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If It Bleeds It Leads: The Lord’s Resistance Army in the International Press
Date of Submission: August 23, 2010 Candidate Number: 11578 Supervisor: Dr. Margaret Scammell MSc Program: Media, Communication and Development Word Count: 9887
Dissertation (MC499) submitted to the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics, August 2010, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MSc in Media, Communication and Development.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract 1. Introduction
2. Theoretical Foundations
2.1 Literature Review Historical Overview Representation and Post‐Colonization: The Creation of the Dark Continent Sensationalism, Simplification and Victimization: Journalism Today Politics and Pity, Agency and Africa 2.2 Conceptual Framework and Research Objectives
3. Research Design and Methodology
Justification for Selected Approach: Content Analysis Justification for Selected Approach: Discourse Analysis 3.1 Methods and Procedures Selection of Data Content Analysis: Specific Methods and Procedures Discourse Analysis: Specific Methods and Procedures
41. Content Analysis Quantitative Results Discussion 4.2 Discourse Analysis Textual Practice Discursive Practice Socio‐Cultural Practice Discussion
5. Conclusion Appendices
“It is too good to be true. Behind its glittering mask (Uganda) wears a sinister aspect…a sense of indefinable oppression…a cut will not heal, a scratch festers.”
Winston Churchill on Uganda from, My African Journey
This dissertation concerns the treatment of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the international, elite press and focuses on how the group was portrayed in terms of emphasis on violence and political agency between the years 1999 and 2008. Research shows that the African continent at large is often treated in a sweeping, sensationalistic manner in the mainstream press. Conflicts are attributed to “ethnic differences” and much attention is paid to extreme violence and dire conditions. British colonization laid the ground for brutal political turmoil which immediately began at the offset of Uganda’s independence in 1962. A complex relationship between the north and the south that has its roots in the dictates of colonial rulebecame more conflicted after decades of back‐and‐forth power games and sparked Joseph Kony to take the mantle from Alice Lawkena’s Holy Spirit Movement and form the LRA. Known for it’s sadistic practices, child abductions and terror tactics the LRA’s rebel forces have caused problems in Uganda since the mid‐ 1980’s. The massacres became so effective that the Ugandan government mandated that the people of the north move into Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps where they live in atrocious conditions, dying from curable diseases in massive numbers every week and operate at the mercy of the government soldiers. The situation in the north of Uganda has spiraled into a humanitarian crisis. Given how the press treats Africa and the situation in Uganda the research addresses two issues: (1) How the LRA is covered in terms of focus on violent activity and (2) How is political agency and motivation allocated to the (generally educated and elite) readers of the press as juxtaposed with the Ugandan government and the LRA. Content analysis and discourse analysis were selected for their respective individual utility in finding overall patterns and allowing for a “deep” reading of issues.
Drawing from extensive research, content and discourse analysis this paper
uses the LRA and the general situation in north Uganda to provide insight into how the international press treats a violent distant African “other.” It concludes that the press examined, while not overtly focusing on bloody gore or making obvious generalizations, does not cover the situation with the complexity needed and does nothing to dig below the surface of the crisis cover the topic with a stance that deviates from the mainstream.
