Coordinator: Julie Marie Hansen

Media are important strategic channels for actors within conflict, peace, security and social processes – including governments, politicians, rebel groups, humanitarian aid organizations, and terrorists. Mass media, traditional media, digital media and ‘new media’ are platforms where actors try to harness media in their battle for winning 'hearts and minds'. But how do actors engage with their media environments? Do they see it merely as a platform? And how do media platforms affect social processes? Can media be a facilitator of change, or continuance? Of violence, or peace? 

The Media research group seeks a holistic research approach that furthers critical debate on how media function as mediators, facilitators, and interpreters of conflict, crises and social dynamics, both locally and internationally. Our approach includes both traditional media (television, radio, digital and print) and 'new media' such as Facebook and Twitter.
Our research includes the following themes:

1.      Media as platforms for discourses

National and international media landscapes both influence and are influenced by political agendas. Media play a role in shaping identities, and they contribute to inclusionary and exclusionary processes and social change. Methods for researching media are tools that enable researchers to understand such media ‘effects’. Regarding media as platforms for discourses is useful to observe agendas and discourses, be informed about societal events and processes, and analyze the interrelations between media and social dynamics.

2.      Media as agents in war, conflict and crisis

Wars, conflicts, and crises are influenced by media – whether local, national, or international. Media can be used by conflict actors to sustain conflict or sell war rationales, or by non-violent peace activists in their attempt to end war. They can contribute to making such processes visible, or even credible, to a large audience. Extensive coverage through an ever increasing number of 24-hour media networks can shape citizens' perceptions of which crises are important. Aid actors can use media to raise public pressure to 'do something' in times of crisis. Media play a role in affecting societal processes and social structures in times of war, conflict and crisis.

3.      'New media' as platforms for mobilization

'New media', as platforms that allow open participation, are increasingly used to mobilize and influence societal outcomes. Examples of such media are blogs, Wikipedia, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. What has come to be known as the Arab Spring demonstrated the power of new media, as ordinary citizens used their access to virtual social networks in protesting against authorities. The question of whether such efforts are replicable, now that governments are aware of the (perceived) power of new media, remains.  Furthermore, new media can function as platforms for security policies or the establishment of a sense of post-disaster community at the grassroots level.

4.     Ethical aspects of media and free speech

How should media communicate during conflict and crises? How do we balance a robust freedom of speech with ethical concerns such as truthfulness, quality, and decency? This has become a great challenge, as media reports, and the accompanying global reach of the Internet and social media, can spread all kinds of messages at great speed, often inflaming passions and sometimes laying the groundwork for or exacerbating social conflict. At the same time, it is exceedingly hard to regulate the tone and atmosphere of the media without infringing on free speech and the freedom of the press. Finding innovative and ethically sound ways to strike this balance is arguably one of the great tasks of our times.

Research Group News

Past Events


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Fangen, Katrine & Lisanne Lichtenberg (2021) Gender and family rhetoric on the German far right, Patterns of Prejudice. DOI: 10.1080/0031322X.2021.1898815: 1–23.
Høigilt, Jacob (2017) Egyptian Comics and the Challenge to Patriarchal Authoritarianism, International Journal of Middle East Studies 49(1): 111–131.
Ezzati, Rojan Tordhol & Marta Bivand Erdal (2017) Do we have to agree? Accommodating unity in diversity in post-terror Norway, Ethnicities. DOI: 10.1177/1468796816684145.
Fangen, Katrine & Åshild Kolås (2016) The "Syria traveller": Reintegration or legal sanctioning?, Critical Studies on Terrorism 9(3): 414–432.
Gilboa, Eytan; Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert; Jason Miklian & Piers Robinson (2016) Moving Media and Conflict Studies Beyond the CNN Effect, Review of International Studies 42(4): 654–672.
Miklian, Jason (2015) India's Dangerous Digital Curfews, Foreign Policy(12).
Kaufmann, Mareile (2015) Resilience 2.0: social media use and (self-)care during the 2011 Norway attacks, Media, Culture & Society 37(7): 972–987.
Kaufmann, Mareile (2015) Exercising emergencies: Resilience, affect and acting out security, Security Dialogue 47(2): 99–116.
Jumbert, Maria Gabrielsen & David Lanz (2013) Globalised Rebellion: The Darfur insurgents and the world, Journal of Modern African Studies 51(2): 193–217.
Kolås, Åshild (2010) The 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks: (Re-)Constructing Indian (Counter-)Terrorism, Critical Studies on Terrorism 3(1): 83–98.
Miklian, Jason (2008) International Media’s Role on US-Small State Relations: The Case of Nepal, Foreign Policy Analysis 4(4): 399–418.

