The research conducted under this grant develops from a previous Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) funded project, Somali Media: Contributing to Reconciliation or Stirring up Violent conflicts? (2010-2011). This new project, called Digital Media : Using Technology in Reconciliation and to Map Violent Conflict attempts to look at the way in which certain new technologies, particularly social media and SMS based real-time streams, can help map and predict the paths of conflict within societies. Thi s project therefore links together important developments in trying to understand how technology can stabilize and act as a form of formatting, through, for example, giving transparency, distributing news and information, and most importantly acting as a central system for the collection of data submitted by actors on the ground, whether professional or members of the public. The recent events in Egypt have highlighted how important this is.
The research will contribute to the Norwegian efforts to mediat e conflicts by gaining insight into the relative importance of digital media in conflict in the Horn of Africa, With increased understanding about the role of digital media, this can help contribute to how it might be used by internal and external actors as a contributory force towards mobilizing both individuals and communities in the Horn of Africa and more generally across Africa achieve peace and reconciliation. Therefore, there are clear policy implications for Norwegian funding of peace-making effor ts from this research. Empirically, as this research explores non state actors role in conflicts (potentially citizen journalists) and traditional media institutions, we hope to suggest policies that can aid mediators in peace building and reconciliation processes through addressing problems that both external and internal media actors can create and also investigating ways that positives affects of digital media towards peace-building can be harnessed.