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Information as the Cause and Cure: How Technology Shapes Modern-Day Conflicts Prepared by Arzoo Riaz Chaudhry, Rachel Cleary, Amy Hillock, Katie Jessup, Roxanna Kobziar, Nadia Rasul, Alex Schulman and Marie Jeanne Smith Advisor Ambassador Rafat Mahdi

The New School University Graduate Program in International Affairs

Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development


This report has drawn on the advice and insights of many individuals including Ambassador Rafat Mahdi and Mark Johnson. The entire team would like to thank Sanjana Hattotuwa for sharing his expertise regarding information and communication technologies in Sri Lanka, Tony Karon for providing invaluable perspective on Egyptian politics and Enayet Madani for shedding light on the multidimensional conflict in Afghanistan. Special thanks to Enrica Murmura and the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (GAID).

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Introduction Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Overview of the Role of ICTs in Conflict Situations Stakeholders Challenges to Effective ICT Implementation

2 5 6 8

Case Studies Rwanda: Lessons on the Power of Radio to Inform and Educate Bosnia: The Impact of Media and Importance of Peacekeepers Sri Lanka: ICTs in Cyber Propaganda and Conflict Transformation Afghanistan: ICT use for Stability, Reconstruction and Peace Egypt: Social Movement Amplified through Social Media Mexico: The Use of ICTs in Relation to Drug Cartel Violence

11 14 16 19 22 27


Lessons Learned














Afghan e-Quality Alliances Afghanistan Next Generation e-Learning Bosnia and Herzegovina Commission for Science and Technology for Development Committee to Project Journalists District Communication Network Development and Institutionalization Support Centre Digital Opportunity Trust Direct to Home Economic and Social Council Egyptian Democratic Academy European Union Global Alliance for ICTs and Development Human Rights Watch International Atomic Energy Agency International Convention on Civil and Political Rights Information and Communication Technologies Information and Communication Technologies for Development International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda International Press Institute International Development Association Internet Service Providers Yugoslav People’s Army Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Millennium Development Goals North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Non-Governmental Organisation National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority National Television of Tamileelam Open Broadcast Network Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Project Development and Project Management Practicum in International Affairs Rwandan Patriotic Front Reporters Sans Frontières Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Transitional Administration United Nations Children’s Fund United Nations Protection Force United States Agency for International Development Voice of the Tigers Microwave Access

Executive Summary In the last three decades, innovations in information and communication technologies have altered traditional forms of global economics, dialogue and interconnections. As the use of digital ICTs has become more conventional, they have frequently been incorporated into the development of conflict situations. A crisis is typically accompanied by a breakdown in communication. The inability to access reliable information can play a significant role in heightening tensions and escalating violence. Information and communication technologies provide a means to discourage the progression of conflict. The use of modern technologies in post-conflict situations encourages development and the reconstruction process. The findings in this report demonstrate the importance of the proper use of information and communication technologies to promote global peace and reconciliation. The cases of Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Egypt and Mexico, provide examples of the use of specific information and communication technologies in the framework of these particular post and present conflicts. When applied appropriately, information technologies have the ability to dispel conflict situations through increased communication and education initiatives that promote accuracy and foster understanding. This report advocates for the increased use of ICTs to prevent and diffuse conflict situations. We divided this report into four sections. The first section includes an introduction to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the role they play in conflict situations. This section also explains the coordination between The New School Practicum Project and the UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (GAID). GAID strives to incorporate a multilateral approach to the use of information and communication technologies in development in order to facilitate the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As such, this introduction touches on the utility of information technologies to achieve the MDGs. One of the main questions that arise when considering ICT use is the concept of a global information society and the human right of access to information. Access to information is a reoccurring theme throughout the case studies. In order to understand ICT use in conflict situations, it is necessary to provide a definition of conflict and explain the parameters of conflict, as applied throughout this report. Stakeholders play a major role in the positive or negative application of information and communication technologies. ICTs are simply a technology, an inherently neutral tool used to communicate and disseminate information. While positive ICT use can help spread peace, negative use of ICTs can foster violence: “ICTs can – and are – increasingly used by repressive regimes to block, monitor, censor or interrupt communication”.1 On the positive side, the use of ICTs are instrumental in increasing and improving the rate at which a response or protection is given to communities or individuals in need. Successful implementation of ICTs must overcome certain challenges. This report explores the challenges of digital divide, infrastructure, censorship, trust deficit, ICT literacy and education, political will, urban versus rural society, religious and cultural differences, corruption and cyber-threats. The second portion of this report concentrates on the case study countries. Rwanda is the first case study discussed due to radio’s indisputable role in inciting the genocide between the Hutus and Tutsis in the early 1990s. The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is similar to Rwanda in that traditional media was used to spread propaganda to encourage ethnic tensions. Sri Lanka exemplifies the exploitation of the Internet to extend messages of hate and dissatisfaction to garner support for opposing organisations. The conflict in Afghanistan is categorised by the use of space-based technologies such as drones, as well as some extremely successful education initiatives through e-Learning centres. Next, Egypt provides a very recent and poignant example of the use of social media in a conflict situation. During the January 2011 protests, social media became the primary means used to communicate and share information, which ultimately led to the fall of the Mubarak regime. The final case study is Mexico, which is an outlier as a conflict country because the on-going cartel violence is unrecognised as a conflict by the international community. However, Mexico is included in this report due to the integral role of social media in relaying information of the dire situation in Mexico. Cartels control the flow of information through intimidation to dissuade reports on deaths and violence. Social media is one of the main mediums to gain access to accurate information on the current state of affairs in Mexico. As opposed to traditional media, social media provides a forum for the discussion and sharing of information with relative anonymity. The Egyptian and Mexican case studies clearly illustrate the growing prominence of digital media as sources of information. The last two sections, lessons learned and recommendations, incorporate both the positive and negative analysis of the findings of our research, regarding fair access to accurate information through ICT use. We conclude the report with a set of strong recommendations that are necessary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ICTs in conflict situations.




Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is an umbrella term that encompasses any communication device or ITU Statistics ( application, including but not limited to, radio, television, landline telephones, mobile phones, video conferencing applications, Global ICT developments, 2001-2011* Internet, e-Governance, e-Learning, computer and network hardware and software, and satellite systems. Though the technological innovations and capabilities of individual ICTs are important, ICTs in general have a far-reaching ability to provide 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011* greater access to information and communication to underserved populations. The successful employment of ICTs can help in the Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions 15.5 18.4 22.2 27.3 33.9 41.8 50.6 59.9 68.3 78.0 86.7 Internet users of high global poverty levels. 8.0By increasing 10.7 12.3 14.1 15.7 developed 17.5 20.6 ICTs23.5 26.3the digital 29.7 gap 34.7 eradication access to ICTs in less nations, can close Fixed telephone lines 16.6 17.2 17.8 18.7 19.3 19.2 18.8 18.6 17.8 17.2 16.6 between developed and underdeveloped countries. Active mobile-broadband subscriptions 4.0 6.3 7.8 12.6 17.0 Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions













Figure *Estimates 1

Global ICT developments, 2001-2011* &!!$! Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions Internet users Fixed telephone lines Active mobile-broadband subscriptions Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions

Per 100 inhabitants
















* Estimate. Source: ITU World Telecommunication /ICT Indicators database

Moreover, the use of information and communication technologies can be integral in conflict situations. As this report’s case studies will demonstrate, the manner in which stakeholders use ICTs in conflict situations can affect the outcome of the conflict. ICTs can either play a role in the perpetuation or exacerbation of conflict or they can build peace. On both an inter-regional and regional level, prudent use of ICTs can successfully dispel misunderstandings that exist between two conflicting parties of interest, thereby bridging the gap to realise overlooked interests. ICTs can promote education to encourage understanding, tolerance and non-violent communication and behaviour among groups prone to disputes. For example, in Afghanistan, initiatives such as the Sesame Street Workshop intend to teach Afghan children tolerance, providing awareness of history and cultural diversity, which ultimately encourage a peaceful and stable society. The Sesame Street Workshop also broadcasts in Egypt, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Rwanda.3 ICTs have the potential to play an enormous role in the development of infrastructure, reducing future vulnerability to conflict. ICTs can promote poverty reduction, job creation and the improvement of health services and facilities. Better-developed infrastructure helps reduce the economic disparity between urban and rural populations. E-Learning initiatives reach out to disadvantaged members of society providing the ability to pursue higher levels of education. Through access to information and education materials, citizens have the opportunity to develop necessary skills for future employment.


The ICT arena is transforming drastically with the increasing implementation of space-based technologies. Space-based technology such as satellites and drones are effective tools for surveillance and can curtail insurgency in times of conflict. Additionally, space-based technologies can promote inter-regional communication through improved and cost-effective broadcasting. PIA at The New School We produced this report in conjunction with The New School Practicum Project and the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (UN GAID). The Practicum in International Affairs (PIA) is the capstone requirement for Masters Candidates at The New School. The PIA programme centres on the completion of a project assigned by an international organisation client. In coordination with the client, students work to clarify a Terms of Reference and then design and collaborate on an approach to the project. Students spend the majority of the semester collecting and analysing data, ultimately presenting their findings in a formal presentation to The New School community and the client organisation. Throughout the semester, the students meet with their faculty supervisor, who serves as both the project manager as well as a liaison between the students and the client organisation. The main objective of the Practicum is to provide students with practical experience in project development and management, as well as a basis for transition from an academic to a professional environment. In order to participate in the Practicum in International Affairs, students must have completed a prerequisite class in Project Development and Project Management (PDPM). This class provides students with the opportunity to gain understanding and practical skills necessary to be effective in project development and management. Each PDPM class is structured around the prospective Practicum project, allowing students to work on aspects of the project cycle – needs assessment, logical framework, strategic design, implementation, proposal and report writing, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation and advocacy – in the context of a future project.4 GAID For several years, The New School Practicum Project has had a relationship with GAID. The Alliance began in 2006 by the United Nations Secretary-General, and came into full existence after coordination with international governments, the private sector, civil society, technical and Internet communities, and academic officials. GAID was established in response to the call for a global body that would effectively address the transnational and cross-cultural issues related to the use of information and communication technology in development, in an effort to achieve the internationally agreed upon Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is clear that any one actor will not achieve the MDGs, but rather a worldwide partnership is essential for results. GAID promotes cross-sectorial communication for multi-stakeholder partnerships to explore the utilisation of ICTs to advance development. The mission of The Global Alliance exemplifies the belief that a “people-centered and knowledge-based information society is essential for achieving better life for all”.5 GAID offers a multi-stakeholder contribution for decision making intergovernmental bodies, namely the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Commission for Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). Although GAID is a major connector between multilaterals, governments and the private sector, GAID does not have any operational or implementation power. GAID seeks to provide an inclusive forum to work towards achieving development goals, specifically poverty reduction. The Alliance has several main objectives: to mainstream the global ICT agenda into the broader United Nations development agenda; to bring together key organisations involved in ICT for development (ICT4D) to enhance their collaboration and effectiveness to achieve the internationally agreed upon development goals; to raise awareness of policy makers on ICT4D policy issues; to facilitate identification of technological solutions for specific development goals and pertinent partnerships; to create an enabling environment and innovative business model for pro-poor investment and growth and for empowering people living in poverty; and finally, to act as a “think-tank” on ICT for development related issues.6 Millennium Development Goals Some of the major challenges for the international community in the 21st century involve global development and poverty eradication. These issues are often present in countries involved in conflict. Arguably, poverty eradication and development can lead to more peaceful and harmonious societies. If directed properly, information and communication technologies can play a very important role in this effort. ICTs can be instrumental in responding to development challenges when they empower the


poor and disadvantaged to strengthen economic and social development. Utilising the potential of ICTs can help achieve the MDGs.7 The Millennium Declaration specifically works to ensure that the benefits of ICTs are available to all people. The United Nations Millennium Declaration recognises that the international community has a “collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level”.8 At its most basic level, the MDGs assert that every person has the right to a standard of living that is free from hunger and violence. The Declaration's authors have set forth eight goals with targets and indicators, which they hope to achieve by the year 2015. The eighth and final Millennium Development goal, “to develop a global partnership for development”, pertains specifically to the introduction of information and communication technologies into lacking societies. The eighteenth target of the last MDG is “in cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies”.9 Information and communication technologies have successfully permeated almost every aspect of daily life across the globe. ICTs have increased the availability and access to information across state borders, and have served as a medium to exchange and share ideas on any number of topics.10 Communication and understanding of different communities, ethnicities and cultures can help alleviate and dispel conflict situations. Human Rights for Access to Information Since the 1990s, the term “global information society” has been consistent in policy discussions on ICTs. As states and individuals become more reliant on ICTs, the policy discourse of the global information society has become very broad, encompassing the following top global agendas: telecommunications and media regulation, digital convergence, radio frequency spectrum management, technical standardisation, Internet governance, trade in networked goods and services, competition policy, intellectual property, privacy and consumer protection, freedom of speech and censorship, network security and cyber crime, cultural and linguistic integrity, development and the global digital divide, e-Commerce, e-Government, e-Education.11 Despite all the developments in technology and the dialogue on the global information society, little has been internalised on the various human rights that accompany these technological advances. The main question that the concept of a global information society addresses is the link between human rights and issues arising from the information revolution, typically focusing on two concerns. The first concern is the use of ICTs to foster global awareness of human rights violations. By the 1980s, media captured violent suppression of political discontent in the Soviet bloc and other developing nations. The 1990s saw an increased use of the Internet to relay information on human rights abuses, and a vital means of communication for international and local actors.12 For example, in the conflict of Bosnia, the media coverage on the conflict attracted a huge amount of international attention, encouraging international involvement to cease the conflict. Related to the increased use and reliance on the Internet comes the second concern regarding government actions to impose laws restricting privacy and free speech on the Internet. Many governments, whether democratic or undemocratic, have demonstrated their ability to extend state control into cyberspace by curtailing information in the name of protection of public morality, cultural integrity and political control.13 When a government infringes on the right to access information on the Internet, this questions individuals’ rights to the freedom of information. “Freedom of Information is a fundamental human right and the touchstone for all freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated”.14 The freedom of information is the unrestricted freedom to search for and receive information by technological means from any public source.15 As evidenced by the case of Egypt, there are a number of ways that a government can restrict their citizens’ access to send or receive information. After the anti-government protests in January 2011, the Egyptian government attempted to block civilian Internet service to prohibit protesters from organising themselves through social media sites, as well as sharing information to the broader public and the world. Fortunately, civilians were able to create alternative Internet networks to communicate and post information. Aside from the Egyptian case, broader examples of government infringement on the right to information include state-enforced filtering of software to block access to unauthorised content or blacklisted websites, thereby only allowing state approved content to be viewed. Additionally, excessive state surveillance on websites and Internet communication can also lead to civilian self-censorship, which directly goes against any conceivable concept of freedom of speech.16


