[FoME] Media, Conflict and Democratisation (MeCoDEM) Research Project

Christoph Dietz Christoph.Dietz at CAMECO.ORG
Mi Okt 1 12:28:12 CEST 2014

>From http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/ifm/forschung/mecodem.html,
New research project MeCoDEM started

Prof. Barbara Thomaß and her team take part in an international
collaborative research project on ‘Media, Conflict and Democratisation’
(MeCoDEM), which started on 1 February 2014 and will run over three
years. The project investigates the role of the media in conflicts that
accompany and follow transitions to democracy. MeCoDEM is funded by the
European Union within the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme. With a total
budget of 2,2 million Euros, the project consortium includes eight
partner institutions from six countries: Besides Ruhr University of
Bochum these are the University of Leeds (coordinating institution, Dr.
Katrin Voltmer), University of Hamburg (Prof. Irene Neverla), University
of Belgrade (Prof. Nebojsa Vladisavljevic), Rhodes University
Grahamstown (Prof. Herman Wasserman), University of Oxford (Dr. Nicole
Stremlau), Stockholm University (Prof. Christian Christensen) and
American University in Cairo (Dr. Marco Pinfari). Within the framework
of the overall project, Barbara Thomaß will head the work package on
‘Dissemination and Impact’ (WP 8).

Outline of the project: 
Democracy is widely seen as a form of government and participatory
citizenship that promotes the peaceful negotiation of antagonistic
interests and tolerance towards divergent worldviews, identities and
beliefs. However, the experience of many emerging democracies shows that
this is not always the case. In a significant number of countries the
introduction of democratic politics has even exacerbated existing
divisions, while the re-configuration of power generates its own
conflicts between the winners and losers of the regime change. In many
of these conflicts the media both traditional and new have played a
pivotal role. They have helped oppressed voices to be heard and
mobilised resistance against illegitimate power; but they have also made
themselves advocates of sectarian hatred and intolerance.

MeCoDEM investigates the interplay of communication and democratisation
conflicts in four emerging democracies, each of them representing unique
constellations of transitional / post-transitional divisions: Egypt,
Kenya, Serbia and South Africa. Based on a comparative case study
design, the research covers constitutional conflicts, civic conflicts
and conflicts surrounding accountability and good governance. These
conflicts constitute arenas of contestation where the media interact
with the communicative strategies of governments on the one hand, and
political activists and political movements struggling for recognition
on the other. 

The project works closely together with relevant stakeholders to
develop new approaches to communication that help to bridge divisions
and to find common ground for sustainable conflict resolutions.

Within the framework of MeCoDEM the objective of work package 8 led by
the Bochum team is reach out to
- NGOs active in media assistance and media development, both
internationally and in the four countries that constitute the case
studies of MeCoDEM;
- Media practitioners, i.e. journalists as well as bloggers and online
- Civil society groups active in democratisation;
- Government departments responsible for financing media aid in the
main donor countries;
- Policymakers in the four MeCoDEM countries;
- EU policy makers;
- Academics;
- Members of the public.

For these groups the team will
- disseminate information about project activities and research results
to both academic and non-academic end-users;
- engage with a wide range of stakeholders, encouraging them to take
part in and advise on project activities;
- provide main stakeholders, such as practitioners, policymakers and
NGOs, with tailored information on relevant project results to enhance
- provide media with tailored information on relevant project results
to increase dissemination to the general public;
- investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of media assistance
programmes in conflict societies.

We regard the dissemination of project activities and findings as
integral part of our mission to produce knowledge that contributes to
the quality of social life. The research carried out in this project is
particularly relevant for improving the quality of emerging democracies
by developing effective mechanisms for conflict prevention and conflict
For further information please consult the MeCoDEM website:
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