European Research Council (ERC) Projects: Uyanga Amarsaikhan

Dr. Uyanga Amarsaikhan oversees content for the Migration Observatory and conducts legal research for ConflictNET – The Politics and Practice of Social Media in Conflict. She is also responsible for implementation and financial management of ERC Projects at the Law Faculty’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

New book on ‘Media, Conflict and the State in Africa’ by Nicole Stremlau

Countries emerging from violent conflict face difficult challenges about what the role of media should be in political transitions, particularly when attempting to build a new state and balance a difficult legacy. ‘Media, Conflict, and the State in Africa’ by Nicole Stremlau and published by Cambridge University Press, discusses how ideas, institutions and interests have shaped media systems in some of Africa’s most complex state and nation-building projects. This timely book comes at a turbulent moment in global politics as waves of populist protests gain traction, and concerns continue to grow about fake news, social media echo chambers, and the increasing role of both traditional and new media in waging wars or influencing elections. Focusing on comparative cases from a historical perspective and the choices and ideas that informed the approaches of some of Africa’s leaders, including guerrilla commanders Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Nicole Stremlau offers a unique political insight into the development of contemporary media systems in Africa.

ConflictNET website launched

ConflictNET has launched its project website. Nicole Stremlau, head of the PCMLP, has received a 1.5 million euro European Research Council grant to fund and lead ConflictNET. The project examines how social media affect the balance between peace-building efforts and attempts to perpetuate violence in conflict-affected communities. Geographically, ConflictNET focuses on conflict related to religion and politics in Eastern Africa as an entry point to understand the complex relationship between social media and conflict.

The project will also establish the Social Media, Conflict and Migration Observatory as a unique platform to develop public and policy engagement and debate on critical issues related to social media, conflict, governance, and migration.

On the website, you will find more information about the research questions and the project team. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please feel free to send the project team a message.

Principal investigator: Nicole Stremlau

Dr Nicole Stremlau is Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy and a Research Fellow in the Centre of Socio-Legal Studies.

Nicole Stremlau’s research focuses on media and governance, particularly in areas of conflict and insecurity in Africa. Her most recent projects examine the role of new media in political participation and governance; media law and regulation in the absence of government or in weak states; the role of media in conflict, peacebuilding and the consolidation of political power; and how governments attempt to engage citizens and communicate law-making processes. Stremlau’s doctoral work explored the role of media during the guerrilla insurgencies in Uganda and Ethiopia, and how the successive governments used the media to consolidate political power in the aftermath of violence.

While Stremlau continues to research and write on Ethiopia, her more recent research has been on media and conflict in Somalia and Somaliland, which has received funding from the United Nations, among others. Stremlau is currently writing a monograph on the Politics of Communication in Africa. Her research has contributed to academic journals, including the International Journal of Communication and the Journal of Eastern African Studies, as well as to research by governmental organizations such as the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development.

As Head of PCMLP, Stremlau develops and manages international programmes on media law and policy, including the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme. She has established links between PCMLP with universities, law firms and media companies in India, China, Eastern Africa and the Middle East. Stremlau is co-director of the annual Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute, a researcher and author for the Horn of Africa for the annual Freedom House Press Freedom Rankings and an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Communications Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to coming to PCMLP, Stremlau was director of the Africa programme at the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research where she initiated a led the East African Journalists Fellowship Programme, as well as research projects on media and election violence and public opinion research in Darfur. She has been a regular contributor to Janes Intelligence Review and has consulted for the World Bank in Addis Ababa as well as for Human Rights Watch. Stremlau lived in Ethiopia for several years where she conducted research and was a features writer at the Ethiopian Reporter.

Nicole Stremlau’s blog on the Huffington Post.

Selected Publications:

Gagliardone, I. Pohjonen, M., Taflan, P., Stremlau, N. et. al. 2015. Mechachal: Online Speech and Elections in Ethiopia. Report 1. University of Oxford, PCMLP Report.

Stremlau, N. and R. Osman. 2015. Courts, Clans and Companies: Mobile Money and Dispute Resolution in Somaliland. Stability: Journal of International Development, 4(1).

Stremlau, N., E. Fantini and R. Osman. 2015. The Political Economy of the Media During the Somali Civil War. Review of African Political Economy, 42(145).

Stremlau, N., E. Fantini and I. Gagliardone. 2015. Patronage, politics and performance: radio call-in programmes and the myth of accountability, Third World Quarterly, 36(8):1510-1526.

Gagliardone, I, A. Kalemera, L. Kogen, L. Nalwoga, N. Stremlau, and W. Wairagala, 2015. In Search of Local Knowledge on ICTs in Africa. Stability: Journal of International Development, 4(1).