Overview of the Role of ICTs in Conflict Situations Conflicts are a frequent component of human social relations. Conflict situations are so complex and elusive in nature that an attempt to reach a definitive and comprehensive definition of conflict proves difficult. Conflict situations may be placed into diverse categories, each with particular origins and numerous possible consequences. The typical conflict has many actors, many goals and many issues, making it challenging to dissect. Conflicts can occur among States or within individual States. The sources of conflict vary considerably, stemming from issues related to ethnic and religious intolerance, to the unequal sharing of resources or corruption in political systems. Our research purposely incorporates a broad understanding of conflict, in an effort to expand the scope of current attitudes toward the consideration of existing conflict situations around the globe. Conflict Defined For the theoretical purposes of this work, our understanding of conflict incorporates the definition given by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research: Conflicts are clashes of interest (differences of position) concerning national values (territory, secession, decolonisation, autonomy, system/ideology, national power, regional predominance, international power, resources, other). These clashes are of a certain duration and scope, involving at least two parties (organised groups, states, groups of states, organisations of states) determined to pursue their interests and win their cases.17 Our study examines various levels of conflict situations, from inner group conflict – which arise within a particular group, whether it is a religious, ethnic, political or any other type of identity group – to inter-group conflict, between large organised social or identity groups.18 In consideration of the broad scope of our definition of conflict, we must also account for the increasingly vital role of ICTs to achieve worldwide political, social and economic stability. Dimensions of Conflict Conflicts may or may not include the following dimensions: An absence of individual security; the possibility of ethnic cleansing and genocide, large numbers of displaced civilians and refugees; unchallenged criminal activities; humanitarian suffering on an enormous scale; numerous armed factions; the collapse of the civil infrastructure; and the absence of governance and a legal system.19 It is erroneous to assume that genuine conflicts must be characteristically violent or destructive. For example, conflict characterised by the struggle for agency or power in a given society can be non-violent in nature, whereas armed conflict consists of the actual, intentional and widespread use of armed force between and within states, nations, political communities or other parties. Acts of aggression, societal disruption, violence and casualties often characterise violent conflicts. Furthermore, violence has many dimensions aside from mere acts of physical aggression. Broadly understood, violence consists of actions, words, attitudes, structures or systems that cause physical, psychological, social or environmental damage and/or prevent people from reaching their full human potential. In this report, we have decided to define the current cartel violence in Mexico as a conflict, despite the fact that the international community disregards the current violence in the country as a conflict. Mexico has been included in this report because this case study demonstrates a contemporary widespread conflict situation highly affected and intertwined by social media. Indeed, there exist a wide variety of perspectives on how to describe the situation in Mexico, including whether to define it as a war, insurgency or conflict.20 We contend that the large incidences of violence and particularly targeted killings (especially of journalists and social media users), allegations of abuses against Mexican security sector forces, forced disappearances, high levels of crime and general terror qualifies the cartel violence in Mexico as a conflict situation. ICTs in Case Study Countries The Rwandan case study clearly illustrates the capability of an information and communication technology to influence public opinion with such magnitude that the ICT was the main mechanism driving the conflict forward. The radio incited as well as exacerbated the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 by broadcasting false information and propaganda by Hutu extremists. In the


Bosnian and Herzegovinian (BiH) conflict, warring parties utilised radio and television to spread nationalistic messages to escalate the ethnic conflict. In Sri Lanka, the LTTE used the Internet to broadcast propaganda and to raise funds from supporters. The Sri Lankan conflict portrays yet another media outlet that focuses on spreading information and garnering national and international attention. In post-conflict reconstruction work, the Internet plays a major role in education and reconciliation efforts. The Internet has opened up innumerable channels for communication, reduced the cost of networking and international business and allowed special interest groups and human rights organisations to spread their messages. It simplifies communication and information sharing, though it does little to control the security of communication. Increased access to the Internet has presented opportunities for criminals to manipulate and abuse the susceptibilities of the network for their own gains.21 The Internet has facilitated global communication across state borders for NGOs, and has allowed for the creation of new online groups. These groups and organisations can have a positive impact on a society through integration, cooperation, and liberation, as well as negative effects of terrorism, transnational crime and the destabilisation of countries.22 Currently, ICTs are playing a greater role in post-conflict Rwanda and Bosnia. Progressive ICT infrastructure growth aids recovery and development initiatives through online education tools such as e-Education, e-Health and e-Government, to connect the population and to create empowerment. In the Bosnian case, the international community and the Bosnian government have invested a great deal on the ICT sector, primarily for the purposes of meeting demands for integration into the European Union (EU) by 2014. In Afghanistan, significant ICT use has been concentrated on post-war reconstruction and stability through online education. In addition, space-based technology is widely used during the continuing conflict by the United States. Satellite and drone technologies survey and monitor Taliban activities. However, the Taliban also have access to ICTs, and use communication methods as a major platform to spread messages. Egypt and Mexico are the most noteworthy examples of the use of social media in a conflict situation. In the January 2011 protests in Egypt, social media such as Facebook and Twitter assisted the coordination of protests and helped to quickly publicize real time information from the movement. Mobile phones and text messaging are also an important mode of communication, especially for Egypt’s young tech savvy generation. In Mexico, social media serves as one of the only vehicles to report on the atrocities taking place due to drug cartel violence. Information regarding drug cartel activities is limited because cartels violently target journalists. Clandestine uses of social media platforms such as Twitter or YouTube are the only way to bring awareness to the situation. The United States is closely following the developing situation in Mexico, and has deployed intelligence-collection drones to help the Mexican government monitor drug cartels.

Stakeholders The international community has become increasingly dependent on information and communication technologies. The global connection through Internet, email, satellite, television and mobile phones has increased greatly in recent years.23 The Internet is the most impressive example – in the 1990s, there were only a handful of websites online, but by 2000, the Internet held several million websites. While increased access to ICTs is due, in part, to globalisation, results from a decrease in costs to produce and use communication information makes ICTs more available to people across the world. Despite a significant digital gap in many developing and rural countries, ICTs have undoubtedly become more widespread and decentralised.24 State actors, non-governmental organisations, intergovernmental organisations and key stakeholders involved in conflict situations currently underutilise ICTs to their detriment. ICTs, as vital tools for the dissemination of information, have the potential for either positive or negative use throughout the life of conflict situations. Social media and the Internet have the unprecedented ability to form broad networks of communication, which encourage the spreading of awareness of important issues. For example, in the case of the Egyptian Uprising, social media encouraged a generally peaceful, mass-resistant movement to challenge the status quo of government corruption. Conversely, in Rwanda, media promulgation of hate propaganda exacerbated the conflict. When utilised to their full potential, information and communication technologies increase the opportunity to participate in global dialogue and information sharing. All stakeholders can make this opportunity more available for their constituents: “It comes down to investing in people, ideas, and creating an environment for them to succeed”.25


Technological industries must continue to develop technologies, as well as solutions and services culturally relevant to the social and economic conditions of the recipient country. By tailoring certain technologies to the beneficiaries, local civilians will be able to use ICTs for the purposes they deem most necessary or urgent. Governments must produce a receptive environment for new technologies, with a sustainable and secure atmosphere for investment, innovation and entrepreneurship. NGOs are imperative for their community-based work, and have the capability to relay certain technological needs of local people to the government and technological industry. Furthermore, the international community, along with international organisations and the United Nations, can neutrally support technological development in developing countries through expertise to target investments on development issues.26 The large number of stakeholders that can be involved in the process of using and abusing information and communication technologies, makes it difficult to ascertain who is responsible for maintaining national and international security regarding ICTs. A national government, arguably, is the most important provider of state security, even in cyberspace. However, in some cases, as this report’s case studies will show, a state government may be the perpetrator in a conflict situation. Rogue governments can impinge on the security of ICTs and could use ICTs to spread violent ideologies or messages to bolster a conflict. Non-state actors may also play a role. Transnational corporations, interest organisations, social movements and individuals are also deeply involved in the employment of ICTs, and may be challengers or providers of security.27 National Government and Government Agencies Ideally, governments are an extension of its citizens working to protect and secure the nation by maintaining sovereignty and the safety of its people. However, history has shown that this has not always been the case. Totalitarian and oppressive regimes are a common theme in past and contemporary international relations. Tyrannical governments, historically, have maintained control over the nation by controlling information. Currently, such a feat is nearly impossible. In the wake of January 2011 protests in Egypt, the Egyptian government attempted to block Internet connectivity. The attempt lasted only hours, as citizens were able to set up alternative networks to share and receive information. There was also a huge international outcry condemning such a repressive tactic by the Egyptian government. In the past, traditional communication systems, such as radios and television, were much easier to control by the state. They allowed the government to relay messages to the entire population. In recent years, privately owned professional media outlets, human rights organisations and individuals, have taken advantage of these same traditional communication systems to circulate nongovernmental information. The international flow of information has become so rapid that state capacity to successfully control the dispersion of information, either into or out of its territory, has become increasingly difficult. In order for a government to successfully control the free flow of information across the various forms of ICTs, a state must have the necessary infrastructure to monitor the content of the information coming into and leaving state borders. Even more difficult to overcome, is the various entry points by which information can enter or exit a state, via the use of mobile phones, text messaging, social media and satellite communications.28 Intergovernmental Organisations Partnerships between international organisations, the United Nations, and various international governments can strengthen a global policy discourse that will promote the use of information and communication technologies for development and to abolish worldwide levels of poverty, in a multi-stakeholder, open and inclusive approach.29 This international collaboration is taking place in Afghanistan, where the World Bank approved a grant of $50 million to the Afghan government to support ICT infrastructure development.30 Some of the goals include improving IT training and increasing access to telephone and Internet services. The World Bank is also involved in Sri Lanka with an e-Sri Lanka Development initiative that enhances ICT projects and aims to create employment in the ICT sector.31 The United States has a stake in Afghanistan interests. American donors such as USAID have provided the capital necessary for Afghanistan to rebuild universities and other high education facilities to increase civilian access to education. Other education initiatives include development in e-Learning and online education. The United States military has also introduced the use of space-based technologies such as drones and micro-satellites in Afghanistan in an effort to maintain safety and to monitor militant activity.


NGOs and Advocates International and domestic non-governmental organisations have a vested interest in the proper use of information and communication technologies. In pre- and post-conflict situations, ICT use centres on education initiatives. Education can be in the form of technological training and capacity building, as well as efforts to improve reconciliation. NGOs can use ICTs as tools to gather information about public opinion on lingering ethnic tensions in post conflict states, using this information to encourage better communication, thereby dispelling ethnic tensions. Furthermore, NGOs increasingly use ICTs as tools to communicate with local populations. This practice may be useful in some of the case study countries presented in this report. Civilians and Conflicting Parties “Civilians are not only increasingly directly caught up in conflicts, but control over the civilian population is often one of the stakes in contemporary conflicts. ICTs can play both a constructive role in trying to empower civilians caught in conflict, but can also be used by actors to disseminate distorted information”.32 Nevertheless, ICTs can help spread messages of peace or pertinent real time information about oncoming attacks or safe houses. Civilians are usually the largest casualties in conflict situation. In addition to direct attacks, killings, destruction of properties, livelihoods and forced displacement, civilians caught in conflict can suffer psychological trauma. Some difficulties arise in the use of information and communication technology in civilian protection. In order to optimise the use of mobile phones, satellite phones, Internet communication, radio and television broadcasting, it is necessary to consider the risks that civilians are incurring simply by using ICTs. In some cases of conflict or violence, civilian participation in information sharing between each other or protective forces can put them at risk for a targeted attack for disclosing sensitive information. “In particular areas with scarce means of communication, people with mobile phones, satellite phones, or users of Internet, are easily detectable and therefore may be exposed to danger”.33 Transnational Corporations and Technology Companies Transnational corporations are a significant source of large-scale hardware and software production. Corporations are constantly looking for new markets to introduce new technological innovations. Large international companies dominate the world market for technological advancements through business funded research and development. About 90% of global expenditure on research and development is in highly developed and industrialised countries. Along with the USA, six other countries account for 90% of research and development, the US accounting for 40% of that figure. In the United States, 50 companies out of 41,000, provide about half of all industry funded research and development in technology.34 The handover of technological equipment or hardware is quite easy and available to all countries willing to pay for it. The difficulties arise in transferring technical knowledge and the intangible elements of technology, such as user knowledge and the positive uses of ICTs. Recipient countries and technological companies must take the successful transfer of a technology more seriously; it is a long process involving local participation and practice to fully understand the inherent elements of technology.35

Challenges to Effective ICT Implementation Globalisation has led to the increase in availability of information and communication technologies in developing countries. Nevertheless, globalisation does not reduce the importance of local capacity to implement those technologies. Technological efficiency relies on the introduction of new technologies from across the world, but simple exposure is not enough. To ensure that use of technological knowledge, resources and information acquired through technological means is appropriate, individuals, institutions and governments must take significant measures.36 As demonstrated in the previous section on stakeholders, successful ICT implementation faces many inevitable challenges. Challenges centre on ten key issues: digital divide, infrastructure, censorship, trust deficit, knowledge dissemination, political will, urban versus rural society, the role of religion and cultural differences, corruption and cyber-threats. These ten challenges often overlap and fall into the four broad categories of ICT challenges: political, economic, socio-cultural and technical/practical. Effective deployment of OCTs requires overcoming different hurdles presented by these challenges.


Digital Divide In disadvantageous environments, lack of access to ICTs is a major obstacle to the implementation, reach and effectiveness of ICTs. The lack of availability of ICTs poses similar problems. While ICTs have the power to broaden networks of communication among populations, which historically, may have had very little contact, awareness, or interaction among one another, the vast socio-economic divide, which continues to exist between many urban and rural communities, presents challenges to ICT implementation. In Afghanistan, for example, the World Bank estimated that in 2002, approximately 99% of the population did not have access to telecommunication services and only five cities had functioning telephone services. While this number has since changed dramatically, increased attention to extend communication services to district and rural populations continues to be a challenge in Afghanistan. Infrastructure Lack of infrastructure poses major problems for the implementation, availability and access to ICTs. Some forms of ICTs require the need for technical expertise and skills, which may be lacking in some environments. Cost of use for ICTs is another area of concern, particularly in environments without the means to raise the necessary funds to support on-going ICT use. Finally, environments with poor infrastructure often lack the capacity to deal with unintended consequences of ICT use, such as environmental degradation and the need for energy efficient devices. Censorship Censorship prevents the dissemination of information to the public, in many cases limiting information concerning the political activities of the government. In Rwanda, the government continues to censor and repress the media, which means there are no independent journalists, television programmes or radio programmes outside of government control. This repression of freedom of speech hides human rights abuses and prevents dialogue that would challenge the status quo, when necessary. The most recent instance of government censorship was in Egypt following the January 2011 protests. The Egyptian government attempted to block Internet access to hinder protester communication, but the ban was ultimately unsuccessful. Trust Deficit The advancement of ICT technology has not only revolutionised how people obtain information, but also gives people the ability to disseminate false knowledge. Thus, the sharing of information on popular social media networks on the Internet is problematic concerning the validation of the authenticity of sources. Eyewitness accounts captured by pictures from mobile phones and posted to sites need to be scrutinised for authenticity. Governments often use ICTs as tools to disseminate official information to the masses, especially in rural areas. As demonstrated by the Rwandan case study, the connection between radio and a sense of “authority� led to the belief in the legitimacy of radio broadcasting. Coupled with the lack of any other accessible sources of information, the majority of the population put their trust into almost all information disseminated through radio and considered that information to be untarnished. Additionally, in Afghanistan, controversial utilisation of space-based technologies, particularly the use of drones, has been cause for scepticism amongst Afghan civilians and has created a trust deficit. ICT Literacy and Education Since ICTs fundamentally serve as tools for the dissemination of information, literacy is a necessary requirement for efficient ICT use. The effective use of ICTs increasingly depends on functional reading, computer skills and specific language literacy. There must also be a significant effort to educate and hone skills on Internet navigation.37 ICT implementers must be aware of language barriers due to differences in language, difference in dialects, and differences in levels of formality. For example, in BiH, the dissemination of information would have to accommodate the major spoken languages in the region: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. Political Will Lack of political will negatively affects the implementation of ICTs. The case of the Rwandan Genocide illustrates how the lack of political will from governments and intergovernmental organisations prevents the effective use of ICTs in curbing a conflict situation. Many critics believe that the conflict in Rwanda could have been halted, and perhaps even prevented, if the United 9