PhD Thesis

Kaufmann, Mareile (2016) Resilience - governance and in/security in interconnected societies. PhD thesis, Criminology, Hamburg University.

Book Chapter

Høigilt, Jacob (2017) Dialect with an Attitude: Language and Criticism in New Egyptian Print Media, in Høigilt, Jacob; & Gunvor Mejdell, eds, The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World: Writing Change. Leiden: Brill (166–189).
Høigilt, Jacob & Gunvor Mejdell (2017) Introduction, in Høigilt, Jacob; & Gunvor Mejdell, eds, The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World: Writing Change. Leiden: Brill (1–17).
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2013) Når ute også er hjemme. Migrasjon og utenrikspolitikk, in Weltzien, Åsmund; & Odd Mølster, eds, Norge og det nye verdenskartet. Oslo: Cappelen Damm (58–79).
Ezzati, Rojan Tordhol (2011) 'Alle ser på oss som utlendinger uansett': Selvbilder og andre bilder av unge menn med muslimsk bakgrunn etter 11. september 2001, in Eriksen, Thomas Hylland; & Hans Erik Næss, eds, Kulturell kompleksitet i det nye Norge. Oslo: Unipub (57–67).

Edited Volume

Høigilt, Jacob; & Gunvor Mejdell, eds, (2017) The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World: Writing Change. Leiden: Brill. Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics.

Popular Article

Hansen, Julie Marie (2018) The Other Side of Facebook in Myanmar, PRIO Blogs, 12 November.
Ezzati, Rojan Tordhol (2016) Fellesskap i terrorens tid [A sense of community in times of terror], Dagsavisen, 20 July.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2015) Når blir du norsk? [When do you become Norwegian?], Aftenposten, 8 May.
Jumbert, Maria Gabrielsen (2015) Terroraksjoner i sosiale medier [Terror attacks in social media], Dagbladet, 14 April.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2015) Evig innvandrer, aldri norsk [Eternal immigrant, never Norwegian], Bergens Tidende, 22 January.
Syse, Henrik & Odin Lysaker (2014) Slik får vi en anstendig debatt, Aftenposten, 22. september, 22 September.
Lysaker, Odin & Henrik Syse (2013) Ingen ytringsfrihet uten etikk [No freedom of speech without ethics], Aftenposten, 29 mai, 29 May.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2013) Norge og det nye verdenskartet [Norway and the new world map], Dagsavisen, 22 May.
Ezzati, Rojan Tordhol (2011) Fragmentering i terrorens tid [Fragmentation in the Time of Terror], Dagsavisen, 2 August.
Ezzati, Rojan Tordhol (2010) Kravet om forklaring, Dagsavisen, 14 July.

Master Thesis

Stigum, Marielle (2009) Media Discourse and the Migrant : Constructing Migrant Legality and Illegality in France. MA thesis, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo.
Jacobsen, Elida Kristine Undrum (2007) Norwegian Media Discourses and the Middle-Eastern Other. Identity and Security.Universitat Jaume 1, .
Jacobsen, Elida K. U. (2007) Norwegian Media Discourses and the Middle-Eastern Other. Identity and Security. MA thesis, Universitat Jaume 1, Castellón: Universitat Jaume 1.

Conference Paper

Ortmann, Bernhard & Hkalen Tu Hkawng (2020) Discussing nonviolence on Facebook. The protests in Myitkyina in April 2018 in the context of Christian Kachin ethno-nationalism, presented at PRIO-MIPS final conference Social media in armed conflict, Oslo, 221125.
Zaman, Anis (2020) Role of Social Media in the Rise of Buddhist extremism in Myanmar, presented at PRIO-MIPS final conference Social media in armed conflict, Oslo, 20201125.
Jacobsen, Elida Kristine Undrum 2008 Media Coverage of Islam, presented at Popular Lecture. Oslo: HL Senteret, , .
Jacobsen, Elida K. U. (2008) 'Our' values and the 'Other': The West, Islam, and (Counter) Discourses of Enmity in the Mass-Media, presented at Propaganda: War and Biopolitics, HL senteret; Oslo, 22 October.

