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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Tech Change
This Live Broadcast Is Brought To You By Bambuser: Streaming Video for Activists

"In the technological game of cat and mouse, where activists and governments seek to control the flow of information through digital devices, activists have a new card to play: Bambuser.

Information is power. And controlling the flow of information is important to the strategies of those who have power, and those who seek to take it away from them. Different tech tools have been taking center stage at different times – each with it’s own features that make it the right tool for the right at the time. And right now, Bambuser is giving the upper hand to those want to stream video in real time. As described by CEO Hans Eriksson, Bambuser is what you get if “YouTube fell in love with Skype and had a love child.” Compatible with 260 mobile phone models, Bambuser allows users to broadcast live from their mobile device. As footage is taken, Bambuser streams it directly to social network platforms, blogs, and the Bambuser site among others." READ MORE

What Influences Individual Donations to Disaster Victims?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

We see donation appeals everywhere these days - to help the people in Japan, to help the people in Darfur, to help the people in Haiti. What influences our decision to give? An interesting study comes from British psychologists, who analyzed how individuals respond to donation appeals in the wake of man-made disasters - like war - versus natural disasters. The authors around Hanna Zagefka from Royal Holloway University in London found that natural disasters elicit more donations than those caused by people. Their explanation: people tend to assign some blame to the victims of man-made disaster, while they blame no one for being overrun by a Tsunami.

Media Effects on Foreign Policy

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Recent events in North Africa have intensified speculations about the role of traditional mass media as well as communication technologies in shaping political events and cultures across the world. Media influence on policy, foreign or domestic, has been the subject of some research, but is not generally taken seriously in the relevant disciplines. We have discussed on this blog before that the lack of systematic research and acknowledgement of media influence on policymaking may be due to the indirect nature of this effect. Media do not necessarily influence policymakers directly, but may work through public opinion by shaping what people know and believe about foreign politics. Public opinion, embodied in predominant political views or in election results, can have considerable influence on policymakers that need approval from the electorate.

I recently had the honor of contributing a book review on media influence on foreign policymaking to the foreign policy journal IP Global Edition, published by the German Council on Foreign Relations. I discussed three relevant books: "Unreliable Sources" by John Simpson, "The Al Jazeera Effect" by Philip Seib, and Bella Mody's analysis of "The Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News." You can find the full review here.

Illuminating the Path to Peace: Public Opinion Research in Darfur

Antonio Lambino's picture

Colleagues have previously argued on this blog that public opinion is a critical force in conflict transformation and peace building.  It makes intuitive sense that serious assessment of the viability of peace processes requires taking stock of various societal forces -- not just the political will of elites but also the public will comprised of the preferences of various stakeholder groups.