Nations had jammed radio signals from Hutu extremist radio stations, namely Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines. However, while the UN Security Council and the United States discussed this concept before and during the genocide, alleged concerns over political sovereignty prevented the implementation of a plan to curb the violence. In the case of BiH, the Serbian State and other nationalistic political leaders took over most forms of mainstream media and turned them into propaganda to support ethnic cleansing. Urban versus Rural Society ICTs have the power to broaden networks of communication between populations, which historically, may have had very little contact, awareness or interaction among one another. Unfortunately, the vast socio-economic divide, which continues to exist between many urban and rural communities, presents challenges to ICT implementation. In Rwanda, the recent expansion of ICTs to rural communities has helped bridge the gap between the rich and the poor population, which was an important source of tension before the genocide. Religious and Cultural Differences As ICTs become more available in developing countries, it is important that access to technology devices caters to local needs and that content is culturally relevant. For example, since the end of the war in BiH, ICT infrastructure has increased, however, because BiH is home to an ethnically diverse population, ICT dealings with the public must consider and respect the variety of customs. Furthermore, inhabitants identify mainly as Orthodox, Muslim, Catholic or Protestant. This means that people identifying with one of these affiliations have different figureheads or social leaders that they may look to for information or support. Successful ICT implementation will have to take the role of religion and cultural practices into account in order to gain local trust and support. Corruption In many environments, corruption is rampant in political structures and affects how organisations function. In the case of Mexico, years of drug cartel activity have lead to an environment of corruption, and cartels have enjoyed government protection in exchange for bribes.38 Thus, the Mexican government does not monitor the use of social media (especially Twitter, blogs, and YouTube), even when the information encourages the exacerbation of violence. Similarly, in Afghanistan, the Taliban seeks to intimidate and deter the Afghan population from supporting the government or security forces through threatening video and text messages.39 Cyber-threats “If modern, economically developed countries are increasingly becoming information societies, then threats to information can be seen as threats to the core of these societies”.40 As individuals and governments become more reliant on information and communication technology, they are also becoming more vulnerable to cyber-threats. In some cases, adversaries may be incapable of engaging in a military combat, though they can destroy an enemy by attacking information systems through the Internet. Former US Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge noted that “terrorists can sit at one computer connected to one network and can create world havoc, they don’t necessarily need bombs or explosives to cripple a sector of the economy or shut down a power grid”41. The probability of cyber-threats demonstrates how national borders between the international and domestic sphere have dissipated through the implementation of information and communication technologies. Not only would a cyber-threat destroy the targeted sector, but also it would seriously question the legitimacy of the sovereignty of a state. The deployment of a cyber-threat would compromise the ability of a government to control its national borders and citizens; “At stake are not only the tangible and intangible values of information, but also the ability of governments to control the course of events”.42



Case Studies

Rwanda: Lessons on the Power of ICTs to Inform and Educate The use of radio in the 1994 Rwandan genocide exemplifies the power of ICTs to inform and educate the public, especially in a country with a large rural population and a low literacy rate. Before the outbreak of violence, 44% of Rwandans were illiterate and the majority of the population relied on the radio as their primary source of information regarding current events in the country and around the world. In 1993, Hutu extremists established Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) as a tool to strategically dehumanise the Tutsi and spread false information about alleged Tutsi plans to dominate Hutus. With the majority of Rwandans listening to the radio for news and entertainment, RTLM’s propaganda quickly materialised into real threats in the minds of Hutu listeners. On 6 April 1994, unknown assailants shot down Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane and effectively ended the ceasefire between the Rwandan government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). As civil war erupted overnight, RTLM announced that the “final war” to “eliminate the cockroaches” had begun, and ordered the extermination of all Tutsis and moderate Hutus throughout the country. A History of Radio in Rwanda The Rwandan government used radio as its primary tool for communication with the population long before the genocide. Radio Rwanda, Rwanda’s only national radio station until 1993, broadcasted governmental decrees and proclamations to the masses on a daily basis.43 The connection between Radio Rwanda and official government information thus endowed radio broadcasting with a certain “authority” in the eyes of the people, and the lack of alternative sources led the majority to trust that information as legitimate.44 When civil war between the Tutsi led Rwandan Patriotic Front and Habyarimana’s government erupted in 1990, the RPF started broadcasting from the Ugandan border on their own radio station, Radio Muhabura. The station glorified the RPF, but did so in a nationalistic context that emphasised the national unity of all Rwandans and condemned racial ideology.45 The RPF preached that no distinctions existed between Hutus, Tutsis and Twa before Belgian colonisation and stressed the importance of constructing a Rwandan national identity free of ethnic prejudice. Through this mantra, the RPF managed to recruit several prominent Hutu leaders who, frustrated with Habyarimana’s government, joined the RPF’s ranks.46 With the RPF radio station gaining popularity among both Hutus and Tutsis, Hutu extremists formed their own radio station Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) in April 1993. Anti-Tutsi propaganda largely dominated RTLM broadcasts, which emphasised inherent ethnic differences between Hutus and Tutsis through informal mediums such as local music, listener call-ins and interviews with local Hutu extremists. This informal “talk-show” style of radio attracted listeners and many began to prefer RTLM to Radio Rwanda as a source of entertainment as well as news.47 Shortly after its creation, RTLM called for the death of Radio Rwanda’s director and swiftly replaced him with a Hutu extremist, thereby committing both of Rwanda’s radio stations to instigating violence against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Effectiveness of RTLM Propaganda As Radio Rwanda was the main source of information for Rwandan society, people began to regard RTLM with the same respect of “authority” after its formation in 1993. The station’s claims that the Tutsis stole Rwanda from its rightful Hutu inhabitants and that Tutsis were “cockroaches” that needed to be eliminated from the face of the earth encouraged and justified violence against Tutsis on a daily basis. RTLM also propagated false information about the RPF’s progress and fabricated false reports of attacks on Hutu civilians to convince Hutus that they were in imminent danger of reliving brutal Tutsi domination.48 As the tensions between the RPF and Habyarimana’s government escalated during the ceasefire, RTLM’s broadcasts incited so much fear and paranoia amongst the masses that most civilians expected to fight for their lives if war ever reached them.49 From the moment Habyarimana’s plane was shot down, RTLM played an active role in inciting genocide. Announcers listed the names and locations of Tutsis and moderate Hutus to kill, released license plate numbers so that victims could be easily hunted down and encouraged murder and rape to continue throughout the 100-day period. Only when the international media turned its


focus to the genocide and France threatened to withhold aid from the incumbent government did RTML instruct its listeners to clear the roads of bodies and “no longer kill…while others stand around and laugh”.50 In 2003, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) charged and prosecuted RTLM director Ferdinand Nahimana for inciting genocide through media. The charges included conspiracy, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity.51 According to the indictment statement, “Tutsis and others were killed and suffered serious bodily or mental harms as a result of the RTLM radio broadcasts”.52 The ICTR’s conclusion not only reinforces the claim that the radio played a large part in inciting the genocide, but also exposes the international community’s awareness of the power of ICTs as potential tools to incite violence and create conflict situations. Could Alternative Uses of ICTs Curb the Genocide? Many critics believe that the international community could have halted if not prevented the genocide by disrupting RTLM’s radio broadcasts. Roméo Dallaire, commander of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda from 1993-1994, consistently witnessed Hutu killers receive orders via radio and pleaded with the United Nations and the US government to “neutralise” RTLM so he could regain control of the situation.53 Human rights groups including the US Committee on Refugees and Human Rights Watch Africa met repeatedly with the United States government to support Dallaire’s request and advocate for radio jamming as a means of intervention.54 Tony Marley, the US military liaison to the Arusha Accords,55 eventually proposed three methods to stop RTLM’s broadcasts: destroying RTLM’s antenna, jamming their radio signals via aircraft and transmitting “counter broadcasts” urging perpetrators to stop the violence.56 The Clinton Administration, however, ruled that these tactics were too complicated, expensive and possibly prohibited by international law, and decided to send food relief instead. The Clinton Administration knew of the mass violence in Rwanda and the role radio played, but resisted any form of intervention for fear of experiencing a similar peacekeeping failure to Somalia the year before.57 In order to override international broadcasting agreements, the United States would have to recognise that genocide was taking place in Rwanda, which may have obligated the US to send troops.58 To avoid this possibility, the Clinton Administration cited international legal conventions, respect for national sovereignty and the American commitment to free speech as reasons not to implement any of the methods Marley proposed to destroy or challenge RTLM.59 Even though jamming is illegal under international telecommunications law, the UN Security Council could have authorised these tactics under Chapter VII of the Charter, Articles I, II and III of the Genocide Convention, Article 20 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 4 of the Racial Discrimination Convention, had the United States supported the strategy.60 Instead, the Clinton Administration prioritised practical and financial concerns that resulted in a failure to involve the international community in even the most benign form of humanitarian intervention.61 After the genocide, Dallaire stated that, “simply jamming broadcasts and replacing them with messages of peace and reconciliation would have had a significant impact on the course of events”.62 If a mechanism was in place to jam RTLM’s signal, the source of governmental “authority” instructing civilians to kill their Tutsi neighbours would have ceased. Violence would have most likely continued to an extent, but without the radio giving specific orders and encouraging people to participate, the structure and organisation of the genocide would have crumbled into chaos. Furthermore, without RTLM, Dallaire and the UN peacekeeping mission would have gained significant leverage to intervene in the conflict by spreading accurate information about the Arusha Accords, the RPF’s progress and the actions of the international community to maintain security in Rwanda. Hutu civilians may have trusted RTLM as a legitimate source of information over UN broadcasts, but if RTLM broadcasts ceased, the only source of authority coming through the radio would be a UN message promoting peace and reconciliation. ICT Use after the Genocide The genocide ended after the RPF reached Kigali in mid-July and Paul Kagame, one of the leading RPF military commanders, was appointed president. Several years later, Kagame’s administration embarked on a plan to make ICTs a major factor in Rwanda’s development. As a result, Rwanda is now one of the leading African countries in ICT development with an infrastructure that includes mobile phones, Internet, wireless technology, radio and fibre optic communication, among others. The government uses these ICTs to extend telecommunication to rural areas of the country, improve health and education services and facilitate communication with neighbouring states. NGOs and intergovernmental organisations are also present in Rwanda to utilise and build upon this infrastructure to help struggling communities’ meet their basic needs.


A girl and a boy use a laptop provided by UNICEF at a primary school in Kawangile village, Eastern Province, Rwanda in 2007. © UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1397/Giacomo Pirozzi The correct use of ICTs in post-conflict Rwanda can theoretically undo some of the tensions that initially led to the Rwandan genocide. Where radio was once the primary source of information and authority in Rwanda before the conflict, a vast variety of ICTs are now available to disseminate a large amount of information across the country. Rural communities particularly benefit from the expanse of ICTs, as they can now access multiple sources of information about current events in Rwanda and the rest of the world. NGOs and intergovernmental organisations such as Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), MTN Rwanda and UNICEF provide rural Rwandans with mobile phones, laptops and ICT skills training classes so they can actively participate in Rwanda’s ICT development. By expanding education through the use of ICTs, the government, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs have opened up opportunities for Rwandans to access information that may unravel the negative education instilled by the Hutu extremists during the civil war. Rwanda is home to a large youth population, many of whom were born after the genocide as a result of rape, and access to positive peace education is imperative to creating a healthy cultural understanding for future Hutu, Tutsi, Twa and ethnically mixed Rwandan leaders. ICTs and Potential Future Conflict Although the government embarked on a major ICT development project that has improved Rwanda’s human development, the media is still extremely censored and repressed, which may lead to further tensions between Hutus and Tutsis. Kagame’s administration is notorious for persecuting, arbitrarily detaining and assassinating journalists for allegedly “promoting genocide ideology”.63 The 2008 law against genocide ideology is extremely broad and allows the government to arrest anyone who speaks out against the current government. Reporting on topics such as RPF murders of Hutu civilians during the civil war or atrocities committed against Hutu refugees in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo often result in detention, torture or even death under the Kagame Administration. Due to these circumstances, the majority of Rwandan journalists have fled the country to escape persecution.64 The lack of open space for conversation about the genocide in the media and in society as a whole results in new tensions, suspicions and resentments that could develop into a future ethnic conflict. Current use of information and communication 13

technology must facilitate conversation about past atrocities and create new understandings between old enemies. Without a platform for both Hutus and Tutsis to discuss their honest opinions openly, ethnic extremism could easily fester among those who are repressed or those who have suffered abuses under Kagame’s regime. After all, extremists now have access to a whole new set of ICTs to disseminate hate speech and propaganda that are even more efficient and effective than radio in 1994. It is thus essential that NGOs and the international community pay close attention to the use and repression of ICT use in Rwanda in order to gauge the potential for future conflict. Local NGOs in particular possess the ability to utilise ICTs to gather information about the public’s opinions without government involvement. NGOs such as Ureport in neighbouring Uganda collect information through the distribution and utilisation of mobile phones. Ureport asks locals one question a day via text messages and blogs in order to assess the population’s basic knowledge of topics that are too taboo to discuss in public. For example, Ureport will send a mass text asking if the recipient knows whether or not female genital cutting is legal in Uganda and why. Massive feedback to the question allows Ureport to assess what young Ugandan girls know about female cutting as well as gives insight into their personal perspective on the subject. By utilising ICTs as information gathering devices, NGOs in Rwanda can receive honest feedback about the frustrations experienced under Kagame’s administration, create a safe space for public dialogue, determine what human rights abuses occur regularly and assess the level of ethnic hatred and extremism that still exists in the country. The feedback can then be shared with other organisations that may be able to use that information as leverage to prevent future human rights abuses. Rwanda’s history clearly demonstrates both the positive and the negative effects of ICTs when utilised by different stakeholders. Where radio was once vital to inciting genocide, the current government now utilises ICTs to expand health care and education, but also represses ICT use for the specific purpose of protecting their own human rights abuses. In order to prevent future conflict from erupting, stakeholders must utilise ICTs in a way that opens doors for honest communication and reconciliation within a society that is still struggling to heal.

