Global research/ MIRH/ 29 August 2022
By Ibrahim al Marashi Nicole A. Stremlau
There is little that is static about the peace‐building process. The post‐conflict period can extend for many years, particularly if fundamental issues have yet to be resolved. The complex state and nation‐building processes cannot be seen simply as short transitional periods but may continue for decades. Even if the post‐conflict period could be bounded, opportunities during this stage are, to a great extent, shaped by media approaches both before and during the conflict. Both countries, Ethiopia and Iraq have experienced significant violent conflict and have liberalized their media systems to some degree. Ethiopia and Iraq are, however, at different points in the nation and state‐ building process. In Ethiopia, after a decades‐long civil war that ended in the early 1990s, pockets of conflict continue. Fifteen years later, there are fundamental disagreements, particularly among elites, about the constitution and the nature of the state. There has been no effective process of reconciliation and the media has been deeply polarized, reflecting some of the divisions. In Iraq, the government’s project to bring peace has been similarly complex. Despite recent progress, Iraq is still largely a country in conflict where the central government struggles to set the national agenda and maintain peace.
Therefore, within the broad context, the study attempts what ideal roles should media systems play to strengthen democratic governance and thus bolster human development? Under what conditions do media systems actually succeed or fail to fulfil these objectives? What policy interventions work most effectively to close the substantial gap which exists between the democratic promise and performance of the news media as an institution?