Since the 1990s, a number of bloody conflicts have focused international attention on the strategic role of the media in promoting war and perpetuating chaos. The challenges posed by systematic manipulation of the media have been particularly acute in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, East Timor - wherever the international community intervened to prevent atrocities, or stop them, or help rebuild society in their aftermath. Written against this backdrop, this text brings together case studies and legal analysis of the steps that the United Nations, NATO and other organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, have taken to build pluralist and independent media in the wake of massive human rights violations. The text maps an important aspect of contemporary peacemaking. It examines contemporary thinking on the legality of unilateral humanitarian intervention, then analyzes in graphic detail the pioneering use of information intervention techniques in conflict zones, ranging from full-scale bombardment and confiscation of transmitters to the establishment of new laws and regulatory regimes.
Mark Thompson is a freelance writer and consultant. He is author of A Paper House: the Ending of Yugoslavia (Hutchinson and Vintage, UK and Pantheon, US, 1992) and Forging War: the Media in Serbia, Croatia andBosnia-Hercegovina (John Libbey Press, 1999) - chosen as a 'Book of the Year' in The Guardian and The Observer. Editor of Something in the Wind: Politics after Chernobyl (Pluto Press, 1988).