Without the constant coverage of the developments in Syria, Yemen and other MENA countries during the Arab Spring of 2011, considerably more people would have been killed by the tyrants and even more uprisings would have been violently crushed. Only due to the enormous additional financial investments by international media including the BBC, Al Arabiya or FAZ, who went beyond their regularly available budgets in continuing to cover the ongoing protests in the region, was it possible to keep up the pressure on the dictators.
This is the overall result of the Global Peace Report 2011, which was presented as part of the week long Media Tenor Reputation Lab in Davos.
During the book presentation, Salil Shetty, the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, pointed to the connection between financial restraints and the opportu-nity to tell the world about human rights violations. Steve Killelea, the founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney and co-editor of the Global Peace Report, illustrated the close correlation between media coverage on peace-related subjects, which include free and fair elections or fighting corruption on the one hand, and the increased media pressure on the leadership of the country to interests to improve the actual conditions on the other hand. “In countries where Le Monde, NBC or The Economist continued to report on peace challenges, the data of the Global Peace Index show a significant improvement of actual results” says Kililea in Davos. Nick van Praag, former Head Communication of UNHCR and the World Bank, is making an argument for greater transparency in the distribution of aid for victims in Africa and Asia.
The media analysis conducted as part of the reporting around the Arab Spring also depicts the increased opportunities for media organisations to improve their own reputation outside of their core markets. Coverage in TFE in Spain, TF1 in France, BBC or Deutsche Welle had a real impact on the people in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. “When we presented our data to the Arab League in Cairo last year we were however also advised that the reputation of European and U.S. networks in the region would improve significantly if reports on crime or violence would not only focus on ‘other countries’ alone” Roland Schatz, the Editor-in-Chief of Media Tenor summarises the reaction to the conference in Cairo.
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