PRIO Policy Brief

Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2015) Alder, botid og livsfase: Integrering i et tidsperspektiv [Norwegian version], PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2015) Age, life cycle, and length of stay: temporal perspectives on integration [English version], PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Rasmussen , Joel & Øyvind Ihlen (2015) Lessons from Norwegian Emergency Authorities’ Use of Social Media, PRIO Policy Brief, 14. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

, Min Zaw Oo; Maung Ne Lynn Aung ; & Morgan Michaels (2022) Annual Peace & Security Review 2020, MIPS Annual Peace and Security Review. Yangon: Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security (MIPS).

Book Review

Blog Posts

Soft Power and Disinformation: The Strategic Role of Media in Wagner’s Expansion in Africa

Posted by Balthazar Sellier on Monday, 27 March 2023

After its first steps on the African continent in Libya in 2017, the Wagner Group has been deployed in Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, and at the end of 2021 in Mali. This rapid expansion over the years contributes to the instability and insecurity in these regions. The ... Read more »

In Autocracies, a Little Media Freedom Can Go a Long Way

Posted by Martín Macías Medellín, Mauricio Rivera & Kristian Skrede Gleditsch on Friday, 18 March 2022

Mobilization in autocracies is inherently difficult. Potential dissidents face several hurdles, even when grievances are widespread and a regime is unpopular. Participating in dissent is dangerous and leaves individuals at risk of repression by state security forces. Safety in numbers is possible if others also mobilize, but in autocracies people ... Read more »

The Digital Battlefield

Posted by Niels Nagelhus Schia on Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Photos, stories and videos featuring victims of the war in Ukraine are spreading all over the world on social media. This will change our perception of war. So far, cyber attacks and cyber operations have played a smaller role than expected in the warfare in Ukraine, social media on the ... Read more »

Facebook's Power in Myanmar

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Friday, 5 February 2021

Facebook is Myanmar’s dominant media platform. Now the country is again a dictatorship. In 2018, Facebook banned commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing for his role in the expulsion of the Rohingya. Now, as the country’s new dictator, he temporarily shuts down Facebook. Myanmar’s many conflicts have given Facebook director Mark Zuckerberg ... Read more »

The individual, the national, and the global: New connections in times of China-US confrontation

Posted by Ilaria Carozza on Monday, 26 October 2020

As the ongoing confrontation between the US and China has entered the technological and digital realms, we are pushed to rethink the relationship between individuals, nations and the entire world as more fluid than it has ever been before. While we grapple with these changes, the EU is on the ... Read more »

The Pitfalls of Societal Impact in a Politicized Environment: An Example from the Corona Era

Posted by Nic Marsh on Monday, 13 July 2020

The British magazine The Spectator referred to research published in Norway to back up the magazine’s claim that societal lockdowns are not an effective means to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections. This unlikely occurrence highlights some of the difficulties in ensuring that research has a societal impact. Funders and ... Read more »

The Other Side of Facebook in Myanmar

Posted by Julie Marie Hansen on Monday, 12 November 2018

Facebook has been making headlines this year with what seems like scandal after scandal, from the Cambridge Analytica data breach to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of the United States Congress as a result. But perhaps one of the most serious scandals has been the social media platform’s ... Read more »

The Sargentini Report and Hungary: How to Shape a Parallel Reality

Posted by Júlia Palik on Thursday, 25 October 2018

Hungary is in the international spotlight again. On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament voted in favor of the Sargentini report – named after the author, the Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini– with a two-thirds majority. The report called for the activation of Article 7 (1) of the Treaty on European ... Read more »

Performing Grief

Posted by Francis Steen on Friday, 21 July 2017

As we discuss the relationship between public and private mourning and grief, consider the emotional handling of the Newtown school shooting in 2012, where twenty children were killed at Sandy Hook elementary school. Such a traumatic event destabilizes people, creating a felt deficit in emotional support. When President Obama visited ... Read more »

How comics can make the Arab world a better place

Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Saturday, 6 May 2017

Most Arab countries today are governed by more or less authoritarian regimes that nourish a patriarchal social and political order. This order marginalizes young people, and particularly women. There are moments when it is openly challenged. We saw it across the Arab world in 2011 and afterwards. Several art forms ... Read more »

Trump and Threats to Truth, Democracy and Peace

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Stein Tønnesson delivered this year’s The Fjord Memorial Lecture  at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer. The lecture discusses Trump’s team of advisors, calls for fighting the increasing use of lies in political campaigning, sees Trump’s election as having weakened democracy worldwide, and perceives a major risk to world ... Read more »

On Bullshit and Research

Posted by Torkel Brekke on Monday, 23 January 2017

Researchers who write articles or give interviews must be given approval rights over how their material is presented. My year as an academic has been bookended by a couple of awkward encounters between my own research and a new media reality. The year has also provided a rich crop of ... Read more »

A Bug in the System

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal on Friday, 2 September 2016

Palestine does not exist on the map and is also not easy to find in the jam-packed schedules of diplomats working with the Middle East. A Twitter storm was unleashed a couple of weeks ago when rumours spread among pro-Palestinian activists that Google had removed Palestine from its mapping service. ... Read more »

From the House of Cards to House of Data?

