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Military and the Media - How Information Works in Conflict Environments

In the history of armed conflict, the local civilian population has mostly been disregarded. While often being the largest party affected, they usually suffer the most.

Israelische Bodenoffensive im Gazastreifen GAZA BORDER, Jan. 5, 2009 --A journalist with helmet and bullet-proof vest looks into north Gaza Strip at the top of a hill near Gaza border, south Israel, Jan. 4, 2009. Hundreds of journalist and reporters from all over the world swarm into Israel and the west bank since Israel began the air strike to Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008. (Yin Bogu) (zl) Ref: B950_126872_0002 Date: 05.01.2009 COMPULSORY CREDIT: Xinhua/Photoshot +++(c) dpa - Report+++

Although war remains the scourge of humanity, things are changing. Over the past few decades, awareness has increased with regard to the role local civilian populations play in armed conflict. They are no longer
considered to be a passive factor, but instead their needs and perceptions
have explicit influence upon the success of a mission. Triggered by rapid
technological change in the media, information no longer simply describes
on-scene developments, but increasingly shapes the dynamics by influencing
perceptions, opinions and loyalties. Information has been a means of
warfare used by the military in all ages everywhere. On the one hand it
can be misused for propaganda or disinformation purposes, but on the other
hand it has great potential to promote local ownership in peacebuilding.
Armed forces committed to democratic core values are transparent in their
operations in order to maintain the basic right to information both in the
theatre and at home.

The Bundeswehr Academy for Information and Communication (AIK) offers
advanced training to press and information personnel of the German armed
forces and other nations. Contributing to the Global Media Forum, the AIK
will focus on how media-based interaction works in conflict environments. The
workshop will shed some light on the theoretical background and framework
as well as on practical experiences.

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