Bosnia: The Impact of Media and Importance of Peacekeepers The break up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia yielded many structural changes and contributed to rising nationalism among different ethnic groups, thus creating an environment of unrest across the multi-ethnic region. Shortly after Croatia and Slovenia seceded, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) declared independence. The declaration was rejected by the Bosnian-Serb political leaders and population, heightening the tensions among the three major ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The political tensions lead to a land-grab where the Serbian government, under Slobodan Milošević, along with the Bosnian-Serb forces and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), began an ethnic cleansing campaign against Bosniaks and any opposing Croats or Serbs, in order to seize power in the region and to claim land for the Serbs. This violence was encouraged through ICT use, largely in the form of hate propaganda via television and radio broadcasting. At the same time, international and local journalists in the field covered the war in a way that made the Western governments uncomfortable with the situation and ultimately encouraged a quick intervention during the unfolding ethnic conflict in Kosovo. The power-grab in BiH began in April 1992; the same year the UN deployed the Protection Force (UNPROFOR). The mandate of UNPROFOR in BiH focused on saving the targeted population.65 Part of this mandate involved the monitoring and protecting of several “safe zones” that were established by the United Nations Security Council. It was in one of these designated safe zones that the Serb forces carried out a large-scale massacre against the Bosniaks, in which the peacekeepers were ill equipped to prevent or protect the Bosniaks. Media coverage of the fall of Srebrenica, as well as the rest of the conflict, contributed greatly to the peacekeeping mission in BiH being widely recognised as one of the biggest failures in conflict intervention. Information and Communication Technology Use during the War During the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the media played an influential role in the actions taken both by the parties involved in the conflict and by the international community. Electronic and print media were utilised in Bosnia to facilitate conflict between ethnic groups through the promotion of nationalism, which quickly progressed to hate messages. Serbian state actors and other nationalist political leaders manipulated radio and television to encourage ethnic cleansing of villages, towns and larger regions. Before the war even began, Milošević orchestrated a propaganda campaign that sought to ensure Serb citizens “that their Muslim neighbours were allegedly creating an Islamic fundamentalist state”.66 During this time, the JNA destroyed local television transmitters, which allowed the government’s propaganda to spread widely across the region.67 This takeover led to almost complete destruction of local infrastructure during the war. In an attempt to demonise the international community, a


Bosnian Serb radio station broadcast that the UN “decided to hire a murderer, it is called the NATO alliance. It is a hired killer.”68 With no mechanism in place to counter the negative dissemination of nationalist rhetoric, these deceptive statements were able to reach and influence many listeners. The same is true in the case of television broadcasting. An incident in 1995, in which Serb troops kidnapped and held hostage 400 peacekeepers, broadcasted on television with hopes of dissuading further NATO airstrikes, implying that NATO would have to kill the captured peacekeepers if they were to attack Serb targets.69

Patriotska Liga video showing a member of the Bosnian Serb forces handcuffing one of the United Nations Peacekeepers taken hostage in 1995. PHBiH1/Youtube

At the same time, journalists in Bosnia were visually bringing the violent reality of the war to viewers around the world. The daily coverage of the conflict, often presented as ethnic cleansing, prompted a response from viewers worldwide. Political leaders in Britain were facing demands to help BiH from disturbed citizens who had been to parts of the conflict region previously on holiday, and were genuinely upset by the footage of violence occurring to the Yugoslav people whom they considered very much like themselves.70 The media thus played a very important role in motivating the public to press their policymakers to stop the aggression.71 Radio Fern, a project of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Open Broadcast Network (OBN), launched in 1996 by the Office of the High Representative, provided an ethnically diverse staff that offered competition to the politically controlled broadcasters.72 While the attempt was made to provide an alternative to the negative influence of the controlled television stations, “one isolated project never had a chance to combat the influence of powerful national stations”.73 Though the international community failed to intervene in a timely manner that could have prevented the loss of many lives, the lessons learned in Bosnia made for a quick intervention in Kosovo just a few years later. The familiarity with Bosnia’s story resonated with many people when they heard of a similar situation unfolding in Kosovo and people were therefore determined to avoid another Bosnia. In 1995, in the small town of Srebrenica, a “safe zone” that was under the protection of 400 Dutch UNPROFOR peacekeepers, a vicious Serb offensive began, and days later the town had been captured. In this process, an estimated 8,000 men and boys were systematically killed, while 25,000 women, children and the elderly were forcibly removed from the enclave.74 A group of panellists, gathered in New York to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica, attributed this extreme failure to poor analysis of the situation on the ground and the lack of the UN and NATO to respond resolutely to the Bosnian Serbs who were constantly testing their threshold of tolerance to the violence and threats.75 NATO responded to the fall of Srebrenica with a three-week bombing campaign, followed by peace negotiations that resulted in the Dayton Agreement, in December of 1995. Coffins prepared for reburial at Srebrenica Memorial Ceremony in Potočari, Bosnia & Herzegovina on 11 July 2007. Adam Jones/Flickr


ICT Use in Post-war Reconstruction Post-conflict BiH is characterised by an increasingly modern society with growing infrastructure. The focus of peacekeeping troops and international actors after the war has been on recovery and development. The substantial amount of international aid Bosnia received following the war made rebuilding local infrastructure a tangible task. There is strong political will to extensively develop the ICT sector as Bosnia strives to become eligible for integration into the EU by 2014. The process of EU integration requires the establishment of regular benchmarking processes in the area of e-Governance and ICT in general.76 With around 1.4 millions Internet users, computers in over half the households, and a rapidly increasing number of mobile phone users (over 3 million in 2010) it is clear that there is no lack of infrastructure in BiH.77 Additionally, there are numerous public broadcasting stations and television networks, three large public radio broadcasting stations as well as many private radio stations in operation. Advancements also have occurred in e-Learning and e-Government. E-Education utilisation strives to promote empowerment of women and serves as motivation for schools to upgrade their available technology. Expectations of the e-Government programme include better policy outcomes, higher quality services and greater engagement with citizens and the private sector.78 Incorporation of ICTs into the health sector, specifically the computerisation of patient records, has resulted in better and more efficient services. Challenges for ICT Implementation in Bosnia BiH is home to an ethnically diverse population and therefore, any dealings with the public to effectively integrate the use of ICTs into the peacebuilding process must consider and respect the variety of customs and beliefs. Inhabitants identify mainly as Orthodox, Muslim, Catholic or Protestant. Thus, people with a religious identity have different figureheads or social leaders that they may rely on for information or support. Dissemination of information would also have to accommodate the major languages in the region: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. These differences are important to take into consideration, especially because the conflict itself centred on ethnic divide. Furthermore, the territorial divide of the country into the two autonomous entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with the additional Brčko District, contributes to the problem of establishing uniformity of ICT application, specifically in the health care sector. The current organisation of the health care system in BiH holds that “health care finance, management, organisation and provision in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the responsibility of each entity, while Brčko District runs a health care system over which neither entity has authority”.79 In this case, it would be challenging to provide uniform ICT usage in the health care sector, as one infrastructure would have to accommodate three separate health care systems. Additionally, it is important to note the peculiar arrangement of the established BiH government; a tripartite presidency consists of one Bosniak, one Serb and one Croat who serve together during a four-year term. Every eight months during the term, to ensure equality, the three leaders rotate into the chairman position. This may generate issues with cooperation, leading to possible delays in progress. The unique organisation of several structures in BiH and the diverse population prove to be obstacles for current ICT usage.

Sri Lanka: ICTs in Cyber Propaganda and Conflict Transformation Background to the Ethnic Conflict In 1983, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (LTTE) or more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, attacked an army envoy. This incident caused nationwide riots and triggered a civil war that would last for over 25 years.80 The rise of the ethno-political tensions between the Tamil Hindu minority and Sinhalese Buddhist majority began in 1948.81 The Sinhalese took over the government after the country’s first independent election and created a Sinhalese-centric legislation, which caused intense marginalisation of the Tamil minority.82 Some of these discriminatory laws included exclusion of the Tamils in government jobs and university admissions.83 The Tamil Tigers are a separatist militant group that used violent actions to protest against the government’s policies against Tamils and aimed to establish an independent Tamil state called Eelam.84 During the conflict, the Tamil Tigers carried out multiple suicide bombings, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths, and plotted assassinations of top national and international 16

government officials.85 Violence between the Tamil Tigers and government forces continued for over two decades with intermittent periods of ceasefire. Fighting intensified in 2006 but by May 2009, the Sri Lankan military defeated the remnants of the Tamil Tigers ground forces.86 The Tamil Tigers continue to promote intense ideological and political campaigns against the Sri Lankan government, calling for a separate Tamil state, utilising a multi-pronged cyber strategy that includes pro-Tamil Tigers websites (calling for donations to finance the organisation’s activities), blogs, videos (mostly via YouTube), Internet radio and podcasts.87

A news report on Sri Lanka's Independent Television Network (ITN) shows the Sri Lankan army with LTTE’s radio communication equipment seized after a military operation on 24 March 2009. Helahada/Youtube

The Strategic Use of ICTs by the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan Government’s Response The Tamil Tigers operated a number of covert radio and television stations during the conflict to broadcast their message in northern areas of Sri Lanka where the organisation had gained control.88 Pulikalim Kural or “Voice of the Tigers” (VoT) is the official name of the Tamil Tigers radio station. In 1990, the Tamil Tigers established a VoT station in the northern region of the country but due to limited FM and shortwave capabilities, the station was only dimly heard.89 The Sri Lankan government permitted the licensed station to operate until they destroyed it in 2007.90 Nevertheless, the Tamil Tigers continue to broadcast via Internet radio at In 1998, the Tamil Tigers became the world’s first militant group to attack a country’s computer system.92 The group used “email bombing” as part of their cyber-attacks, sending Sri Lankan embassies in Washington and Toronto over 800 emails a day over a two-week period. The emails contained the phrase: “We are the Internet Black Tigers and we’re doing this to interrupt your communications”.93 The Tamil Tigers ability to carry out such cyber-attacks forced the Sri Lankan government to re-evaluate the quality of its cyber security. In 2005, the Tamil Tigers hijacked Intelsat-12 satellite, the largest provider of commercial satellites in the world, to transmit propaganda across the Indian subcontinent.94 The Tamil Tigers operated a channel named the “National Television of Tamileelam (NTT)” with four-hour daily broadcasts, accessible to any of the 30,000 Sri Lankans residents with a Direct to Home (DTH) satellite dish.95 These broadcasts continued for over two years until Intelsat became aware of the illegal transmission by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington. While it was not the first time a satellite was hacked, it is the first known hacking by a militant organisation.96 Social media has also become part of pro-Tamil Tigers propaganda strategy in recent years with groups inside and outside of Sri Lanka using YouTube as part of their guerrilla media campaign to highlight their struggle.97 These videos mostly target the proLTTE Tamil diaspora to increase support. The videos often depict Tamil Tigers training or fighting with propaganda songs playing in the background, and clips showing the organisation’s heroes and visuals of civilian casualties caused by Sri Lankan army shelling.98 is among the most popular websites that campaigned for a separate Eelam and has produced approximately 21,000 articles since launched in 1997. The website reports on attacks by the Sri Lankan armed forces, paramilitaries on the organisation and Tamil civilians.99 Additionally, these reports illustrated government violations against Tamil minorities’ freedom of speech and freedom of movement.100 Another aim of these articles is to increase awareness of inter-communal violence inflicted on Tamils within Sri Lanka, and to glorify the Tamil Tigers war victories by publishing casualty numbers of government forces to indicate that the fighting continues.101


The Sri Lankan government military websites lacked frequent updates. However, during the last phase of the civil war, there was a mass revival of military websites that took place simultaneously with the launch of a military offensive against the LTTE. The Sri Lankan state countered the ideological campaign of the LTTE through state sponsored websites and news websites and blogs that reported moderate accounts on the conflict.102 The government’s main target in their cyber war strategy was the TamilNet website, due to its popularity. These websites helped counter the international news reports based on the Tamil Tigers and aided in gaining the interest of the Sinhalese diaspora abroad. The English websites of the Sri Lanka Defence Ministry all operated with the goal of recounting reports that the military ground offensive was fighting the Tamil Tigers.103 The government’s cyber counter-strategy also included laws for registering Internet café users to monitor and prevent the spread of anti-government propaganda and to promote pro-Tamil Tiger ideologies.104 These online tactics collectively aided in curbing the biased reporting by the Tamil Tigers, creating an online environment for the Sri Lankan government to disseminate their account of war events, ultimately preventing the perpetuation for calls of violence. Conflict Resolution and Transformation in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka Sri Lanka experiences the same challenges faced by many other post-conflict nations, especially when it comes to creating an effective inclusive development environment to restore social and ethnic unity. Nonetheless, the country has made some significant progress over the past decade. The Sri Lankan government has collaborated with the World Bank to create the e-Sri Lanka Development Project, an initiative invested in enhancing ICT projects and programmes in the country, with a focus in rural areas. The initiative aims to establish an operational, citizen-centred and business-friendly government to economically empower marginalised groups, including women and youth in rural areas.105 The initiative’s strategy focuses on increasing and creating affordable access to information and communication tools to develop ICT skills.106 E-Sri Lanka’s projects are easily replicable, low cost e-Government solutions with the goal to improve efficiency of service delivery in previously conflict-affected areas. One of the main goals of the project is the use of ICTs for inclusive multicommunity participation.107 The e-Sri Lanka Development Project includes rural knowledge centres that provide ICT training courses and access to a wide range of communication technologies. Thus far, one hundred centres have been successfully set up in rural regions of the country, and there are plans for further expansion.108 Since the launch of the project, there has been slow but significant progress in ICT literacy rates in rural areas, with a 12% increase between 2004 and 2008.109 E-Libraries provide similar services as rural knowledge centres, with courses on computer based training media in all local languages. These e-Libraries also supply audio books to those who cannot read or write. These e-Libraries also give citizens access to local, national and international news through high speed Internet.110 In addition to rural ICT education and peacebuilding activities, recent initiatives have incorporated distance and e-Learning centres to allow higher education institutes in urban areas (e.g. Jaffna University, South Eastern University) to connect university students with students in rural ICT centres. Using video conferencing and multimedia labs as a way to exchange ideas provides all participants excellent learning opportunities, which could also encourage the discussion of conflict and post-conflict experiences.111 World Bank statistics indicate that mobile phones are the most utilised form of communication technology in the country; in fact, mobile phone usage and access per 100 people has rapidly increased by over 60% in the last ten years.112 The wide use of mobile phones has created an excellent opportunity for the government to incorporate ICTs into the nation’s peacebuilding strategy. One such project is Sri Lanka’s “One Text Initiative”, a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum that draws different perspectives and opinions from major political party members.113 The goal is to collaborate and find a mutually beneficial solution for opposing positions (by focusing on underlying interests and needs) through problem-solving interventions and information sharing within a single platform.114 These projects have generated international discussion of ICTs as part of conflict transformation and reconciliation.


