"Radio can be a powerful weapon in the hands of those who know how to use it," according to the Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbel.
All hate media follow similar patterns in the way that they prepare the public to support bloody conflict, instigate the public to partake in violent actions and work to block the peaceful resolution of conflict. This destructive role of the media has been borne out in a number of contexts �e.g. promotion of genocide in Rwanda and Germany and in ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, Angola and Zaire as well as the on-going conflicts in the Middle East.
Fragile political transitions are very vulnerable to violent outbreaks, and hate media is most effective in achieving its aims in information-deprived societies characterized by a lack of media diversity. It is our experience that it is necessary to open up the media to an honest airing of diverse perspectives, and that hate media can be systematically counter programmed. We have been part of that effort in various regional conflicts.
Click here to a graphic illustration of how to counter the intentions of hate media.
"To do evil, a human being must first of all be convinced he is doing good. Evil's destructiveness arises from the desire to destroy evil,"
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago,
VOA Conflict Resolution Initiative
With financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York Dr. Pirio managed an innovative two-year-long initiative designed to explore how the media could be a constructive force in societies in conflict. This occurred in an era when the destructive impact of hate radio was so palpably evident in the Rwandan genocide and the Balkans ethnic cleansing. The project was launched at the Voice of America (VOA) where journalists expanded beyond their regular fare of "if it bleeds, it leads" reporting to include new themes such as the human and economic costs of conflict, the profiling of bridge-builders in divided societies, the rebuilding of civil society, and the dynamics of peace processes, to name a few. The project developed programming for Angola, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, South Asia, Sudan, and Greece and Turkey, among others. In conjunction with the United States Institute of Peace, the project organized a conference, Broadcasting to People in Conflict: Radio's Role in Conflict & Conflict Resolution.
The Media in the Angolan Civil War
The multi-year Angola media initiative was carried out with support from USAID and the U.S. Department of State. In a country torn apart by three-decades of civil war, the Angola initiative sought to deploy the media as a force for constructive dialog and national reconciliation.
Ejo Bite: Youth Radio for Rwanda and Burundi
"Ejo Bite?" -- which literally means "How about the future?" -- broadcasts news, feature stories and radio dramas that are produced by young Rwandan and Burundians, including refugees in the camps in the Great Lakes Region in the local languages Kirundi and Kinyarwanda. The refugees are truly the most marginalized of the regions population, and involving them in the broadcast is truly giving Voice to the Voiceless.