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Conflict radio and ethnic warfare in Liberia, 1980-1997

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Conflict radio and ethnic warfare in Liberia, 1980-1997

Innes, Michael Alexander (2003) Conflict radio and ethnic warfare in Liberia, 1980-1997. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study provides an historical account of the development of radio broadcasting in Liberia between 1980 and 1997, focusing on two periods, the regime of Samuel K. Doe (1980-1989) and the ascension of Charles. Taylor during the Liberian Civil War (1990-1997). The emphasis is on their differing approaches to the accumulation of broadcast resources and the extent to which they used them to incite extra-national groups to commit acts of violence against their ethnic opponents. Under Doe, foreign assistance funded a national network of radio stations that was instrumental in connecting hinterland populations to the capital, Monrovia. As such they were prized assets, but atrophied due to the ineptitude of the regime. During the civil war they became valuable property, and Taylor's radio propaganda campaign provided a second front against enemies both domestic and foreign. Using archived transcripts of major radio broadcasts, print news, and published memoirs of survivors of the latter period, I suggest that both leaders incited ethnic hatreds to varying degrees. I speculate that Doe's brand of incitement may have been an inadvertent side-effect of conflated national and ethnic politics. Taylor's propaganda, on the other hand, was much more explicit. The evidence clearly indicates that Taylor used a long-term campaign of media domination specifically to terrorize ethnic groups, elicit compliance from subject populations within territory under his control, program his forces to kill, discredit his enemies, and more generally to facilitate his personal pursuit of power.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Innes, Michael Alexander
Pagination:vi, 114 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:History
Date:2003
Thesis Supervisor(s):Chalk, Frank
ID Code:2036
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:24
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:24
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