Afghanistan: ICT use for Stability, Reconstruction and Peace For over two decades, Afghanistan has experienced the horrors of war and oppressive regimes. Continuous civil conflict since 1978 and a Taliban takeover in 1996 hindered and prevented Afghanistan from developing in an increasingly globalised world. After the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the United States led a military campaign into Afghanistan in an attempt to destabilise and topple the Taliban regime, and eliminate Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. After the 2001 US-led invasion, the Bonn Agreement created an interim government that ousted the Taliban. The United Nations quickly established a Transitional Administration (TA) in June 2002, with Hamid Karzai leading as President and head of the TA.115 The United States and other international forces still maintain a strong presence in Afghanistan due to the on-going conflict between the Taliban and the current Afghan government. Since 2001, ICTs have played a central role in reconstructing Afghanistan, as well as promoting peace and stability. Paradoxically, the same ICT tools used to aid Afghanistan’s development also spread Taliban propaganda. This case study will examine how ICTs can promote peace and stability, while acknowledging the potential negative impacts of ICT use. Reconstructing Afghanistan’s Telecommunications Sector Before 2001, the Afghan telecommunication systems were a government monopoly. The Taliban outlawed the Internet and the country fell into an ICT void.116 According to the World Bank, in 2002, around 99% of the population did not have access to telecommunication services and only five cities had functioning telephone services. Kabul accounted for two-thirds of the functioning telephone lines in the country. Financed by the International Development Association (IDA) and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, the Emergency Telecommunications Rehabilitation Project contributed to the growth and facilitation of the telecommunication sector in Afghanistan. After the project’s completion in 2009, telephone access had increased from a mere 1% to 35%, and the number of fixed landlines and mobile phones subscribers increased from 57,000 to 10 million in 6 years. This exponential growth in telecommunications expanded government communication and created an estimated 60,000 jobs while contributing to government revenues.117 In April 2011, the Afghanistan Communication and Information Technologies Development Sector Project received an approved IDA grant from The World Bank of $50 million to give continued support to the Government of Afghanistan in ICT development. The project goals include increasing telephone and Internet penetration, and training IT professionals for their growing technology industry.118 In recent months, Afghanistan’s Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications and IT (MCIT), has worked to promote the use of 3G and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology, which is a wireless communication system similar to Wi-Fi but with greater range. At a conference held in December 2011, Sangin said that he hopes that by the end of 2014, 95% of the Afghan population will have access to telecommunications and increasingly use mobile phones.119 Afghan Telecom (the leading telecommunication provider in Afghanistan) reports that currently around 85% of the population have telecommunication coverage. MCIT has been working diligently with funding from the USAID and other donors to provide communication technologies throughout Afghanistan. The District Communication Network (DCN) is a project that aims to extend communication services to urban and rural populations.120 Several other projects implemented and completed since 2001, intend to promote a stronger telecommunications sector.121 Through the promotion of telecommunications, Afghanistan now has a greater ability to connect with the wider population. Investment in telecommunications infrastructure has created jobs, revenue and private sector competition. Additionally, the Minister of Communication and IT urges further development of ICTs in Afghanistan because he believes ICTs can promote education and help to achieve a vibrant, tolerant Afghanistan. According MCIT’s mission statement, “Afghanistan will use Communications and ICTs to improve Government and social services expeditiously and foster the rebuilding process, increase employment, create a vibrant private sector, reduce poverty and support underprivileged groups”.122


Furthermore, the increased development of infrastructure has allowed organisations such as YoungWomen4Change to create a women’s only Internet café in Kabul. Women in Afghanistan do not share the same freedoms as men, and the establishment of this café allows women to communicate with the rest of the world and connect through shared information. YoungWomen4Change has encouraged women in Afghanistan to have equal participation in ICT access, which helps women thrive in the male dominated society.123 By developing the proper infrastructure, Afghanistan has the opportunity to acquire the essential skills needed in a global economy that heavily relies on ICTs. This will benefit Afghanistan by allowing them to compete in the global market. EGovernance can also be utilised more effectively to disseminate important information between the Afghan government and its people. Developing telecommunications infrastructure will also enhance the public’s access to information and opportunities such as education and employment. These positive opportunities provide Afghans with stability, which lessens the burdens of conflict. Telecommunication development leads to positive outcomes: Afghanistan is now better connected with the wider population after many years spent in technological isolation, and ICTs offer more opportunities for building peace and paving the way for increased stability. Stability through Online Education Afghanistan has been plagued with years of fighting and has thus suffered great losses in educational resources and infrastructure. While the on-going conflict in Afghanistan continues to pose challenges to the development of education, several recent initiatives have fostered online education through e-Learning. Over the past 30 years, the conflict has hit higher education the hardest. Lack of teachers and resources has created an educational void and continued violence causes further damage. However, international donors like USAID provide Afghanistan with the opportunity to rebuild higher education facilities and offer university opportunities. Afghanistan Next Generation e-Learning (ANGeL) project supports online education. As of 2011, seven ANGeL centres were already in use, with the newest centre recently opened in Kandahar.124 Computer usage in higher education allows students’ greater access to online resources, and to an Afghanistan Digital Library established through the Afghan e-Quality Alliances (AeQA). USAID reports that, “through computers in the centre, instructors will be able to connect to…e–Learning resources such as online journals, and academic papers…instructors will be able to spend less time searching for material and focus more time on facilitating student learning”.125 AeQA began its work in 2006, largely focusing on higher education in Afghanistan. The programme builds capacity for higher education and supports projects such as ANGeL. USAID funded the programme in hopes of establishing stronger higher education infrastructure. According to USAID, “AeQA has established e-Learning resource centres in major Afghan universities that has increased faculty and student research capacity”.126 AeQA has also been responsible for creating an online digital library enabling access to educational material throughout Afghanistan.127

Sana, 6, presents a weekly radio programme in Afghanistan's two national languages Pashto and Dari to raise awareness on the rights of the Child. © UNICEF/AFGA2011-00157/Aziz Froutan

By connecting different regions within Afghanistan through an e-Learning environment, children and youth have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for future employment, as well as foster awareness and understanding between communities. Additionally, by bringing education to the forefront, it provides much needed stability for children and youth during times of conflict.128


Increased Use of Space-based Technologies and Drones The conflict in Afghanistan includes increased use of spaced-based technologies such as satellites and drones. While rebuilding Afghanistan’s ICT infrastructure is a critical aspect of the country’s development, fighting persists within certain regions. The United States and the Taliban have both been using technologically advanced measures in their war against each other. In addition to traditional warfare methods, the United States made use of ICT’s in trying to end the Taliban insurgency. The use of military satellites is extremely beneficial to the US military as it provides them with images of the Taliban's location. Increased visibility afforded by satellites allows forces to easily scan large areas of land with harsh terrain. The United States leads in military space-based technology, and has utilised this expertise throughout the current conflict in Afghanistan.129 More recently, the Pentagon has invested in the use of microsatellites, which are faster to deploy and cheaper to manufacture.130 The deployment of military drones has also increased during the conflict in Afghanistan. The US Air Force expanded the use of drones in Afghanistan and now flies at least 20 predator drones over different regions.131 Despite wide-range drone activity, their presence has gone virtually unnoticed in Afghanistan until recent years. Though the Air Force has largely used drones as a surveillance tool in Afghanistan, they have also launched more than 200 missile and bomb strikes. 132

A Reaper Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) comes into land at Kandahar Airbase in Helmand, Afghanistan. UK Ministry of Defence/45153241/Fg Off Owen Cheverton

Equipped with a surveillance camera, drones deliver images and coordinates back to military headquarters while remaining undetected in Afghanistan.133 The role of drones has worked its way into everyday use: military commanders say that drones are a growing part of the US counterinsurgency strategy, and that they aid in reducing civilian casualties.134 However, the use of drones is controversial, and in some instances, many American and Afghan civilians perceive drone use negatively. The use of drones has created a trust deficit in Afghanistan as Afghans often attribute civilian deaths to their use. Drone strikes are frequent along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and while government officials from both Pakistan and the US claim that drones strikes have often hit their targets, uncertainty still looms over the number of civilian deaths.135 The trust deficit created by drone strikes has decreased American support for the war in Afghanistan, and has exacerbated the conflict with the Taliban. The Taliban has used the civilian casualties as a means to leverage more support. Due to negative perceptions of drones, Afghanistan’s Foreign


Minister Zalmay Rasool said that after NATO combat forces leave in 2014, Afghan soil will not be used to launch drones against any other country in the region.136 Space-based technology provides a wide range of opportunities for promoting peace and ending the conflict in Afghanistan. It is evident that space-based technologies will continue to play a major role in the conflict due to their unique and largely successful utilisation over the past ten years. Whether it is for the promotion of peace, or to halt Taliban activity, space-based technologies have proven to be a useful tool for the US despite their controversy. ICTs and Negative Outcomes ICT use in Afghanistan has helped promote peace and has produced many positive outcomes. However, the Taliban also have access to the same technologies, and they have utilised ICTs such as radio and telephones to spread their message and intimidate local populations.137 The group seeks to intimidate and deter the Afghan population from supporting the government or security forces through video and text messages.138 Aside from radio and telephones, the Taliban also uses the Internet as a tool to disseminate propaganda. During their five-year rule, the Taliban had banned the Internet but now use it as a major platform to spread their messages. They have created multilingual websites that update users on their activities and broadcast interviews with Taliban leaders.139 The Taliban also uses the Internet as a tool for recruitment and to issue press releases.140 However, since January 2012, the Taliban’s main website has been hacked three times. Images of Taliban executions of women have been posted on the website along with messages in English, Pashto and Arabic supporting the current Afghan Government.141 It is evident that ICTs can have a positive impact on Afghanistan, but they can also spread and perpetuate instability when used for negative purposes. ICTs in Afghanistan have the ability to promote peace and stability. Developing the proper infrastructure to ensure greater use of ICTs is an important step in ending the technological void in Afghanistan. Online education allows the Afghan population to grow and develop their labour force, and offers them the opportunity to connect with others. It also provides stability in a time of conflict. However, the use of ICTs by the Taliban and the controversy over the use of drones illustrate how ICTs can hinder the peace process and disrupt development and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Egypt: Social Movement Amplified through Social Media In January 2011, Egypt witnessed the largest anti-government protests responsible for overthrowing a dictatorial regime. Within eighteen days, Hosni Mubarak forcibly stepped down from the presidency after having ruled for thirty years. “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world”, tweeted one Egyptian activist in the early days of the nation’s uprising.142 Immediately after President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in neighbouring Tunisia, Egyptian activists called for mass protests against unemployment, poverty, government corruption and lack of political freedom. The protesters demanded that President Mubarak step down, that the government repeal the emergency law and that presidential terms be limited. As thousands of people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 25 January 2011, protests broke out countrywide within hours in other cities, including Suez and Alexandria. During the mass uprising, mobile phones, social networks and digital media technologies played a significant role in organising and coordinating the protests, bearing witness to abuses by security forces and garnering international support. It is critical to note that despite the importance of digital tools in political mobilisation, the movement was successful in deposing Mubarak because of the people on the streets risking their safety to face rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons, batons and arrests. Under Mubarak’s regime, Egypt turned into an aggressive police state. The Emergency Law, first enacted in 1958, allowed the suspension of citizens’ constitutional rights, legitimised censorship, restricted non-governmental political activity and permitted indefinite imprisonment of individuals without charge. The Emergency Law has remained consistently in effect since 1967, except for a brief period of 18 months in 1980.


In addition to the Press Law and penal code provisions that govern Egyptian media, the Emergency Law continues to curb the constitutional freedom of the media in the post-Mubarak era. The Press Law, amended in 2006, removes limitations on the media in reporting private and public financial dealings of national political figures, however it continues to mandate criminal penalties for criticizing the president or foreign leaders. Human Rights Watch stated that the “vague and broadly worded provisions in Egypt’s Press Law invite abuse and contravene international standards of freedom of expression”.143 A Snapshot of Information and Communication Technologies in Egypt Over the past decade, the Egyptian government has made considerable progress in building the state’s information and communications technology infrastructure. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) was launched in 1999, with the purpose of promoting development in the sectors of education, health, governance, culture and commerce. As part of its ambitious plans to compete with the global information economy, the Egyptian government undertook a number of initiatives in partnership with the private sector for increasing connectivity and access to computers, mobile services and the Internet. In addition to making technologies more affordable for the general population, the government also focused on developing digital content in Arabic.144 The proliferation of cheap mobile phones and computers in the last decade allowed these technologies to quickly gain popularity among the Egyptian population. By the end of 2010, 90% of Egyptians had mobile phone subscriptions. At the same time, radio and television continue to remain the most important sources of information since only about 71% of the population are literate. Internet usage remains less popular in comparison and only 23 million people (less than 30% of the population), had access to the Internet by the end of December 2010.145 New media technologies have played a significant role in the recent uprisings in Egypt where more than half of the population is under 25 years of age. The disenchanted youth population applied their knowledge of digital tools including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and text messages to organise protests, meetings and to generate political dialogue under an authoritarian regime. In 2009, the Berkman Center for Internet & Security identified that the highest number of blogs from the Arab world were Egyptian with the highest proportion of female bloggers found among the Egyptian youth sub-cluster.146 Social Media Activism Leading up to the 2011 Uprising Although the Egyptian people were inspired by the 2010 mass uprisings in Tunisia, the 25 January Movement was a tipping point for Egyptians after a decade of strikes and demonstrations within Egypt expressing social, political and economic discontent. Social media served as an alternative source of information, communication and political expression for the Egyptian people under a repressive authoritarian regime. Starting in 2004, Egyptian bloggers became increasingly involved in covering anti-government protests and documenting police brutality. Among them, blogger Wael Abbas has become an important source for the Egyptian press in exposing state abuse. Abbas and other citizen journalists faced serious consequences for their success in drawing attention to the government’s misconducts, police abuse, violence against women and coverage of political protests. The Egyptian police responded by subjecting bloggers and reporters to arrests, intimidation and pressure. When opposition activists held peaceful demonstrations outside the Interior Ministry in May 2005 to protest the public referendum on constitutional changes, the riot police and pro-government armed civilians attacked activists and journalists, and sexually assaulted women at the demonstrations. Bloggers present at the demonstration recorded and uploaded videos and pictures of these attacks to the Internet. The national and international media then used these pictures and videos to report on state violence. As a result of publishing evidence of police misconduct, the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Interior, established units to monitor online content put forward by Egyptian bloggers as well as international coverage of Egypt.147 Over the past two decades, due to rising food prices and low wages, Egypt’s working population has staged thousands of protests. Protests became more frequent between 2006 and 2008, when the al-Mahalla al-Kubra, Egypt's textile industry town, became the hub for demonstrations. In December 2006, close to 27,000 workers went on strike to demand higher wages to be able to afford the rising cost of food and consumer products. Strikes continued through 2007, with thousands of workers including textile workers from al-Mahalla al-Kubra planning another strike for 6 April 2008 over high food prices, low wages and the possible privatisation of state owned factories.148 Harsh police crackdown on the strike, however, stopped the protesters from reaching 23

their goal. Nonetheless, the movement proved to be an important event for laying the foundation for social media activism and the subsequent 2011 uprisings.

This photo by Nasser Nouri shows protesters clashing with Mubarak's security forces in Mahalla, about 110 km (68miles) north of Cairo on 7 April 2008. The police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon and live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators. The latter blocked the railway lines by rocks and wooden logs. Hossam_el-Hamalawy/Flickr

In solidarity with the al-Mahalla al-Kubra workers, two young volunteers of former presidential candidate Ayman Nour’s ElGhad opposition party, Ahmed Maher and Israa Abdel-Fattah, came together to create the 6 April Youth Movement group on Facebook.149 The aim of the movement was to support workers by staging demonstrations in Cairo and encourage a nationwide boycott of consumer goods. Although the protests in Cairo did not gather a large crowd, it showed the importance of social media in generating political dialogue when 70,000 people joined the Facebook group. The next major event in Egypt’s social media activism campaign took place in June 2010, following the death of Khaled Said, a young businessman. Said was tortured and brutally beaten to death by the Alexandria police on a public street in front of several observers.150 According to news sources, authorities targeted Said because he possessed video evidence of illegal drug transactions involving members of the police force. The story and images of his brutalised corpse went viral on social media networks, sparking demonstrations by outraged citizens. The street protests against police brutality were a turning point in uniting members of leading opposition groups including Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Ayman Nour.151 The deeply flawed parliamentary elections held in 2010 also served as an important catalyst for the 25 January Movement in Egypt. As Mubarak’s regime refused to allow international election monitors, civil society initiatives proved critical in reporting on intimidation, violence, ballot stuffing, removing names of opposition candidates from ballots and closing polling stations. The Development and Institutionalization Support Center (DISC) and the Egyptian Democratic Academy (EDA) set up, a crowdsourced digital mapping platform to gather reports on misdemeanours during the elections.


