can be neglected. I will just mention two arguments here. Firstly, illiteracy is not an obstacle to listen to the radio. This makes radio broadcasting more egalitarian than all other media as it does not exclusively serve the educated elite. It is, in this respect, the most gender-balanced media as well.
Secondly, radio is not reliant on a functioning infrastructure. A functioning radio transmitter and transciever is all you need. Therefore radio has a big technical reach even in the most inaccessible areas. For the same reason it is an inexpensive medium.

I hope I have been able give you a good impression of my ideas in this short space. If you would like to know more, feel free to follow my blog. My “voyage” has just started and there is a lot of land to discover.
Thank you very much for your interest.