Le concept de «securitization»

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titreLe concept de «securitization»
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Youtube and social media





While terms such as ‘the YouTube effect’ and ‘YouTube War’ are both sexy and sound-bite friendly, they tend to deflect attention away from the harsh political economic realities of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the horrific numbers of victims of these conflicts whose deaths and injuries are far from ‘virtual’.

The clips uploaded ‘unofficially’ to the YouTube site, on the other hand, are not considered to be part of such large-scale, structured, institutionalized information campaigns. Importantly, these venues differ from their predecessors (radio, television, print and film) in that alternative, counterhegemonic messages coexist – on the same sites – as the materials produced by the military. In turn, these clips appear side by side with MNFIRAQ clips when searching the YouTube system, thus creating what could be called ‘propagandistic dissonance’: moments when overt propaganda is placed side-by-side with material that renders such propaganda impotent.
For Andersen, propaganda and ‘militainment’ serve a very clear purpose: to create a socio-political environment in which war becomes an acceptable (and accepted) tool within US driven geo-politics.
What distinguishes these clips is that they all show (primarily) US forces engaged in gun battles, but they only show the US troops and not the ‘targets’ of the fire. If the targets are shown, they are usually in the form of buildings or other inanimate subjects. In this way, the gunfights maintain an air of ‘victimlessness’, with the human casualties of war not shown. US troops are usually calm and collected, and show few outward signs of panic or fright.
The majority of clips posted to YouTube do not show soldiers engaged in war crimes, violence or anti-social behavior, but rather taking part in the mundane, day-to-day activities one would associate with military personnel during free time: sitting around in tents, talking with colleagues, eating, singing songs and sending messages to loved ones back home.

Which clips, one might ask, best ‘represent’ the ‘reality’ of the conflict in Iraq?

The CNN effect

The CNN effect is a theory in political science and media studies that prostates that the development of the popular 24-hour international television news channel known as Cable News Network, or CNN, had a major impact on the conduct of states' foreign policy in the late Cold War period and that CNN and its subsequent industry competitors have had a similar impact in the post Cold War era. Professor Steven Livingston identifies three distinct aspects that fall under the broad term of the CNN effect. The media may function alternately or simultaneously as (1) a policy agenda-setting agent, (2) an impediment to the achievement of desired policy goals, and (3) an accelerant to policy decision-making.

The term's coinage reflects the pioneering role played by the network CNN in the field, whose "saturation coverage" of events like the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the fall of Communism in eastern Europe, the first Gulf War, and the Battle of Mogadishu was viewed as being strongly influential in bringing images and issues to the immediate forefront of American political consciousness and beyond. Despite these origins, the term as used generally refers to a broad range of real time modern media, and is not exclusive to CNN or even 24-hour news cycle broadcast cable news.

By focusing instantaneous and ongoing media coverage on a particular conflict, international incident, or diplomatic initiative, the news cycle effectively demands political attention, as governing politicians attempt to demonstrate that they are "on top of" current issues. The effect has been, according to Margaret Belknap, that "[t]he advent of real time news coverage has led to immediate public awareness and scrutiny of strategic decisions and military operations as they unfold." Deeper penetration and wider broadcast of statements and actions by public figures may increase transparency, but it can also complicate sensitive diplomatic relationships between states or force an official reaction from governments that would otherwise prefer to minimize political risk by remaining noncommittal. The information revolution and spread of global mass media through the Internet and international 24-hour news thus accelerates the policy-making process, requiring a faster tempo of decision and action to forestall the appearance of a leadership vacuum.

Former Secretary of State James Baker said of the CNN effect "The one thing it does, is to drive policymakers to have a policy position. I would have to articulate it very quickly. You are in real-time mode. You don't have time to reflect." His former press secretary, Margaret Tutwiler, mirrors his sentiment: "Time for reaction is compressed. Analysis and intelligence gathering is out."

Natural Disasters and the "CNN Effect"

While the "CNN effect" most commonly refers to the effect that news media have on politics and government during political conflict, its effect on decisions made during natural disasters is also noteworthy. As videos and images are broadcast worldwide immediately after or even during natural disasters, these images may convince the public to donate money or pressure governments for immediate action.

The "CNN effect" may have played a role in increasing aid following the Asian tsunami (2004), the Kashmir earthquake (2005), Hurricane Katrina (2005), and the Sichuan earthquake in China (2008). Following the Asian tsunami, for instance, the media "blitz" that followed this natural disaster may have helped prompt an unprecedented outpouring of donations. "By February 2005, the international community had donated $500 per person affected by the tsunami, compared to just 50 cents for each person affected by Uganda’s 18-year war."
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