Stremlau, N. and I. Gagliardone. 2015. Media, Conflict and Political Transitions in Africa. In Zielonka, J. (ed) Media and Politics in New Democracies. Oxford University Press.

Price, M. and N. Stremlau 2014. Strategic Communications and the Avoidance of Violent Conflict. In Hoffman, J. and Hawkins V. (eds) Communications for Peace: Charting an Emerging Field. Routledge.

Stremlau, N. 2014. Media, Participation and Constitution-Making in Ethiopia. Journal of African Law, 58 (2): 231-249.

Stremlau, N. 2014. In Search of Evidence: Media and Governance in Fragile States. Global Media Journal 4(2).

Shoemaker, E. and N. Stremlau. 2014. Media and Conflict: An Assessment of the Evidence. Progress in Development Studies, 14(2): 181-195.

Stremlau, N. and E. Fantini. 2013. Talking Politics: A Comparative Analysis of Somali Radio Call-in Programmes. Report for the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM, 69pp.

Stremlau, N. 2013. Hostages of Peace: The Politics of Radio Liberalization in Somaliland. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 7(2): 239-257.

Stremlau, N. 2013. Conflict and Post-Conflict Media Development in Somalia: Towards a Diagnostic Research Approach. Journal of Media, War and Conflict, 6(3): 279-293.

Stremlau, N., E. Fantini and R. Osman. 2013. Power and Politics: The Structure of Local Radio Broadcasters in Somalia. Report for the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM, 81pp.

Stremlau, N. 2013. Somalia: Media Law in the Absence of a State. Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 8(2): 159-174.

Gagliardone, I., N. Stremlau, and D. Nkrumah. 2012. Partner, Prototype or Persuader? China’s Renewed Engagement with Ghana. Journal of Communications, Politics and Culture, 45(2): 174-196.

Gagliardone, I. and N. Stremlau 2012. Digital Media, Diasporas and Conflict in the Horn of Africa. In M. Dragomir and M. Thompson (eds). Mapping Digital Media. London: Open Society Institute.

Price, M. and N. Stremlau. 2012. Media and Transitional Justice: Towards a Systematic Approach, International Journal of Communication, 2: 1077-1099.

Stremlau, N. 2012. Customary Law and Media Regulation in Conflict and Post-Conflict States. In M. Price and S. Verhulst (eds), Handbook of Media Law and Policy: A Socio-Legal Exploration. Abington: Routledge.

Stremlau, N. and R. Osman. 2012. Media Narratives and Constitution-making in Somalia. Report for the United Nations Political Office in Somalia. 

Stremlau, N. 2011. The Press and the Political Restructuring of Ethiopia, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 5(4): 716-732.

– Also in Abbink, J. and T. Hagmann. 2013. Reconfiguring Ethiopia: The Politics of Authoritarian Reform. Abdington: Routledge.

Stremlau, N. and M. Price. 2011. Communications and Leadership in Crisis States. Background article for the 2011 World Bank’s World Development Report: Conflict, Security and Development.

Shoemaker, E. and Stremlau, N. 2011. Media and Political Choice: An Assessment of the Evidence. Report from the Justice and Security Programme, London School of Economics to the UK Department for International Development (DFID). 

Stremlau, N. 2010. Towards a New Approach to Evaluation. In Price, M. and Abbott, S. (eds) Evaluating the Evaluators, Peter Lang, pp. 191-212.

Gagliardone, I., M. Repnikova and N. Stremlau. 2010. Where East Meets West: The Influence of China on Media Development in Africa. ESRC Report by PCMLP, University of Oxford.

Stremlau, N. 2010. Communication and Governance in Somaliland. Report for the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office, 126 pp.

Stremlau, N. 2010. Somalia Media Mapping. Report for the United Nations and African Union Information Support Team in Somalia, 84 pp.

Price, M, I. al Marashi and N. Stremlau. 2009. Media in the Peacebuilding Process: Ethiopia and Iraq, in Norris, P. (ed.) Public Sentinel. Washington DC: The World Bank. 

Stremlau, N., M. Blanchard, Y. Gabobe, and F. Ahmed. 2009. Media and Elections in Somaliland: Lessons from Kenya. Annenberg Occasional Paper Series, 45pp.

Stremlau, N. and M. Price. 2009. Media and Post-election Violence in Eastern Africa. Annenberg Occasional Paper Series, 45pp.

