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Humanitarian Crises and Intervention: Reassessing the Impact of Mass Media

Walter C. Soderlund, E. Donald Briggs, Kai Hildebrandt, and Abdel Salam Sidahmed
Humanitarian Crises and Intervention: Reassessing the Impact of Mass Media
ISBN: 978-1-56549-262-2
ISBN: 978-1-56549-261-5
2008/335 pages/LC: 2008018073
A Kumarian Press Book

"What would explain the poor track record of the international community when it comes to intervention against gross violations of human rights in Third World societies? Using ingenious rank-order indicators, Soderlund and his colleagues examine the severity of the problem, the risks of intervening, and the strength of media advocacy to provide a thoughtful and thorough analysis. Informative, moving, and challenging."—J. David Singer, University of Michigan

"A methodologically innovative and theoretically powerful examination of the role the media play in mobilizing—or failing to mobilize—the international community to come to the aid of populations in the grips of catastrophe. The book’s clearly written and richly documented case-study approach makes the research accessible to a broad spectrum of readers."—David Pritchard, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee


Why has the international community been unwilling, time and time again, to address the humanitarian crises that have killed millions of people in postcolonial states and forced many millions more to leave their homes and livelihoods? Focusing on the role of major media outlets, the authors of Humanitarian Crises and Intervention provide a unique look at violent conflicts in Angola, Burundi, Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Timor-Leste.


Walter C. Soderlund and E. Donald Briggs are professors emeritus of political science, Kai Hildebrandt is associate professor emeritus of communication, media, and film, and Abdel Salam Sidahmed is associate professor of political science at the University of Windsor.


  • Introduction: The Problem and Research Methods—W.C. Soderlund, E.D. Briggs, and K. Hildebrandt.
  • Liberia, 1990: ECOMOG I, "Operation Liberty," UNOMIL—W.C. Soderlund.
  • Somalia, 1992: UNOSOM I, UNITAF, "Operation Restore Hope," UNOSOM II—E.D. Briggs and W.C. Soderlund.
  • Sudan, 1992: Humanitatian Relief Efforts Confront an Intractable Civil War—A.S. Sidahmed and W.C. Soderlund.
  • Rwanda 1994: UNAMIR I, UNAMIR II, and "Operation Turquoise"—W.C. Soderlund and E.D. Briggs.
  • Haiti, 1994: "Operation Restore (Uphold) Democracy," UNMIH—W.C. Soderlund and E.D. Briggs.
  • Burundi, 1996: United Nations and African Intervention Initiatives Falter—W.C. Soderlund.
  • Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 1996: "Operation Assurance," The Intervention that Never Was—W.C. Soderlund and E.D. Briggs.
  • Sierra Leone, 1997: ECOMOG II, UNOMSIL, UNAMSIL—W.C. Soderlund.
  • Angola, 1999: 1,000 UN Military Observers Removed, 30 UN Civilian Observers Returned—E.D. Briggs and W.C. Soderlund.
  • East Timor (Timor-Leste), 1999: INTERFET, "Operation Warden"—W.C. Soderlund and E.D. Briggs.
  • Conclusion: Assessing the Comparative Impact of Mass Media on Intervention Decision-making—W.C. Soderlund and E.D. Briggs.