Posted by Rocco Bellanova on Thursday, 10 March 2016

The fourth season of the Netflix series House of Cards was released worldwide on the 4th March. Which is to say, the week-end when many International Relations (IR) researchers are still rushing to finalize their conference paper for the annual convention of the International Studies Association (ISA). And, if you ... Read more »

Is Apple the New Global Dictator?

Posted by Hanne Eggen Røislien & Bjarte Malmedal on Friday, 26 February 2016

Apple, CISCO and Microsoft rule the world, and intend to do so. Imagine if CISCO or Apple held a general election. Billboards with potential board members smiling at us with an apple in one hand and a ballot in the other. Anyone who owns a computer or an iPad or ... Read more »

Segregation Kills: How Social Media Fuels Violence in African States

Posted by Camber Warren on Monday, 9 November 2015

Pundits and academics alike tell us that we are supremely fortunate to be living in a new “information age.” However, new findings which I present in an article in a Journal of Peace Research special issue paint a far more complicated picture of the consequences of increased human connectivity. Ours ... Read more »

When Internet Access Becomes a Weapon

Posted by Anita Gohdes on Monday, 26 October 2015

Social Media has rightly been celebrated as an empowering tool for ordinary citizens to mobilize against repressive rulers, and make marginalized voices heard. But a crucial question remains unanswered: why should power-hungry states, with de facto control over access to the Internet, impassively concede to defeat? The simple answer is: they ... Read more »

Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter

Posted by Jørgen Carling on Monday, 7 September 2015

The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and others have examined the usage of ‘refugees’ versus ‘migrants’ over the past week. The general impression ... Read more »

Social Media Responses to this Winter’s Terror Attacks

Posted by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert on Thursday, 23 April 2015

Social media have brought Kenya into focus recently, with people’s reactions to the attack at the University of Garissa spreading on Facebook and Twitter. Social media users have been sharing an image of a candle against a black background, accompanied by the single word “Kenya”. In this way they have ... Read more »

Paving the Road to Democracy or Unleashing Big Brother? The Internet under Dictatorships

Posted by Espen Geelmuyden Rød on Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Today almost half of China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are online, along with 85 million Russians and 17 million Saudis. The proportion of people with Internet access in these countries will soon be comparable to that of the United States, Germany and Japan. But what are the political consequences of allowing ... Read more »

Dial ICT for Conflict? Four Lessons on Conflict and Contention in the Info Age

Posted by Jason Lyall, Nils B. Weidmann & Allan Dafoe on Thursday, 26 February 2015

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of interest among political scientists in the outbreak and dynamics of civil wars. Much of this research has been facilitated by the rise of electronic media, including newspapers but extending to social media (Twitter, Facebook) that permit the collection of fine-grained data on ... Read more »

Who is Charlie? And What Now?

Posted by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert on Tuesday, 13 January 2015

On Sunday 11 January France witnessed the largest rally on records of people taking to the streets with close to 4 million people all over the country, of which almost 1,5 million in Paris. The world saw one of the largest gatherings of state leaders in one place outside of ... Read more »

The Limits of post-22 July Media Debates

Posted by Tine Ustad Figenschou & Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud on Friday, 27 June 2014

In times of crisis, citizens and victims typically look to the government for leadership, protection, direction, and order – what is often characterized as a ‘master narrative’. Faced with terror and tragedy journalists seek to comfort and reassure the public, and willingly and instinctively move from their professional, neutral critical ... Read more »

Ethical Challenges of Internet Research on 22/7

Posted by Mareile Kaufmann on Tuesday, 25 June 2013

For my research on post-22/7 resilience and social media, I am drawing on data sources from the internet. Even though this data is publicly available, there are several ethical issues to be considered. A core controversy of internet-based research is the definition of public and private space: speakers may assume ... Read more »