The U-Shahid platform allows citizens to update multimedia content through various social media networks, email and text messaging service. The DISC recruited and trained 130 bloggers and activists from major cities across Egypt to monitor and report on the elections in real-time. Additionally, the organisation worked with Thompson-Reuters to set up specific guidelines for validation of crowdsourced data submitted by other citizens.152 Prior to the November elections, four other crowdsourced mapping platforms were set up by independent organisations and smaller groups of social media activists for collecting data to increase transparency and democracy.153 Within days of Said’s death, Dubai-based Google executive Wael Ghonim created a Facebook page called “We Are All Khaled Said” that gained close to 130,000 followers within weeks.154 In the aftermath of the Tunisian protests, which were first publicised on social media and then broadcast on international satellite television channels, Ghonim used his page to call for a “Revolution against Torture, Corruption, Unemployment and Injustice” scheduled for 25 January. The date was significant because it was Egypt’s Police Day, a national holiday to commemorate the killing of 50 police officers in 1952 at Ismailia Police Station.155 Thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square from all over Cairo, with protesters using their mobile phones and computers to publish updates on social media, videos, audio files and images to tell people in Egypt and around the world about the mass protests. In the beginning, the movement received very little attention in the mainstream media, but once videos and images of the protests flooded social networks, audiences criticized international satellite channels like Al Jazeera for their failure to cover the unrest in Egypt. Soon after, major international news channels began to use reports from citizen journalists and social media activists to tell the story of the Egyptian uprising. Although digital media technologies help activists and journalists quickly share information and organise, these technologies also allow the governments to easily monitor people’s activities. As the protests acquired more followers and international attention during the 2011 movement, the Egyptian government attempted to block access to social networking sites websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. On 28 January 2011, the Egyptian government ordered major Internet Service providers (ISP) in the country to suspend Internet services, a move that drew immediate criticism from the international community.156 The government shut down the country’s six largest ISPs, with the exception of the small ISP, Noor. Noor, a company focused on servicing the Egyptian financial sector, continued to operate until 31 January when the Egyptian government ordered the ISP to shut down along with mobile phone services. The country’s Internet and mobile network services remained inactive until restored on 2 February.157 Activists were able to bypass the Internet block through proxy servers, mesh networks, fax modems, dial-up Internet using international numbers, communicating over amateur radio frequencies and other specially created services. As the world saw a majority of Egyptians losing access to the Internet, engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow came together to create a service called Speak To Tweet allowing people to send audio tweets by dialling a phone number and recording their messages.158 Mobile Technology With over 90% of the population owning mobile phones, text messaging is an important medium of communication. Prior to the 2005 elections, the Muslim Brotherhood rallied political support through text messaging campaigns and was successful in winning 20% of the parliamentary seats. Seeing the success of effective text messaging campaigning, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) put messaging under heavy regulations leading up to the 2010 elections. Media outlets interested in distributing news via text messaging were required to obtain a separate license. The license required companies to pay a 3% fee to cover costs of government monitoring of the content disseminated to subscribers. Consequently, opposition groups that did not have an official status such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Association for Change, the Nasserists, the Wasat Party and a number of protest groups were barred from using mass text messaging services.159 Following the Egyptian state’s failed attempt to block the Internet to quiet down the protest, government turned to mobile phones for spreading mass propaganda. Mobile phone subscribers reported receiving messages urging protesters to stay at home and not participate in the movement.160 Moreover, the Information Ministry forced major mobile-phone carriers including Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat to send out mass text messages to their subscribers urging them to attend pro-Mubarak rallies.161


Traditional Media Despite some freedoms granted to the media under the Mubarak regime, starting in 2004, state-owned and private media outlets still experience heavy regulations, close monitoring and censorship by the government. In preparation for the run-off elections scheduled for December 2010, NTRA cancelled the permits of all broadcast companies that provided live television news feeds in Egypt in an effort to control the flow of information from polling stations around the country. Although these media outlets were asked to apply for new licenses, they were required to use state-owned facilities to broadcast.162 The state controlled media in Egypt refused to broadcast images of thousands of people gathering in Tahrir Square at the beginning of the protests. In order to undermine the legitimacy of the protesters, the state media labelled them thugs, anarchists and foreign representatives. Egyptian television networks such as Al Oula TV, Nile TV and Al Masriya TV, all controlled by the Information Ministry, spread propaganda about alleged plots and “foreign” conspiracies.163 Despite this, through social media platforms, activists and citizen journalists were able to dispel rumours and propaganda by the state-run media. Activists and journalists present in Cairo during the uprising reported being explicitly targeted by security forces and armed progovernment civilians, “it genuinely seemed like journalists had indeed been explicitly targeted…those who weren’t attacked by mobs were arrested by police officers or detained — allegedly for their own safety — by the military”.164 The Battle for Freedom Continues In the post-Mubarak era, Egyptian bloggers, social media activists and professional journalists continue to play a crucial role in reporting on misconducts of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). On-going protests calling for democracy, transparency and accountability on part of the ruling military government often result in violent clashes between activists and security forces. At the same time the ruling military council continues to detain, question, abuse and harass professional and citizen journalists. International organisations such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Project Journalists (CJP) are concerned about the continued crackdown on bloggers, activists and reporters. According to the RSF Press Freedom Index for 2011-2012, Egypt has fallen 39 places from its previous rank of 127 out of 179 countries to 166.165 Moreover, Arab media studies scholar, Adel Iskandar, notes that while there is a surge in private media and Egyptians are increasingly turning towards satellite channels, the military exercises considerable control over state as well as private media. “Through a sinister combination of compulsion and coercion, the military has both effectively infiltrated most private networks and has an array of options to ensure compliance from station owners, staff and media personalities”, writes Iskandar.166 As Egyptians continue to struggle for freedom and democracy, citizens in other Arab nations are rising up against repressive regimes. Digital media allows not just the activists to organise, share information and document violence by the state, it also allows the ruling governments to monitor, censor and intimidate citizens. In light of the crucial role technology has played in mass movements across the Middle East, on 23 April 2012, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order to authorise sanctions against entities using information and communication technologies for committing human rights abuses especially in collaboration with the Iranian and Syrian regimes. The sanctions are directed at entities or individuals that have operated or directed the operation of, information and communications technology that facilitates network disruption, monitoring, or tracking that could assist in human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Iranian and Syrian governments.167 Thousands of people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square in Egypt on 25 January 2011 to end President Hosni Mubarak's 30 year old regime. Gigi Ibrahim/Flickr


During the 2011 Egyptian uprising, protesters found evidence of a British technology firm offering to sell digital intelligence software to the Egyptian government for monitoring Internet activity.168 Moreover, in recent years, a number of Western technology companies have reportedly provided monitoring and censorship technologies to repressive regimes in the Middle East.169 Although, President Obama’s order does not clarify whether these sanctions will target American firms and individuals, this is a positive first step towards taking global initiatives for creating policies that prevent the utilisation of technologies as tools of oppression.

Mexico: The Use of ICTs in Relation to Drug Cartel Violence The Conflict The illegal drug trade has thrived in Mexico for well over a century. Mexico signed The Hague International Opium Convention in 1912, and proceeded to ban trade in opium, cocaine and marijuana. Over the early part of the 1900s, production of heroin and marijuana increased; before the 1980s, however, the issue of drug trafficking was not urgent in Mexico.170 During the 1990s, Mexican cartels’ power increased, leading to rising levels of violence and corruption in the country.171 Cartels have had an active presence in Mexico since the 1930s. In Sinaloa (now the site of much narcotics-related activity), a family founded one of the first Mexican cartels. The Sinaloa cartel, based in the Western area of Mexico, goes by a variety of names including the Pacific Cartel, the Federation and the Golden Triangle. The group traffics cocaine from Colombia, marijuana from Mexico, and heroin from Southeast Asia into the United States, and supports labs producing methamphetamines. Other active cartels include the Tijuana and the Juarez cartels, which respectively hold power in the Tijuana and Juarez regions of Mexico.172 The Gulf Cartel, supported by Los Zetas’ militarised activities, holds power mainly in the Eastern part of Mexico. Los Zetas have had conflicts with the Government of Mexico and against Sinaloa in collaboration with other cartels. Based in westcentral Mexico, La Familia Michoachana has also had conflicts with the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels.173

Thousands of members of the Mexican police and the army reinforced security in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua as part of the operation to combat drug trafficking and organized crime on 3 March 2009. Jesús Villaseca Pérez/Flickr


In Mexico, violence related to cartel activities has increased substantially since the 1990s. The downfall of formerly powerful Colombian cartels174 led to a transfer of control from Colombian cartels to Mexican traffickers. Violence continued to proliferate, and when Felipe Calderon became President in 2006, he moved towards an aggressive anti-cartel policy, including the deployment of federal troops (some 25,000) almost immediately after he assumed the role of president. Nonetheless, the rate of violent crime, including murder, continued to rise since Calderon took office.175 Years of cartel activity have led to an environment of corruption, where cartels enjoy government protection due to bribes.176 Furthermore, many former members of the police force work now as cartel drivers.177 The violence has moved from the border to areas previously thought to be safe, such as Mexico City and Guadalajara, but it is thought that much of the current violence emanates from only a few primary cartels: Sinaloa, Los Zetas, and Gulf Cartel.178 Acts of violence have been varied and ubiquitous, including a recent attack at a Honduran factory. This specific attack was cited as evidence that the violence has spread beyond Mexico and further into the region.179 In some places, such as the state of Tamaulipas, there are even mass graves from drug-related killings.180 In August 2010, four men were found decapitated and hanging by their ankles on a bridge in the state of Melos accompanied by a message indicating that their support for Beltran Leyva cartel member Edgar Valdez had led to their demise.181 Incidents such as this indicate that violence is a common aspect of cartel politics. Those who report on cartel violence find themselves at risk for retaliation. The International Press Institute (IPI) named Mexico the most dangerous place in the world for journalists in 2011.182 Some journalists have described the need to self-censor in order to preserve their own well-being.183 Despite risks faced by individuals, who speak out against cartel violence, professional and citizen journalists continue to spread awareness on this issue. ICTs play a critical role for individuals choosing to speak out about cartel violence. The Internet, and in particular the use of social media, are key tools for these individuals in spreading awareness and information. However, this dissemination of information comes with grave risks. In one example of a response to publicising information online about cartel activity, cartel members murdered two people and displayed their bodies publicly. A sign placed near them read: “This is what happens to people who post funny things on the Internet. Pay attention.”184 Harvard University Professor of Law Philip Heyman, described this type of activity as “narcoterrorism”, and says cartels have been effectively creating and exacerbating fear within the population “by posting threatening messages in city streets, on walls and statues, on the bodies of victims. YouTube, blogs, and Internet websites are also popular forums for spreading fear.”185 Over the past five years, cartel-related violence has killed more than 25,000 people, with the Mexican government reporting that 12,903 of these deaths occurred between January and September 2011 alone.186 However, the authenticity of these estimates have come into question due to past government practices of non-compliance in releasing data related to deaths resulting from cartel violence, citing reasons of national security. Experts state that the government’s methods of tracking crime-related deaths have been inadequate in examining trends of violence, with one expert noting, “since there are very few actual investigations, those are approximations at best…There is not really a way of knowing precisely if it was caused by organised crime or a drug trafficker or not”.187 Security experts and academics in Mexico and the United States have been pushing for more transparency from the government so they may more accurately categorise deaths related to drug cartel violence, crime, and violent acts perpetrated by the military. Experts have sought to create a more reliable system of tracking crime and they have pushed increased data transparency to curb violence related to drug cartels.188 The on-going conflict in Mexico is not only difficult to track, but also difficult to contain. Investigators have been intimidated and in some cases killed.189 The Mexican military has deployed over 50,000 troops and members of the federal police force, but there have been problems with lack of military accountability, and corruption runs rampant within police forces.190 Cartels have reportedly gained some control over the police force, judicial system and political parties, thereby compromising the integrity of these organisations.191 Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised the military and police, stating that since Calderon took office in 2006, violence has only escalated with attempts to curb cartel activity. Furthermore, the organisation has stated that Mexico’s military and police forces have “a long track record of abuse and impunity”192 and according to HRW, have been associated with forced disappearances, abuses and killings of citizens.193


ICT Use in the Conflict: the Internet and Social Media As of 2010, there were 35,161,145 total Internet users in Mexico194, 9.98% as fixed broadband Internet subscribers.195 Furthermore, 81% of Mexicans hold mobile subscriptions.196 Because the Internet is widely available, it has become an accessible platform for the population to use in reporting on cartel violence. The use of information and communication technology has played a role in an attempt to curb the conflict, an example being individuals communicating through online chat rooms and blogs to spread information and awareness about cartels. However, the use of ICTs in this context is two-sided. While citizens and those opposed to cartel activity have used ICTs to further their cause, cartels have also used these same technologies to deter further discussion and protests on cartel activities. In part, they have done so by employing ICT experts who monitor phone calls, blogs and other websites, including social media. 197 Social media plays an important role in the conflict, with Twitter use198 helping spread awareness in cases where local media have decided to self-censor rather than expose themselves to danger. Twitter users can track information about cartel violence by following accounts such as @infonarco199 , @narco_news200, @narcotweet201 and @violencemexico.202 However, users have faced reprisals for speaking against cartel activity. For example, in late 2011 near Nuevo Laredo, there were four separate incidents of murder, which included the public display of bodies with messages warning against social media use.203 Twitter update from Blog del Narco, a website that documents the Mexican Drug War.

There are also a number of websites updated almost daily with information regarding recent killings, arrests and other violent activities. An editor of one such website,, has refused to shy away from press attention and has even dedicated a section of the site to press. In one interview, the website editor stated that traditional journalist’s self-censorship comes not only out of fear of reprisals, but also from government censorship.204 Others have praised Blog del Narco and similar outlets in working to proliferate information where traditional media has been unwilling or unable.205 Freedom House issued a statement on cartel related violence and deaths in Nuevo Laredo, where warning messages specifically referenced blogs such as Al Rojo Vivo and Blog del Narco.206 In response, individuals and groups active on Twitter released a manifesto on continuing their work to monitor cartel activity. 207 However, the Mexican government has threatened to censor Twitter users, arguing that cartels can monitor information posted on Twitter, post content on the site themselves and act accordingly to avoid arrest.208 YouTube has become a battleground in this conflict. Since 2005, various cartels have posted videos on YouTube intended to both intimidate and recruit members. For example, one video in support of Sinaloa cartel features a pro-cartel song, played over photos of dead bodies and police cars damaged by bullets. Text at the beginning of the video reads, “This is what happens to all my enemies”. Head of Policy of YouTube, Victoria Grand, acknowledged that such videos are available on YouTube and stated that YouTube has removed similar videos in the past if users mark them as offensive. Grand works alongside law enforcement to alert them to criminal activity posted on the site. Additionally, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration monitors the videos for information on cartels.209 Some activist groups fight back on YouTube in response to specific cartel actions. Hacking group Anonymous posted a video threatening to reveal the identities of cartel members in retaliation for the kidnapping of a member of Anonymous (unidentified in the video, but thought to be abducted from Veracruz). The unnamed Anonymous representative stated that the group was “tired of the criminal group the Zetas, which is dedicated to kidnapping, stealing and extortion”. The video also threatened to reveal the names of cartel members, but also law enforcement, members of the media, and even taxi drivers known to have consorted with the Zetas.210


