Technology makes transnational conflict monitoring faster than ever


A study published in the latest issue of International Studies Perspectives describes the authors' experience using contemporary web-based communication technology and advances in inexpensive computer processing to implement a seamless conflict monitoring system. As part of the Kansas Event Data system (KEDS) the authors joined forces with the Swiss Peace Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Bern, Switzerland, to provide real-time monitoring and reporting of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. "We see the Israel-Palestine case, along with other well-covered conflicts such as those in Northern Ireland and in the former Yugoslavia, as test beds for how event data might be used for conflict monitoring in the best circumstances," the authors Philip Schrodt, Deborah Gerner, and Ömür Yilmaz explain.

Modern electronic communication tools such as email and the Web enable policy-orientated groups to collaborate easily across great distances. While this process may appear unexceptional by today's standards, "…this exchange of information that is made in near real-time at zero marginal cost would, as recently as 10 years ago, have required either expensive international courier services or slow international mail," the authors state. Their FAST project is alone in combining systematic quantitative analysis with qualitative analysis and field reports. The authors find these brief bulleted points necessary; there is a decline of U.S. audiences watching new stories (CNN dropped from 2.5 million viewers during the Iraq war 2003 to 413,000 in the summer of 2003) and the news providers suffer from "media fatigue" in which the level of coverage decreases or simplifies as time passes. The efforts of these two non-governmental organizations produce reports that are ready for distribution to policy-makers in European governments and international organizations. "FAST updates are targeted at policy-makers who are looking for a condensed summary of the most important trends in a conflict…" the authors explain.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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