Though President Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan government are keen
to brush over controversial issues and look to promote the country as a “rare African success story,” Ugandan history is one characterized by upheaval and politically motivated violence (Rice, 2009: 9). Theory and history have proved that decolonization is an inherently brutal process (Fanon, 1965) and since the nation’s 1962 independence the country had seen ongoing periods of bloodshed that has aspects directly or indirectly tied to its colonial past. Each era of horror in post‐ colonial Ugandan history has impacted the next: internal competition for power peaked famously during the notorious reign of the cruelly paranoid dictator Idi Amin whose rule crumbled as Milton Obote and Museveni vied for power. The violence that allowed for Museveni’s eventual victory and subsequent Presidency has played a role in causing the nation’s latest man‐made disaster, the insurgent Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Based in the north of Uganda and Sudan, the LRA is a spiritually motivated ferocious rebel group renowned for its weird and cultish rituals, child abductions and guerilla terror practices. Besides kidnapping and indoctrinating children, the LRA’s victims have been forced to kill and maim or be killed and be maimed (Allen, 2006: 1‐2). The group is infamous for forcing its captives to kill their parents and for cutting off the limbs and lips of its victims. The LRA has been responsible for several massacres of civilians and because of its effective terror tactics and guerilla style warfare, the Ugandan government has forced hundreds of thousands of its citizens in the north into internal displacement camps where they live in appalling conditions (Allen, 2006: 1‐2). It is this situation that led Jan Egeland, the head of disaster relief for the United Nations in 2003 to call the situation in northern Uganda ‘the biggest forgotten and neglected humanitarian emergency in the world’ (Green, 2008: 83). The same year that Egeland made this statement, President Museveni requested
that the International Criminal Court (ICC) intervene and investigate the situation. The decision to establish the ICC as part of the 1998 Rome Statue led to its official formation in 2002(Allen, 2006: 1‐2). A young institution clumsily formed after much power politicking and compromise, the ICC is still finding its footing in the international arena. The complexities implicit in the existence of an international court and the amount of power it is able to wield are a subject of academic debate. The depiction of Africa as a place of violence, savagery and darkness has become a tedious norm in contemporary media representations, and speaks to many of the larger issues plaguing the modern, globalized press. Coverage of Africa is sensationalized and simplified, and is almost exclusively about poverty, war and death. It includes breaking news of catastrophes but gives little background information or follow up and even less explanations from an African perspective (Dowden, 2008: 4‐5). This type of portrayal has impacted the public’s understanding of the continent and has influenced policy accordingly. The LRA works as a truly interesting case study in international press coverage because the group fulfills the stereotypes upon which the news of Africa focuses. It is a spiritually motivated group that uses child soldiers and performs weird cultish violence. With the LRA this research can examine exactly what the media does when faced with something that appears to fulfill all these standard, tried and true stereotypes. Will the press fall into the trap of sensationalism and de‐contextualized reporting such a group so easily provides? Or will they dig below the surface? The crisis in Uganda, as with all African stories, is treated as a pop culture pity phenomenon in the mainstream media, the press examined here, namely, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Daily Telegraph are expected to raise the bar, and to work on a higher plateau. Using this press, the research will analyze how the international elite media depict the LRA in regards to representations of distant violence and political agency. To best juxtapose the treatment of distant others as contrasted with the treatment of the west, this paper will analyze articles written before, during and after the ICC’s indictment. The contribution of this research, written by a western student with a western point of view, is invariably moral and ethical in motivation and is tinged 7
with youthful idealism. It is not a comparative analysis, but ultimately hopes to provide insight into the state of international elite print through this case study.
2. THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW HISTORCAL OVERVIEW A historical overview will inform some of the post‐colonial theory that impacts power relations in the depiction of Uganda in the international elite press. It also highlights some of the complexities of the war, which will later shed light on how the press has treated this complicated situation. War in the Uganda‐Sudan northern border region has occurred throughout history. Following the pattern of abductions associated with the LRA in recent times it appears the group has perhaps deliberately reproduced the violence that devastated the area in the 1850’s via armed traders and explorers (Allen, 2006: 26; Green,2008: 66). After the 1876 plea from the explorer Henry Morgan Stanley published in the Daily Telegraph, British missionaries arrived in droves in what was then the kingdom of Buganda, attempting to convert the people from Islam and paganism to Christianity. They found the converts receptive to new religion but were frustrated by their refusal to give up their old Gods (Allen, 2006: 31; Green, 2008: 69‐70; Reid, 2009: 122; Rice, 2009: 8). Reid (2009: 124) notes that even from pre‐colonial times, there was a deep tension in the society between interest and a desire to embrace the new and a fear of change and desperation to hold on to tradition. Green (2008:60) adds that it seems that for the past 150 years the people of northern Uganda have been forced into a variety of encounters with an array of outsiders, from Arab slavers to British colonialists and later a government which exercised its power from distance. As it did in its other colonies, the British style of indirect rule increased tension between people and constructed and then enforced the idea of tribal identity (Reid, 2009: 173, 199). The influence of Jan Speke’s Hamatic theory, which posited that ability and intellect could be determined based on physical appearance (Gourevitch, 1998:52), and the assistance the people from the southern region of Buganda provided the British meant that the Acholi people in the north were
understood as lazy and meant for soldiering and war, while the Buganda enjoyed the privileges of the ruling class. The seat of Ugandan politics has since been based in the south (Green, 2008: 69‐70; Rice, 2009: 7; Reid, 2009: 264). These broad divisions meant that northerners were suspicious of and resentful toward those in the south; it was in this way that the Acholi and other ‘tribes’ were constructed as separate population groups (Allen, 2006: 26; Green, 2008: 64). After independence in 1962, Uganda collapsed along the regional and ethnic boundaries the colonialists constructed (Rice, 2009: 8). The constitution created did not address the competing demands of the various communities and politics became increasingly tinged with ethnic tensions (Green, 2008: 73). In 1971, the first head of state Milton Obote (a northerner from the Lango area, next to Acholiland) was evicted in a coup led by the Muslim soldier General Idi Amin (Rice, 2009 8; Green, 2008: 73). The horrors of Amin’s regime are well documented but what is significant for this paper was that because his own power‐base was in the north‐west, Amin went about setting up his influence in the south by butchering soldiers from Obote’s ethnic group, the Langi and Acholi, who could pose a threat.1 After Amin seized control, thousands of Acholi fled the country, some forming the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), after Amin invaded Tanzania in 1979, the UNLA fought back with Museveni’s Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) to overthrow Amin in 1979. The end of Amin’s reign ushered in the Obote II regime. Held in power by the mostly‐Acholi and Langi UNLA forces, a cycle of conflict played out largely along ethnic lines, with the fighters from the south and west accusing Obote of rigging the post‐Amin elections and pushing for Museveni to take power (Green, 2008: 74). Museveni eventually overthrew Obote, and the Acholi retreated to the north and to Sudan, fearing the revenge of Museveni’s people. After seizing control, President Museveni sent his National Resistance Army (NRA) north to establish control, setting a new tone in Ugandan politics: now Museveni’s men were the government army and the Acholi were the rebels (Green, 2008: 75). 1 Green discusses the infamous massacre when Amin summoned Acholi and Langi soldiers to the barracks and murdered them (2008: 73). 10
Sverker Finnstrom convincingly argues that the Acholi have been living in a
state of war since 1986. While fighting has not always been overt, there has been no true “peace” simply the state of “negative peace” which he defines as “the temporary absence of acts of violence” (2008: 13). In part because of the chaos and various political swings of the 1970’s, Christian diviners were common in Uganda by the early 1980’s. Ideas about spirituality as reflected the aforementioned societal tensions between the new and old and became a part of Acholi politics and warfare (Allen, 2006: 31). The most famous of the Acholi spiritual leaders was Alice Lakwena whose leading style directly influenced the man in charge of the LRA, Joseph Kony. Heike Behrend’s Alice Lakwena & The Holy Spirits: War in Northern Uganda 198597 (2000) offers a comprehensive history on the Holy Spirit Movement and an interesting discussion on religion in Acholi society. Offering protection and redemption, Alice blended Christian symbolism with older Acholi beliefs and created a tangible sense of rebirth among those who followed her. Green says she created