ICT Use by the Mexican Government The Mexican government also utilises Internet communications tools. Qorvis, a communications firm, is currently working with the Mexican government on a social media strategy intended to better the image of Mexico, particularly in regards to narcoterrorism, drug and cartel-related violence, and the negative coverage in the media that accompanies such events. Qorvis also assisted on a campaign of “positive messaging” following the outbreak of H1N1 in Mexico. The campaign took place mainly on YouTube and Facebook, and sought to disseminate information on the “positive and aggressive” action the Mexican government took to inform citizens and foreign nationals. As the Qorvis website states, On the day Qorvis began its work, the vast majority of the top 20 Internet searches on Mexico included headlines such as ‘Battling the Mexican Swine Flu’ and ‘Drug Cartel Violence.’ Within two weeks, the majority of search results called up the government’s quick and aggressive actions to combat the flu and stop its spread.211 This seems to be a positive step; however, it is difficult to say whether the campaign actually does anything to curb cartel violence or just serves to improve the image of the Mexican government.212 The Mexican government also utilises space-based technologies in an attempt to prevent exacerbation of the conflict. Recently, the Mexican government developed a programme known as MEXSAT, purchasing three satellites from Boeing to support telecommunications related to security measures. As part of the contract, Boeing will deploy two 702HP GEO-mobile satellites and will establish two ground stations to support the programme. These satellites are the fourth set deployed in Mexico, and will mainly support activities in areas of humanitarian efforts and national security. According to the Boeing website, the satellites can be used for surveillance, education in rural areas, emergency and disaster relief, telemedicine, and support for the work of Government agencies. As the Boeing website states, “Together, the MEXSAT system will relay civil communications in urban and remote areas throughout the country and will provide mobile, voice and data services for the Mexican Army, Navy and aboard airborne early warning systems for the Mexican Air Force. The satellites will operate over Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.”213 The United States is involved in the conflict because of national security concerns and deploys intelligence collecting drones to gather information on drug cartels.214 The Mexican government’s National Security Council reports that the drones have been successful in “various objectives of combating crime and have significantly increased Mexican authorities' capabilities and technological superiority in their fight against crime”.215 ICT Potential to Halt Cartel Activity Increasing violence (including killings and forced disappearances of citizens), corruption within the police force and militarisation has exacerbated the conflict in Mexico. Instances of narcoterrorism have led to a situation in which journalists cannot report freely on events and thus many people rely on reporting on blogs and social media sites in order to gain information and awareness of cartel activity. The need for accurate, widely accessible data is great, and the use of information and communication technologies can satisfy this need. Bloggers and social media users will no doubt continue to spread information and awareness despite the dangers faced in doing so. The campaign the Mexican government has undertaken with Qorvis is a good first step, but this should not be the government's only effort to affect change. Rather than just using the Qorvis campaign as a mechanism to establish a better image in the press vis-à-vis the Mexican government’s response to cartel violence, this strategy can potentially be adapted to better disseminate information to the population. The use of satellites and drones creates the potential for more accurate monitoring of the conflict, which can ultimately lead to decreasing or stopping cartel activity.


III. Lessons Learned The right to information is essential for public and civic participation. Access to knowledge is a key ingredient for the proper functioning of government and it is imperative for an effective democracy. ICTs can increase public awareness of government activities and policies, allowing for better civilian participation in governance and potentially limiting misunderstandings and dissatisfaction with public policy. In cases of transitional governments in post-conflict situations, the freedom of access to information provides an opportunity for governments and civilians to reflect on past atrocities. Access to information can lead to better communication between warring parties or factions by exposing the causes of conflict and encouraging reconciliation for victims and families. Ultimately, better use of ICTs to promote participation and understanding can help dissuade future conflicts. ICT Use for Governance An effective way to make governments more accessible to civilians is to introduce electronic forms of government, known as eGovernment. Since the 1990s, e-Government has forced governments to be more responsive and communicative with citizens. EGovernment serves as a means for the populace to participate in government, regardless of their location, to comment on government proposals and provide alternate views and insights on proposed policies. ICTs and Propaganda Television and radio broadcasting play a powerful role in influencing stakeholders’ response to conflict situations, whether positively or negatively. In the last twenty years, however, rapid ICT development and utilisation has indisputably contributed to the efficiency and widespread effectiveness of hate propaganda in conflict and pre-conflict situations. In Sri Lanka, the Internet, particularly website, blog, video and email use, is a particularly effective medium for spreading propaganda and fundraising for violent activities. In Afghanistan, the Taliban takes advantage of various ICTs to spread propaganda and instil fear in certain populations within the country. These cases highlight the need for governments and intergovernmental organisations to monitor and counter propaganda using ICTs themselves in order to effectively combat terrorism. Hate propaganda campaigns disseminated by ICTs also precede inter-ethnic conflicts that result in mass violence perpetrated towards particular a particular ethnic group. Intergovernmental organisations and states possess the ability to diffuse these conflict situations by disabling ICTs or utilising ICTs to disseminate accurate and unbiased safety information within conflict zones. International laws and conventions, however, pose barriers that are difficult to bypass in cases of extreme emergencies. In both the Rwandan and Bosnian conflicts, international governments and the United Nations discussed utilising techniques such as jamming and counter-broadcasting as forms of intervention, but were unable to act on them due to political and financial restraints. Both the Rwandan and Bosnian governments denied the UN Radio permission to broadcast during peacekeeping missions, thereby destroying any chance of establishing of trustworthy venue for information during the conflict. These cases illustrate the international community’s underutilisation of ICTs to intervene in conflicts and highlight the need for an internationally coordinated mechanism and legal framework to allow ICT intervention in cases genocide and crimes against humanity are undoubtedly taking place. ICT Use for Security In the case of Sri Lanka, cyber-attacks on government websites demonstrate how the absence of cyber security and ICT expertise can exacerbate conflicts and undermine reconciliation efforts. The Sri Lankan government only began to curb the conflict after it sought knowledge from experts outside of the country on how to halt cyber-attacks that encouraged and justified violence against civilians, government officials and army members. ICT and Peacekeeping Missions If and when the international community decides to become involved in an on-going conflict, it is extremely important that intervening parties have acute information on the nature of the conflict as well as a keen understanding of goals and standards that must be maintained during the intervention. UN Peacekeeping missions with little knowledge of the conflict situation within a country and a lack of appropriate resources often fail. In the Bosnian conflict, the UN mandate centred on keeping the targeted population alive yet the peacekeepers were inaccurately informed and ill-equipped to handle the situation. In the UN designated


“safe zone” of Srebrenica, 400 Dutch peacekeepers were assigned to protect Muslim refugees, but were overpowered by Serb forces who then massacred 8,000 men and boys and subsequently displaced 25,000 women and children. By gathering refugees in one place but not accurately protecting them, the UN peacekeeping mission inadvertently opened the opportunity for Serb forces to commit genocide. Space-Based ICT Use The use of spaced based technology is controversial but has large potential for promoting peace if utilised correctly. In Afghanistan, the US military’s use of drones sometimes results in the loss of civilian life, causing scepticism amongst Afghans and a trust deficit between the US military and the Afghan people. The Taliban also uses these civilian deaths in propaganda campaigns to recruit members and supporters. The incorrect use of drones thus counters many of the positive results of spaced based ICTs, such as increased education and job opportunities for Afghans. It is therefore imperative that spaced based technologies are utilised correctly to disseminate messages of peace and tolerance rather than encourage acts of violence and terrorism. ICT for Education Initiatives ICT literacy projects help governments, NGOs and citizens in the conflict reconciliation process by providing necessary knowledge, tools and a platform for stakeholders to express their ideas and opinions. In Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Rwanda, ICTs have successfully increased education opportunities as well as expanded communication throughout rural areas of the country. ICTs and Transparency Social media is a key tool utilised by journalists in situations where they cannot report without fear of reprisals and violence, as in the case of Mexico. The relative anonymity that social media tools provide (especially Twitter, blogs, and YouTube) allows individuals, including those who are not professional journalists, to report freely and disseminate relevant information without government knowledge. Such information is instrumental in tracking patterns of violence, especially in situations where the government does not provide accurate information regarding violence to the public. In other instances, Internet and mobile phone use facilitates democratic dialogue under a repressive regime and encourages the involvement of stakeholders to demand changes in government policies and practices. During the Egyptian conflict, the use of mobile phones allowed citizens to capture images and videos of human rights abuses, which played a crucial role raising national and international awareness of the situation. ICTs and Access to Information Dissemination of information is necessary for coordinating and promoting anti-regime protests. In the Egypt case, the government increased its crackdown on journalists, bloggers and social media activists after the January 2011 uprising and even attempted to block all Internet access to prevent protestors from organising, coordinating, documenting violence and sharing information. Egyptians were able to bypass the Internet blockage through the use of a wide range of creative solutions including proxy servers, wireless mesh networks, fax modems, dial-up Internet using international numbers, amateur radio frequencies and other specially created services. With the proliferation of technology in almost every aspect of people’s daily lives across the globe, it only makes sense to approach issues of security, development, education, human rights, social progress and peacekeeping in a more holistic manner that fully integrates As demonstrated in this report, crowd sourced responses to a large variety of situations including natural disasters, political, social and economic crises, human rights violations and civil resistance movements have only increased in recent years. Because of technological innovations and changes to the process of creating and sharing information, responses to crises are less hierarchical and dependent on professional agencies. In many cases, communities lack the ability to overcome conflict without external aid, and often require support from intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations. In order for UN agencies to operate effectively in this modern age, they must invest and integrate modern digital and social technologies into all response strategies.


IV. Recommendations Our analysis finds the following recommendations necessary for a more efficient and effective use of ICTs in conflict situations. These recommendations specifically target the need for greater international cooperation regarding the use of ICTs during conflict and post-conflict development.

National governments in coordination with the United Nations need to establish a clear legal framework regarding the use of ICTs for intervention. Currently, there is no legal framework for ICT intervention apart from overarching treaties and conventions, which permit military intervention. The lack of clarity contributes to state resilience in utilising ICTs for intervention, for fear of legal obligation to intervene militarily. It is thus imperative that states create a distinct legal framework that factors genocide and crimes against humanity into the decision to override international telecommunication law and clearly outlines indicators that warrant ICT intervention.

National governments, in coordination with the United Nations, need to invest in a mechanism to utilise ICTs in conflict situations in cases where crimes against humanity and genocide are undoubtedly taking place. Part of this mechanism should be an ICT response team of technology experts responsible for monitoring and gauging the propagation of hate and propaganda across a wide range of media platforms. The team should be thoroughly informed about the situation on the ground and equipped to intervene by means of jamming, counter-broadcasting or destroying antennas in scenarios that warrant intervention. With an internationally backed and funded mechanism solely responsible for technological interventions in cases of ethnic, national governments will most likely approve and support intervention in cases of genocide rather than turn a blind eye to avoid military intervention and government spending.

The United Nations should have more freedom to utilise UN Radio and UN TV in peacekeeping operations without seeking permission from governments. UN radio and UN TV are unbiased and accurate venues for safety information during conflicts and are essential tools for promoting dialogues of peace and tolerance in preand post-conflict situations. UN Radio and UN TV are currently available to peacekeeping missions but must first receive permission from governments, often denied by repressive or hostile regimes. Thus, by making UN Radio and UN TV a required aspect of receiving peacekeeping missions, local populations will always have access to an accurate and trusted source of information, even under a hostile or oppressive government. To establish trust with local populations, the UN must train local journalists from all ethnic backgrounds to conduct UN reporting, rather than relying upon UN employees.

Peacekeeping missions must include a comprehensive exit strategy for UN Radio and UN TV that will include training the local communities to continue utilising radio and television stations that disseminate accurate and trusted information. A strong media-monitoring sector, based on ethical reporting practices and established as part of the exit strategy, will help counter distorted information and assure that peace is sustained in post-conflict situations.

The United Nations should utilise ICTs to create advanced cultural training modules for peacekeepers. These modules will include comprehensive information about the host country’s history, current political situation and cultural practices. They will also include a language component to aid peacekeepers in communicating with the local population. These sources will play a large part in pre-departure training and will be easily accessed from the host country for immediate reference, thus ensuring more knowledgeable peacekeepers better equipped to perform their duties.

Intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations should create centralised, reliable and frequently updated databases of accurate information on conflict situations that are open to the public. Intergovernmental organisations can collect this information from a wide variety of sources, including drones and satellites as well as onthe-ground reports. Journalists, bloggers and social media users can then access the databases to disseminate important and accurate information to a wider audience. Stakeholders can also utilise these databases for mapping projects that track violence within a conflict. Targeted tracking of violence in a conflict situation will provide invaluable information to decision makers, laying the groundwork for a strategy that may contain and ultimately end a conflict.


The United Nations along with governments, NGOs and private organisations should encourage and support innovative technological solutions to undermine and counter censorship by repressive governments. On the local level, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs should utilise ICTs such as mobile phones to create an open space for dialogue under governments that censor freedom of speech. These tools will gather information from civilians that may be too dangerous to talk about openly in public. Then NGOs and intergovernmental organisations can analyse the information to gauge political awareness, tensions within society and the potential for future conflict. On the national level, governments in coordination with the United Nations should discuss and authorise sanctions against states that use ICTs to monitor, censor and target individuals who criticise the government.

Governments and intergovernmental organisations should invest in space-based technologies to enable effective information sharing for promoting peace and stability within conflict countries. Spaced based technology is the newest and perhaps most comprehensive form of ICTs utilised today, and its influence will only grow over time as the cost decreases. Satellites and drones can observe and obtain information about conflict situations on the ground that is otherwise unobtainable. This valuable information can be utilised to support emergency response systems during conflicts and sustainable development during peace processes. It is thus imperative that the United Nations and governments invest in this technology to ensure its responsible and peaceful use.

Governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs should take a more active role in funding e-Learning programmes specifically directed at children that promote peace and tolerance. These programmes can take the form of television shows, websites or radio programmes and should encourage messages of peace and tolerance for youth growing up in conflict inflicted areas. Donors such as USAID have already begun this initiative by supporting Sesame Workshop, a project that produces country-specific versions of the Sesame Street series that focus on issues relevant to the country. Utilising ICTs for positive education is imperative to countering propaganda and future terrorism, as well as key to ensuring that children are equally informed and included in the peace building process.

Intergovernmental organisations and NGOs should support, fund and deliver ICT literacy programmes that incorporate local cultural dimensions, especially in conflict-affected areas. These technological skills provide participants with a voice in the reconciliation process and enable them to share their experiences through blogs, video blogs, podcasts and community Internet radio stations. Micro grants for these projects, with a focus on those that promote peace, provide additional incentives for participants to engage in democratic dialogue and facilitate negotiations among stakeholders. International and national financial institutions and governments should collaborate with local NGOs in funding these ICT literacy programmes. Additional financing should be contingent on the measured success of these projects in raising literacy rates and its impact on educational, economic and social development.





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Des Forges, Leave None to Tell the Story. 36






Under colonisation, the Belgians regarded the Tutsis as a “superior race” due to their physical features and placed them in positions of power over the Hutu majority. In this hierarchy, Hutus were treated as slaves and Tutsis as slave-handlers who carried out the colonial government’s wishes. When Rwanda gained independence in 1962, Belgium returned power to the Hutus who then installed a Hutu-led government. See Mahmoud Mamdani’s When Victims Become Killers for more information on Belgian colonisation of Rwanda and the racialization of the Hutu and Tutsis ethnic groups. 49

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Power, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.




Ratification of the Genocide Convention obligates states to take actions via the United Nations to prevent genocide under Article 7: “Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.” Calling upon the United Nations often entails sending peacekeeping troops to support the effort. See Samantha Power’s A Problem from Hell for more information on the United States’ decision to not send peacekeeping troops. 59

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The roots of the conflict can be traced back to the British occupation of Sri Lanka, where British favouritism for the Tamil Hindu minorities for several decades created a rift between the two ethnic groups and leading to the creation of a political nationalist identity for the Sinhalese population. See Manogaran, ‘Ethnic Conflict and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka’. 81

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Time Magazine. ‘The Tamil Tigers’.,8599,1869501,00.html (Accessed 1 April 2012). 86

Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon, ‘Ethnic Wars on Cyberspace: Case of Tamil Tigers and the Majoritarian Sinhalese State in Sri Lanka’, (paper presented at The 3rd International Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University, 2 April 2011.







