The Achievements and Challenges of Media Interventions in UN Peacekeeping Operations

A General Policy Analysis and Comparative Case Studies on Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire


By Roja Zaitoonie


Since its foundation in 1945, the United Nations (UN) has been recognizing the role of the mass media in maintaining international peace and security. Until today, the UN has mandated 71 peacekeeping operations around the world, with 12 of them still active. In many of these operations, the UN has created public information and strategic communications programs, including UN radios, to support its goals and activities.


My PhD project aims at evaluating the UN's media interventions in peacekeeping operations by conducting (a) a general policy analysis of the General Assembly and the Security Council and (b) comparative case studies on the UN peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire, with a special focus on UN radios. The empirical analysis is based on qualitative document analysis (QDA) and semi-structured expert interviews. Field research was conducted in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The data collection in Côte d'Ivoire was conducted with the help of a local research assistant.


The PhD project is based on an inductive approach, which builds upon the theories of social constructivism and phenomenology. In addition to the empirical investigation, this study seeks to contribute to the exploration of media interventions in peace and democratization processes from a theoretical point of view. Based on the findings practice-oriented suggestions for improvement will be made.


Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Susanne Fengler (TU Dortmund), Prof. Dr. Jens Loenhoff (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Project partners: Deutsche Welle Akademie, Fondation Hirondelle




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