Gagliardone, I. and N. Stremlau. 2008. Public Opinion Research in a Conflict Zone: Grassroots Diplomacy in Darfur. International Journal of Communication, 2: 1085-113.

Price, M., I. al Marashi and N. Stremlau2008. Polarization and the Media: The Problem with the Governance Agenda in Post-Conflict States. Discussion paper for the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Stremlau, N. 2008. Freedom of Information Act in Ethiopia. Report for The World Bank.

Allen, T. and Stremlau, N. (2006) Media Policy, Peace and State Reconstruction. In Hemer, O. and Tufte, T. (eds.). Media and Global Change: Rethinking Communication for Development. Nordicom.

– Spanish Translation: published by Publicaciones Cooperativas, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2008.

Additional publications:

Freedom House– Responsible for the annual ratings and narratives for the sections on Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia for the World Press Freedom Rankings book (2008- present).

Janes Intelligence Review Twice yearly contributor of the Ethiopia files including assessments of economic, social, political and security issues (2006- 2009).

Stremlau, N. (2009) Review: Press, Politics and Public Policy in Uganda. Equid Novi . 30(2).

Stremlau, N. (2008) Transferred Hostility: Ethiopia and Eritrea’s Unregulated Tensions. Janes Intelligence Review, May 2008.

Stremlau, N. (2004). Review: Information Intervention. Progress in Development Studies, 4(3), pp. 271-273.

Research assistant: Tim Epple

Tim Epple joined ConflictNET in June 2018 to conduct research and support the project’s online representation. He carries out archival research on the legacy of media in the Somali conflict, provides desk-based research support to a project on the use of biometrics in the Horn of Africa, and maintains the ConflictNET microsite.

Tim earned a Master of Science in African Studies from the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. In addition to his role with ConflictNET, he works as a research analyst in the security consulting sector in London. His research interests include the social media-conflict nexus, peacekeeping, and forced migration, with a regional focus on the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. Tim is a steering committee member of the OxPeace Network, a multi-disciplinary initiative that promotes the academic study of peace at the University of Oxford.

Postdoctoral researcher: Eleanor Marchant

Eleanor R Marchant is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. She recently received her PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied under Dr John L. Jackson Jr, the incoming Dean of the Annenberg School. Her research brings a deep-dive anthropological perspective to examining the relationship between the internet, rapidly changing new technologies and the African societies that shape and are shaped by them. Eleanor’s doctoral work is an empirically rich exploration of the experiences of entrepreneurs, investors, and programmers designing, building, and funding new communication technologies in Nairobi, Kenya. Drawing from first-hand experience during an extended multi-year ethnography of Nairobi’s tech sector, Eleanor provides an insightful analysis of the internationally engaged, nature of technology production on the African continent, and the technological and cultural narratives that shape, and at times inhibit, that work. Eleanor has been a fellow at the Center for Global Communications Studies, iHub Nairobi, and the Media Institute in Nairobi. She also brings a practitioner’s perspective to her research, drawing on six years working as a media investment and development practitioner with a focus in the West and East African regions for both Media Development Investment Fund and Freedom House.

 

Education:

BSc., Economics and Politics, Bristol University, Bristol, UK.

MA, International Relations, New York University, New York, USA.

MA, Communications, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

PhD, Communications, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

 

Selected Publications:

PhD Thesis: Eleanor R Marchant, “Anyone Anywhere: Narrating African Innovation in a Global Community of Practice” University of Pennsylvania PhD Thesis, (University of Pennsylvania 2018)

Eleanor R Marchant, ‘Organizational Culture and Hybridity: The hybridization of non-profit and for-profit organizational culture in the Kenyan tech sector’ in Bitange Ndemo and Tim Weiss (eds), Digital Kenya: An Entrepreneurial Revolution in the Making (Palgrave Macmillan 2017)

Eleanor Marchant, ‘Who is ICT Innovation for? Challenges to Existing Theories of Innovation, a Kenyan Case Study’ (CGCS Occasional Paper Series on ICTs, Statebuilding, and Peacebuilding in Africa, 4, 2015)

Eleanor R Marchant, ‘Interactive Voice Response and Radio for Peacebuilding: A Macro View of the Literature and Experiences from the Field’ (CGCS, February 2016)

 

Twitter: @ermarchant

Internet Shutdowns in Africa Workshop

In June 2018 we convened a workshop on internet shutdowns in Africa with the University of Johannesburg’s School of Communication. This workshop brought together scholars from across the continent to discuss internet shutdowns in comparative perspective. Elections, the role of civil society groups, and the political motivations for shutdowns were discussed in depth. A report of the workshop will be available soon. The agenda is available here.