a sense of invincibility in a time of uncertainty and that her Holy Spirit Safety Percautions spoke to the Acholi tradition of laying down rules in hard times to appease unseen powers (2008: 75‐78). After her defeat, in 1988, Joseph Kony’s forces absorbed the remainders of Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement and became known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (Allen,2006: 36). Like Alice, Kony said it was through violence that the Acholi of northern Uganda could purify their society and bring stability to their world (Allen,2006: 44). His forces maintained a guerilla campaign against the government in the south and increasingly, anyone who collaborated with it (Allen, 2006: 39). The spiritual dimension of Kony’s movement is significant, serving to inspire fear and respect, but that said, there are clear, rational aspects motivating the LRA, and terror is a tactic of choice not an indication of madness (Allen,2006: 42). There is a secular aspect to the LRA and logic behind their activity that is ignored, because, as Allen and Green both explain, describing crazy, bloodthirsty child‐abductors makes better headlines. The politics guiding the LRA and the rational behind terror and symbolic violence will be discussed in greater detail in upcoming sections. 11
Various incidents have marked the LRA’s violent movement in the north
culminating in the creation of the IDP camps. In 1991, the government led Operation North failed and only inspired the LRA to retaliate more violently and aggressively terrorize the population (Allen, 2006: 47). Betty Bigome, hired by President Museveni to deal with the LRA, almost achieved peace negotiations in 1994 until the President ruined the delicate compromise by placing an ultimatum on the rebels. With Sudanese support in return for the LRA’s help in Khartoum’s war against the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) the LRA was able to launch some of its most violent attacks in 1995. The Ugandan government failed to respond until the rebels had already withdrawn. In 2002 the Iron Fist Offensive was launched with the aid of the United States, who became more interested in the situation after the ties between the LRA and Sudan became clear. Though the Ugandan government claimed that many who were killed in the Offensive were “rebels,” most were abducted LRA victims. Kony and his senior commanders avoided capture. After Museveni called for the ICC’’s intervention in 2003, the second Iron Fist Offensive conducted in 2004 was more effective. Museveni’s destruction of any progress made by Bigome in 1994 and the failure of the Ugandan government to quickly respond to the LRA’s terror in the north confirmed the belief by some that Museveni is benefiting from the government’s war with the LRA, and the fear among the Acholi that their President is persecuting them as revenge. Though it is an expense, the war in the north has major political advantages for Museveni and his government in the south. The violence is contained in an area where he had no powerbase or support to begin with, and the unique spirituality and aggressive nature of the LRA has allowed Museveni to portray the north as a weird, primitive periphery of a progressive African country. The creation of a common, distant enemy has allowed Museveni to shore up his own political loyalties and position himself as a sustainer of peace and the source of protection from the northern violence (Allen, 2006: 48). As Green explains, western governments have no interest in seeing Museveni as a collaborator. He is seen a welcome improvement after the chaos of Amin and Obote,
and appreciated for his adoption of the free market reforms pushed by the World Bank and the IMF (2008: 86). In 1996 the Ugandan government began the process of systematically pushing hundreds of thousands of the Acholi in the north into camps for their protection (Green, 2008: 88). Allen says, “in some places anyone who refused to move from their rural homes was forcibly displaced” (2006: 53). This created a humanitarian emergency as the conditions for the Acholi worsen in the squalid camps, thousands die every week from curable health problems that thrive in the crowded, unsanitary camps (The Enough Project, 2009 website). The camps show no sign of stopping the war. The underlying issue at hand is not being dealt with, and by agreeing to feed the people in the camps, the United Nations has become a key factor in the government’s unsustainable strategy. Kony’s reputation as leader of a crazed, bloodthirsty rebel group has totally altered the public’s understanding of the problem, diverting from the horrific conditions in the camps. As Green explains, the plight of youth abducted and made to drink their parent’s blood makes for a better story than the quiet suffering of a generation growing up in squalor (2008: 89). The massive influx of humanitarian aid from western countries and the thousands of jobs created for aid workers in the creation and sustaining of these camps has caused some to claim that donor countries have effectively enabled the government’s unsustainable plan. The ICC’s intervention has followed the tone set by the headlines, focusing solely on Joseph Kony and the LRA commanders, not taking into account that forcing people from their homes into camps without adequate provisions, where sickness festers and the government soldiers patrolling the area have a tendency toward their own type of violence and rape is also a crime worth exploring (Green, 2008: 91‐94). These complications have gone overlooked by the press. REPRESENTATION AND POSTCOLONIALIZATION: THE CREATION OF THE DARK CONTINENT
