Dissecting Media Roles in Conflict: A Transactionist Process Model of Conflict News Production, Dissemination and Influence

Christian Baden, Christoph O. Meyer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


As long as there is violent conflict, people have wondered about the role of communication in fanning, shaping and also redressing hostilities. From the deeply media-penetrated West, over the TV-saturated East and to more radio-reliant African societies, the role of media in violent conflict has long assumed a central space in the scholarship of media, communication, political science and increasingly also international relations. 1 However, while there is widespread agreement that media potentially, powerfully influence the evolution and trajectory of violent conflict, it remains heavily contested wherein their primary influence lies. Scholars continue to argue whether media take on specific roles due to innate media logics, economic interest or political influence and, indeed, whether it makes sense to talk about “the media” or even “cumulative media effects”, given the progressing heterogeneity of media and media-like actors, their coverage and uses among media audiences. Any review of the widely fragmented literature yields a wealth of proposed media roles, from potential contributions to early warning and intelligence (e.g. Otto & Meyer, 2012), over their involvement in inter-group communication and mediation (e.g. Wolfsfeld, 2004), to widespread worries about incitement and propaganda (e.g. Nohrstedt, Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Ottosen, & Riegert, 2000). Yet many of the proposed media roles overlap in practice and are described in highly conflict-, media- and context-specific terms. What is more, most roles have been formulated against a separate background of theoretical and normative assumptions, which complicates the integration of accumulated knowledge as well as the identification of factors conducive to each role.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia in War and Armed Conflict
Subtitle of host publicationDynamics of Conflict News Production and Dissemination
EditorsRomy Fröhlich
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Communication Studies


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