Newspaper coverage of a Sierra Leone war crimes trial: a ‘continuation of conflict by other means’
SubjectsSpecial Court for Sierra Leone
Civil Defence Force
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AbstractThe most controversial trial conducted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted leaders of the Civil Defence Force of serious violations of international humanitarian law during the country’s 11-year civil war. Many in Sierra Leone thought the trial should never have been held, on the grounds that the CDF leadership were ‘heroes’ for coming to the aid of the government in the mid- 1990s. Critics argued that pressure for a prosecution came principally from outside the country, particularly the United States. Opinion in Sierra Leone tended to be shaped along ethnic and regional lines, and a research study, funded by the British Academy, has sought to establish whether domestic newspaper coverage of the trial mirrored this ethno-regional division. Borrowing a paradigm from a study of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, the authors conclude that in many respects, the reportage of the trial was ‘a continuation of conflict by other means’.
CitationSilverman J., Binneh-Kamara A. (2016) 'Newspaper coverage of a Sierra Leone war crimes trial: A ‘continuation of conflict by other means’', African Journalism Studies, 37 (2), pp.56-76.
JournalAfrican Journalism Studies
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