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Television wars

Traditional diplomacy has ignored the power of the media to exacerbate conflict. But a new sort of diplomacy is taking shape which is trying to harness it to the cause of peacemaking. Michael Maclay recounts lessons learnt during the efforts to rebuild a liberal television culture in Bosnia

By Michael Maclay   November 1997

There was one gaping hole in the Dayton agreement which ended the Bosnian war in 1995: media. There was a long military annex. There were annexes on elections, refugees and human rights. There was even an annex on national monuments. But for an international treaty drawn up under enormous pressure from the media in what is supposedly the age of CNN diplomacy, the lack of attention to media seems an odd omission.

There was much else one could criticise in the hastily drafted agreement, notably the gap between the goals it sketched out and the means it provided for achieving…

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