War 2.0: Soldiers and Terrorists as War Reporters | Press Releases | DW | 31.03.2009
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Press Releases

War 2.0: Soldiers and Terrorists as War Reporters

Thomas Rid, US expert for media and conflict reporting: “New media environment will usher in a revolution”. Workshop and book presentation at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum from June 3-5, 2009 in Bonn.


Internet usage for information and misinformation, cyber-terrorism, hacker activities and military blogs – those are just some of the phenomena and concepts that are shaping military conflicts in the multimedia age. “These developments have not only dramatically changed military strategies and secret service activities, but also reporting about armed conflicts as well,” states Thomas Rid, US expert for security policies, conflict reporting and the media. “In the 1990s, journalists practically had a monopoly over war reporting,” says Rid. Today, there are nearly 2,000 blogs from soldiers alone and many civilians write blogs from conflict regions as well.

Rid is a security expert at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. At the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum from June 3-5 2009 in Bonn, he will present his theories at a workshop entitled “War 2.0 – The Role of Media in Asymmetric Conflicts.” “The new media environment will usher in a real revolution,” says Rid. He goes on to say that the political and social impact could be serious and present the military, politicians and civilians with several challenges.

Thomas Rid analyzes the relationships between military and government, the involvement of local civilians in military planning and the influence of new telecommunications media on governments and armed conflicts. The author of “War and Media Operations“ compares the media-related counterinsurgency methods of these conventional armies to the more successful methods devised by their non-state adversaries like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah. He then goes into the cost-benefit aspects of the new media from the point of view of the warring parties and of course the consequences for journalists.

The images from the first US-led war in Iraq were controlled by the large international news agencies. But now, those taking part in the war like soldiers, regular troops or insurgent or militant groups are making videos and placing them online. “In doing so, they are making hangings, explosive attacks and ambushes available to everyone around the world,” says Rid.

Rid, who previously worked at the RAND Corporation, the Institut Français des Relations Internationales, and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik will also present his new book “War 2.0” at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum. Christopher Coker, Professor for International Relations at the London School of Economics, said that “hardly any other book has so effectively captured the drastic changes in the nature of war.”

The second Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum will focus on “Conflict Prevention in the Multimedia Age”. Along with the 50 individual events, 800 participants from around the world are expected. Co-host of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse in Bonn. The convention is also supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bonn, DHL, The Economist, Intermedia, KD Deutsche Rheinschifffahrt AG and the dpa group companies news aktuell and picture alliance.