The Hindu. ‘India expressed concern over LTTE radio equipment: U.S cable’ (Accessed 27 March 2012). 90

The Times of India, ‘Nine Killed in LTTE radio station attack in northern Sri Lanka’, world/27994029_1_radio-station-ltte-deep-penetration-unit (Accessed 27 March 2012). 91

Samarakoon, ‘Ethnic Wars on Cyberspace’.






Broadcast also reached parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. See Daly, ‘John CK. LTTE: Technologically innovative Rebels, International Affairs and Security Network’. 95

Daly, John CK. ‘LTTE: Technologically innovative Rebels, International Affairs and Security Network’, (Accessed 27 March 2012). 96

The Tamil Tigers were able to hijack Intelsat-12 because of it bent pipe satellite. This is a low costing, common piece of technology that can rebroadcast anything received within its frequency band. See Daly, ‘John CK. LTTE: Technologically innovative Rebels, International Affairs and Security Network’. 97

Winnowed, 6 February 2009 (11:32 a.m.), ‘The YouTube Offensive: Sri Lanka vs. LTTE’, 98









Citizen journalist websites such as and For more information, see Samarakoon, ‘Ethnic Wars on Cyberspace’. 103





The World Bank. ‘Making Sri Lanka More Competitive in the Region and Worldwide’, 31 January 2012.,,contentMDK:23102637~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSiteP K:4607,00.html?cid=3001_7 (Accessed 2 May, 2012). 106




Information and Communication Technology Agency, ‘e-Sri Lanka: Transforming a Nation through Information Communication Technology’, (Accessed 31 March 2012). 108









World Bank, ‘ICT at a Glance: Sri Lanka’, (Accessed 24 February 2012).


Siebert, Hannes, 14 October 2007, Sri Lanka’s Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Forum, 12 April 2012, ‘The Peacetools Blog’ 114



Freedom House. ‘Freedom in the World: Afghanistan’ (Accessed 5 March 2012). 116

Hassan, Zakaria. ‘The Internet in Afghanistan’ (Accessed 5 March 2012). 117

The World Bank. ‘IDA at Work: Afghanistan’,,contentMDK:21387642~menuPK:64282137~pagePK:41367~pi PK:279616~theSitePK:40941,00.html (Accessed 5 March 2012). 118

The World Bank. ‘World Bank Provides Further Support To Afghanistan’s Information and Communication Technologies Sector’,,contentMDK:22899239~menuPK:64282138~pagePK:41367~pi PK:279616~theSitePK:40941,00.html (Accesses 5 March 2012). 119

Ministry of Communication and Information and Communication Technology. ‘ICTI Collaboration Conference’ (Accessed 5 March 2012). 120

Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. ‘District Communication Network’ (Accessed 5 March 2012). 121

More information is available on completed projects at the MCIT website provided: Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. ‘Completed Projects’ (Accessed 5 March 2012). 122

Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. ‘Vision and Mission’ (Accessed 5 March 2012). 123

Ferris-Rotman, Amie. ‘Afghanistan Opens First Women-Only Internet Café’ (Accessed 23 April 2012). 124

USAID. ‘Afghan Next Generation e-Learning (ANGeL) Center Opens at Kandahar University’ _University (Accessed 6 March 2012).





USAID. ‘Afghan e-Quality Alliances (AeQA)’ (Accessed 6 March 2012). 127



For more information regarding USAID projects in Education visit: USAID. ‘Afghanistan: Education’ (Accessed 6 March 2012). 129

Hitchen, Theresa. ‘Development in Military Space: Movement Toward Space Weapons?’ (PAGE 2) (Accessed 14 March 2012). 130

Defense Industry Daily. ‘Small is Beautiful: US Military Explores Use of Microsatellites’ (Accessed 14 March 2012). 131

Drew, Christopher. ‘Drones are Playing a Growing Role in Afghanistan’ (Accessed 14 March 2012). 132



Ashton, Adam. ‘Drones let JBLM Soldiers Monitor Afghan Terrain’ (Accessed 14 March 2012). 134

Drew, ‘Drones are Playing a Growing Role in Afghanistan’.


Shah, Pir Zubair. ‘My Drone War’,4 (Accessed 20 April 2012). 136

Reuters. ‘US Drone Attacks from Afghanistan to end After 2014: FM’ (Accessed 20 April 2012). 137

Bruno, Greg. ‘Countering the Taliban’s Message in Afghanistan and Pakistan’ (Accessed 16 March 2012). 138

BBC News. ‘Afghan Taliban use Phones for Propaganda’ (Accessed 16 March 2012). 139

Azami, Dawood. ‘Taliban Harness Power of the Web’ (Accessed 16 March 2012).




The Hacker News. ‘Afghan Taliban Website Hacked 3rd Time by Hackers’ (Accessed 29 April 2012). 142

Howard, Philip N. ‘The Arab Spring’s Cascading Effects’, Pacific Standard, 23 February 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 143

Human Rights Watch, ‘Egypt: Journalists Still Risk Jail Under Press Law’, 11 July 2006. (Accessed 28 April 2012).



Arab Republic of Egypt. Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 145

Arab Republic of Egypt. Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. ‘Indicators’. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 146

Bruce Etling and others, ‘Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent’, Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2009-06, 2009 (Cambridge: The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, 2009). (Accessed 28 April 2012). 147

Cook, Steven. The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.




Wolman, David. ‘Cairo Activists Use Facebook to Rattle Regime’, Wired Magazine, 20 October 2008. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 150

El Amrani, Issandr. ‘The Murder of Khaled Said’, The Arabist, 14 June 2012. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 151

Shenker, Jack. ‘Mohamed ElBaradei joins Egyptian sit-in over police death case’, The Guardian, 25 June 2010. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 152

Meier, Patrick. ‘Analyzing U-Shahid’s Election Monitoring Reports from Egypt’, iRevolution, 8 May 2011. Available from (Accessed 28 April 2012). 153

Iacucci, Anahi Ayala. ‘Ushahidi Egypt: when open data is not so open, or when people just don’t get it’, Diary of a Crisis Mapper, 20 November 2010. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 154

Frontline. ‘April 6 Youth Movement’, Revolution in Cairo, 22 February 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 155

Giglio, Mike. ‘The Facebook Freedom Fighter’, The Daily Beast, 13 February 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 156

Cowie, James “Egypt Leaves the Internet”, Renesys Blog, 27 January 2011 (Accessed 28 April 2012). 157

Abell, John C. ‘Egypt Internet Restored; Cairo Protests Turn Violent’, Wired Magazine, 2 February 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 158

Singh, Ujjwal, and AbdelKarim Mardini, ‘Some weekend work that will (hopefully) enable more Egyptians to be heard’, Google Official Blog, 31 January 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 159

Cook, The Struggle for Egypt.


Gross, Grant. ‘Egyptian Activist: Internet Shutdown Backfired’, PCWorld, 3 February 2012. (Accessed 28 April 2012).



Bouckaert, Peter. ‘February 9: Egypt's Foreigner Blame Game’, in Revolution in the Arab World: Tunisia, Egypt, and the Unmaking of An Era, edited by Marc Lynch, Susan B. Glasser, and Blake Hounshell, 102-106. Washington: Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011. Ebook. 162

Cook, The Struggle for Egypt.


Bouckaert, ‘February 9’.


Khalil, Ashraf. ‘February 3: Sword vs. Pen’, in Revolution in the Arab World: Tunisia, Egypt, and the Unmaking of An Era, edited by Marc Lynch, Susan B. Glasser, and Blake Hounshell, 86-88. Washington: Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011. Ebook. 165

Reporters Without Borders. Press Freedom Index 2011/2012.,1043.html (Accessed 28 April 2012). 166

Adel Iskandar.’Free at Last? Charting Egypt's Media Post-Mubarak’, Jadaliyya, 19 December 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 167

Office of the Press Secretary. ‘Fact Sheet: Sanctions Against Those Complicit in Grave Human Rights Abuses Via Information Technology in Syria and Iran’, 23 April 2012. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 168

McVeigh, Karen. ‘British firm offered spying software to Egyptian regime – documents’. The Guardian, 28 April 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 169

Sonne, Paul and Steve Stecklow. ‘U.S. Products Help Block Mideast Web’. The Wall Street Journal, 27 March 2011. (Accessed 28 April 2012). 170

Chabat, Jorge. ‘Mexico’s War on Drugs: No Margin for Maneuver’. American Academy of Political and Social Science 582 (2002): 134-148. 171



Chorchado, Alfredo. ‘A Fighting Chance’. Wilson Quarterly 33:2 (2009): 18-23.


Flintoff, Corey. ‘A Look at Mexico’s Drug Cartels’. NPR, 16 April 2009. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 174

Cook, Colleen W. ‘CRS Report for Congress: Mexico’s Drug Cartels’. Congressional Research Service, 16 October 2007. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 175

Ellingwood, Ken. ‘Criticism of Calderon mounts over Mexico drug violence’. Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 176

Rawlins, Aimee. ‘Mexico’s Drug War’. Council on Foreign Relations, 13 December 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 177

Chorchado, ‘A Fighting Chance’.


Archibold, Randall C. ‘Mexico’s Drug War Bloodies Areas Thought Safe’. New York Times, 18 January 2012. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 43


‘Drug gangs blamed for Honduras factory massacre’. BBC, 8 September 2012. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 180

‘Mexico: Zetas cartel blamed over Tamaulipas mass graves’. BBC, 12 April 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 181

‘Bodies hung from bridge in Cuernavaca, Mexico’. BBC, 22 August 2010. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 182

Greenslade, Roy. ‘Another Mexican journalist shot dead’. Guardian, 10 January 2012. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 183

Arsenault, Chris. ‘Dying to cover the drug war’. Al Jazeera, 2 July 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 184

Burnett, John. ‘Mexican Drug Cartels Now Menace Social Media’. NPR, 23 September 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 185

Chorchado, ‘A Fighting Chance’.


‘Q&A: Mexico’s drug-related violence’. BBC, 25 January 2012. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 187

Cave, Damien. ‘Mexico Updates Death Toll in Drug War to 47, 515, but Critics Dispute the Data’. New York Times, 11 January 2012. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 188



Lacey, Marc. ‘In Mexican Drug War, Investigators Are Fearful’. New York Times, 16 October 2009. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 190

‘Q&A: Mexico’s drug-related violence’.


Hanson, Stephanie. ‘Mexico’s Spreading Drug Violence’. Council on Foreign Relations, 21 November 2008. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 192

‘Mexico: Widespread Rights Abuses in ‘War on Drugs’”. Human Rights Watch, 10 November 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 193

‘Mexico: Deliver Justice for Killings, Disappearances in Monterrey’. Human Rights Watch, 3 February 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 194

The World Bank. ‘Internet users’. (Accessed 1 March 2012).


The World Bank. ‘Fixed broadband Internet subscribers (per 100 people)’. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 196

The World Bank. ‘Mobile phone cellular subscriptions per 100 people’. (Accessed 1 March 2012).



‘Mexican social media boom draws drug cartel attacks’. Reuters, 27 September 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 198

Tuckman, Jo. ‘Twitter feeds and blogs tell hidden story of Mexico’s drug wars’. Guardian, 26 September 2010. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 199!/infonarco (Accessed 1 April 2012).

200!/narco_news (Accessed 1 April 2012).

201!/narcotweet (Accessed 1 April 2012).

202!/violencemexico (Accessed 1 April 2012).


O’Connor, Mike. ‘The press silenced, Nuevo Laredo tries to find voice’. Committee to Protect Journalists Blog, 22 December 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 204

‘Publisher of Narco Blog says the Mexican press censorship comes from the government’. Neustra Telenoticias, 8 June 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 205

Arsenault, Chris. ‘Mexico’s narco blog: Drug deaths in real time’. Al Jazeera, 25 April 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 206

‘Two Killed in Mexico for ‘Anti-Cartel’ Tweets’. Freedom House House. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 207

‘Manifiesto tuitero contra la violencia a los usuarios de las redes sociales en México’. 9 November 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 208

Okeowo, Alexis. ‘To Battle Cartels, Mexico Weighs Twitter Crackdown’. Time, 14 April 2010.,8599,1981607,00.html (Accessed 1 March 2012). 209

Jervis, Rick. ‘YouTube riddled with drug cartel videos, messages’. USA Today, 13 April 2009. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 210

‘Hackers threaten Mexican drug cartel’. CBC News, 31 October 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 211

Qorvis. ‘Government of Mexico: Social Media’.


Ibid. (Accessed 1 April 2012). 213

Boeing. ‘Mexican Satellite System’. (Accessed 1 April 2012). 214

Sheridan, Mary Beth. ‘Mexico confirms use of U.S. drones in drug war’. Washington Post, 16 March 2011. (Accessed 1 March 2012). 215

‘US spy drones used in Mexico’s war on drugs’. The Independent, 17 March 2011.

45 (Accessed 1 March 2012). Front cover image: Police cracks down on martyrs' families in Tahrir on 28 June 2011. Hossam_el-Hamalawy/Flickr


VI. Appendix ICTs and Access to Information: Global Overview of Internet Access, Regulation and Restrictions Region




Less than 0.01% of the population has access to the Internet. Slow reform and liberalization of the telecommunication sector.

ICT policies that stress the importance of online freedom of expression for economic development. Anti-terror legislation has provided increased state power to monitor communication.

Extreme poverty and lack of access. Culture of self-censorship/hostile environment.

Growth of access, particularly in urban centers.

Political recognition of the importance of the Internet for economic, political, and social progress. Post 9/11 legislation increasingly restricts online content considered unacceptable or harmful.

Still lack of access, especially in rural areas. State censorship in many legal and technical forms.


High level of access, especially in northern Europe. Increasing consolidation and cross-ownership in the privatized telecom sector.

EU and Council of Europe regulation/protection in place for freedom of expression (and privacy); however, since 9/11 increased pressure on freedom of expression.

Lack of access, especially in southern and eastern Europe. Some self-regulation and some filters on public computers.

Latin America

High level of access in urban areas of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina; lower in rural areas and countries. Telecommunication sector mostly privatized, with universal access obligation.

Constitutional protections for freedom of expression and privacy in place in most countries. Special rapporteur for freedom of expression.

Lack of access, especially in rural areas. no specific restrictions on the use of the Internet. Mandatory filters at public access points in some countries.

Middle East

Still relatively limited access in many countries, only 2.2% of the population has access to the Internet. Relatively weak telecommunication structure.

State ownership or strict laws on media in general. A few states have permitted a more liberal approach to Internet regulation than is permitted to other media.

Media controlled and closely monitored by government. Direct censorship by state; culture of self-censorship.

Highest level of access after Scandinavia. Cheap and liberalized telecommunication infrastructure.

Long tradition of strong constitutional protection of civil rights. Since 9/11, strong pressure on freedom of expression and privacy. Several more restrictive laws introduced. Increase in exceptions to freedom of information.

Use of filter at public schools and libraries is mandatory in the USA in order to receive state funding. No state filtering or blocking in Canada.



North America

Source: Human Rights in the Global Information Society, 65 Taken from Regional reports presented in Privacy International and GreenNet Educational Trust (2003).


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