In today’s world of ever-increasing access to information, the media play a more important role than in any other time in history. With new forms of communica- tion—as well as increasing infrastructure supporting that communication—media now have the ability to act as a potent force in both the developed and developing world. Media—from newspapers to television to Internet blogging—help shape the public’s perceptions about issues as varied as health, humanitarian crises, and pres- idential elections. Public opinion then puts pressure on governments to act. The media are not only an active force, however; they are also reactive. A strong govern- ment can change the media’s coverage just as easily as media can shape public per- ception. The result is a cycle of influence: from the media to the public to the gov- ernment and back to media again. The media have thus become a political actor.
This issue’s Forum captures the effects of this cycle by citing key case studies from across the globe. Yong-Chan Kim and Kyun-Soo Kim explore the impact of blog- ging on South Korean politics, while Claude Salhani details the media’s role in the Kosovar conflict. Mia Malan, writing on AIDS in South Africa, looks at how the media can affect social issues. Examining the influence that governments can have on the media, Adel Iskandar argues that the Egyptian government has suppressed the media’s voice, and Roger Atwood writes of media censorship in Venezuela. These articles combine to create a rich picture of media’s emerging role in the international political landscape.
As always, this issue of the Journal explores not the topics of today or even of tomor- row, but the topics that will affect the world for years to come. We hope you enjoy what lies between its covers.
– Margo M. Huennekens & Lorin Kavanaugh-Ulku
- Introduction by John Walcott | Read
- Online Storytellers: Blogging in South Korea by Yong-Chan Kim and Kyun-Soo Kim | Read
- Egypt’s Media Deficit by Adel Iskandar | Read
- Media Crackdown: Chávez and Censorship by Roger Atwood | Read
- Media in Conflict: Inciting Violence in Kosovo by Claude Salhani | Read
- Exposing AIDS: Media’s Impact in South Africa by Mia Malan | Read
Business & Economics
- USAID Revisited by Raj Kumar | Read
To make foreign aid more effective, the United States must centralize its programs under USAID.
- Money Talks: Revaluing China’s Currency by Shalendra D. Sharma | Read
Can the revaluation of the yuan strengthen the Chinese currency and close the trade gap?
Conflict & Security
- Why States Choose Paramilitarism by Ariel I. Ahram | Read
When governments turn to paramilitaries to solve domestic troubles, it signifies not a descent into anarchy but rather an innovative means to solve persistent political problems.
- Architects of Peace: The African Union and NEPAD by James Busumtwi-Sam | Read
The AU can best contribute to sustained peace and security in Africa by taking a strong stand on domestic governance issues.
- Demographics and Security in Maritime Southeast Asia by Brian Nichiporuk, Clifford Grammich, Angel Rabasa, and Julie Davanzo | Read
Demographic trends in Maritime Southeast Asia directly affect security and U.S. interests in the region.
Culture & Society
- Strong Medicine: The Pharmaceutical Industry’s Compact with Society by Mitul Desai | Read
The fight over Indian patent laws reveals the global perception of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.
Law & Ethics
- Strengthening Protection of IDPs: The UN’s Role by Roberta Cohen | Read
Reform of the UN must include improved legal and institutional mechanisms to protect the internally displaced.
- The Darfur Dilemma: U.S. Policy Toward the ICC by John Stompor | Read
The Darfur genocide has compelled the United States to rethink its policy toward the International Criminal Court, but U.S. ratification of the Rome Treaty is no more likely.
Politics & Diplomacy
- Trouble in Paradise: Nepal’s Tryst with Insurgency and Despotism by Harsh V. Pant | Read
A political stalemate in Nepal requires international intervention.
Science & Technology
Nanotechnology will help developing countries, but only with a focused international effort.
- Islamic Reform or Designer Fundamentalism? by Ebrahim Moosa | Read
Review of Tariq Ramadan’s Western Muslims and the Future of Islam.
View from the Ground
- The Seeds of Social Inclusion: Reforming Education in Costa Rica by Alejandro J. Ganimian | Read
Racism in Costa Rican education threatens the country’s democratic institutions.
- Guinea: An Island of Stability? by Sarah Birgitta Kanafani | Read
Guinea’s stabilizing role in West Africa has exacerbated its own problems.
A Look Back
- Armitage on Iraq: Applying History’s Lessons Interview with Richard Armitage | Read
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage argues that success in Iraq requires U.S. support for the development of competent democratic institutions.