The theories and concepts presented in this section concerning difference,
stereotypes and power inform the critical lens through which to analyze how the is depicted in elite, international press. Stuart Hall’s Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (1997) is a suggested work that provides a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals on representation that are touched on here. The idea of difference itself is essential to larger theories on representing distant others. As explained by Hall (1997) Sassure argues that difference is important because it is vital to meaning. Referring to Saussre’s theory, Hall says “we know what black means not because there is a such thing as “blackness” but because we can contrast it with the opposite, “white.” Derrida (1974) adds that there is a relation of power between the binaries created by difference (Hall, 1997: 235). Mikhail Bakhtin (1935) contributes to the discussion saying that humans need difference because it allows for the construction of meaning and then dialogue with the Other. For Bakhtin, this meaning arises in the give‐and‐take between speakers (Hall, 1997:235). Freud argues that that the “Other” is fundamental to the constitution of the self. Ultimately Hall concludes that difference is ambivalent, and can play both positive and negative roles. Difference allows for the production of meaning and the formation of a sense of self and social identity; it is also a site of danger, negativity, splitting and aggression. Racialized discourse (discussed later) is predicated on this set of binary oppositions created by how difference is perceived (Hall, 1997: 238). These polarizing and seemingly fixed distinctions are constructed between unequal powers. From difference comes stereotyping. As Hall explains, stereotyping is a reductionist way of simplifying people down to a few, essential characteristics (1997: 257). Dyer (1977) discusses the difference between noting “types” and “stereotyping.” “Types” help us understand the world while “stereotyping” involves splitting, separating the “normal” from the “abnormal.” Dyer explains that the establishment of normalcy and what is considered acceptable is a habit of ruling groups, which relates back to Derrida’s note about the relation of power between
binary groups. Dyer’s understanding of normalcy and difference is closely tied to Gramsci’s (1929) work on the struggle for hegemony (Hall, 1997: 257‐259). Hall sums up stereotyping saying that stereotypes tend to be created where there are inequalities of power. In his essay “The Spectacle of the Other,” Hall argues that stereotyping is a Foculdian Knowledge/Power game because it classifies people according to a norm that is created via discrepancies in equality and constructs those excluded as the “Other” (1997: 259‐261). Stereotypical representations abound in the media, creating simplified ideas of those in the news. Some of the implications of this kind of typified representation include mental colonization, a loss of history and memory and the naturalizing and normalizing of colonial representations (Manyozo). Stereotyping impacts how people regard others, which in turn impacts how others understand themselves and their own history. When these stereotypes become prevalent in the media they affect the collective mindset which then influences relations between different groups. Published in 1978, Edward Said’s seminal work Orientalism, is a profound piece on power and representation in modern society. It provides a bridge between theories on representation and post‐colonialism, both of which share the overarching theme of power. Said argues that Orientalism was the discourse by which European culture was able to both manage and produce the Orient. A mode of discourse was created that allowed the west to legitimize colonial rule. For Said, the Orient is a product of the European imagination, the creation of a subjected people defined by an outside power who then turned them into an exotic product. Said also notes that the west defines itself through its understanding of the east. Chandra Mohanty’s (1990) work on the production of “Third World Women” as a single monolithic subject, and the distinction created between western feminist representation of women in the global south as compared to western feminist self representation speaks to Said’s theories. Mohanty says the west colonizes feminist writing and dislodges the historical complexities of women in the global south. Mohanty’s writing is significant to this research as it relates to the notion that the “liberal, elite” understanding of a situation in the global south can be destructive.
