Media and Civil Society in 21st Century Conflict
April 15, 2014
by E.L. Gaston
As the nature of war has changed, so has the role of civilians in it. In an increasingly interconnected and globalized world, the way that media, civil society, and non-governmental actors engage with conflict can be as important as what happens on the battlefield. Forty years after the birth of the human rights movement, non-governmental activists use naming and shaming and other tactics to draw boundaries on warring parties actions and shape the legal standards against which they will be judged. The work of humanitarian actors can enhance or detract from the political and military goals of parties to a conflict, and as a result they face a more complex environment for carrying out their work. Meanwhile the growth of embed journalism and the 24-hour news cycle gives the public a ringside seat to conflict.