From Massacres to Genocide: The Media, Public Policy, and Humanitarian Crises

By Robert I. Rotberg; Thomas G. Weiss | Go to book overview

Preface

LARGE-SCALE human suffering is a continuing threat to world peace. Each year several dozen gruesome civil wars disturb global order and jar our collective conscience. Recurrent ethnic and religious strife from Angola to Guatemala, unthinkable acts of inhumanity in Bosnia and Rwanda, and violence accompanying the unraveling of the former Soviet Union demonstrate that neighbors killing neighbors is a global reality with potentially ominous implications for the entire international community.

The 50 million people displaced by current complex humanitarian emergencies overwhelm the post-post-Cold War world's ability to understand and to cope with genocide, ethnic cleansing, massacres, and other inhumane acts. The United Nations and regional groups have tried, but they cannot successfully manage the proliferation of tragedies without greater public awareness of how much is at stake, and how much more expensive it is to act later rather than sooner.

The media play an increasingly crucial role in publicizing humanitarian crises, and advances in technology have intensified the immediacy of their reports. Because global communication networks facilitate intensive, ongoing coverage of crises throughout the world as they unfold, policy-makers are under great pressure to respond rapidly to events. Close cooperation between international relief agencies and the media is thus essential to help prevent and contain the complex humanitarian

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