The UNs’ Efforts on Media in Peacekeeping Operations

A Comparative Study on Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone


By Roja Zaitoonie


Since its foundation in 1945, the United Nations (UN) has been recognizing the role of media and public communication in maintaining international peace and security. Until today, the UN has mandated 71 peacekeeping operations around the world, with 13 still in place. In many of these operations the UN has created public information programmes, including UN radio stations, to support its goals and activities.


My PhD project aims to evaluate the UN efforts on media and public communication in fragile and (post-)conflict settings by conducting a comparative study on the UN peace operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire, with a special focus on UN radios. Based on the findings practice-oriented suggestions for improvement will be made.


The research question of my PhD project is: Which measures on media and public communication in fragile and (post-)conflict contexts have been generated, adopted and implemented by the UN and what impact did they have?


The empirical analysis consists of two parts: First, I will analyse the UN policies in the field of media and public communication in fragile and (post-)conflict contexts in general, and second, I will investigate the three case studies in detail. Qualitative document analysis and semi-structured expert interviews are used for data collection. Field research will be conducted in the UN Head Quarters in New York (first phase) and the three countries of my case studies (second phase) – if necessary, by digital means.


The PhD project is based on an inductive approach, which builds on the theory of Social Cconstructivism by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann.



Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Barbara Thomaß, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Project partners: Deutsche Welle Akademie, Fondation Hirondelle




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