Franz Fanon’s “Concerning Violence” (1965: 27‐84) is an important work in
post‐colonial theory, discussing the violence implicit in decolonization. Fanon explores the power struggle he deems inherent in a regime change and explains that violence is a necessary part of such a struggle. Said and Fanon’s work both speak to the Foculdian theory on knowledge and power which underscore this research. One needs power to have the voice to create knowledge that is understood as truth. This truth is what guides society. SENSATIONALIZATION, SIMPLIFICATION AND VICTIMIZATION: JOURNALISM TODAY The issues noted above are all prevalent in global news today. “Being the spectator of calamities taking place in another country is a quintessential modern experience” (Sontag, 2003: 18). And information about what is happening elsewhere often features conflict and violence. Roger Silverstone’s Media and Morality is a key text on the state of journalism in a globalized society; he talks about how the media make radical judgments on good and evil that shape our world view. He notes that media discourse is moral and inscribed with judgment that become a part of collective memory and history as they are narrated in symbolic characters (56; 62). Seaton explains that the media both feed into and give us a moral compass for understanding distant horror. In addition, Kathleen Hall Jameison and Paul Waldman’s The Press Effect (2003) offers a good discussion good discussion on sensationalized reporting and the forced narrative arcs created, which are necessary for the press to maintain readership. Media will gain more followers if readers have a story to follow. That political reporting follows narrative arc contributes to unspoken collective values. Africa is regularly associated with violence in any form of media representation. Other forms of non‐violent practice in Africa go significantly underreported in the name of flashy headlines and the need to create a story for readers to follow. . The mention of Africa in the media is normally stereotypical: jungles, wild animals, savages, etc, focus on the sensationalist and research confirms that the media offer a consistently negative image of the continent (Schraeder and Endless, 1998: 29). In addition, studies of US media coverage and race suggests that 16
non‐whites and non‐white culture have been neglected except for activities that are “criminal, violent or confrontational. The “Othering” of black Africa where “tribes” engage in “black vs. black civil war” plays deeply into these constructed notions of savage Africa (Fair, 1994: 35). Coverage of African conflicts in the news finds them generally depoliticized through sensationalism, simplification and victimization of those involved. Susan Sontag explains that the more faraway the locale, the more likely the news on the place will feature the dead and dying (2003:18), it is in this way that postcolonial Africa now exists in the consciousness of the general public mainly as a series of intense images of suffering. Sontag says this kind of reporting first, shows that such distress is unnecessary and outrageous and secondly, confirms the stereotype that terrible things happen in those types of places. The Guardian book review of Seaton’s Carnage and the Media says that, “By playing to the gallery, the coverage of death has been sensationalized in order to stimulate sales at the expense of helping people to understand” (Guardian website, 2005). Media coverage of African conflicts is also simplified, Finnstrom warns against accepting reductionist explanations of war and its causes. When it comes to Africa, ethnicity is often used as the sole cause for a conflict and consequently African realities become presented as little more than the antithesis of western ordered civilization. Allen and Seaton warn against the press’s obsessive focus on ethnicity, saying that it distorts and depoliticizes the complexity and subtlety of the issue. When covering conflicts in Africa the press often victimizes those involved. The media is ultimately a profit‐based industry, and suffering sells. Additionally, in order to create a narrative arc that is easy to follow the media will reduce a complicated conflict to a “good versus evil” or “victims and killers” saga. It has been noted that a key problem in the coverage of violent occurrences is that most journalists operate without a strict ethical professional framework for covering violence and lack clear suggestions for how to improve this coverage (Carter and Weaver, 2003: 22).
POLITICS AND PITY, AGENCY AND AFRICA As noted above, there is a pervasive de‐politicization of coverage and lack of agency allocated to the “distant Others” in question. A variety of recent theories on violence in Africa have been put forward, all of which take away agency from those most involved. Dubbed the “New Barbarism” thesis, Robert Kaplan’s (1994) take on the irrationality of wars in West Africa has been cited as a prominent, problematic example that implies that violence is inherent in African society. Kaldor’s (1999) work on new wars and old wars presents similar problems, citing guerilla and terror activity today as less logical than pre‐Cold War battles. This paper accepts the belief that there is rationality in terror, and finds the logic in the LRA’s activity sorely overlooked. In reality, the LRA’s statement of demands reflects a secular element and political interest (Allen, 2006: 25). Initiatives to spread these demands to a wider public indicates that the group can make a more coherent political statement then most accounts allow (Allen, 2006: 44). As Allen says, “This contradicts the assertions that the rebels are deranged and unaccountable for their actions…rational decisions have been made about policies, and terror has been a strategy of choice” (2006: 44). Though it focuses more on the Middle East, Brian Caplan’s paper, Terrorism: The Relevance of the Rational Choice Model is worthy read on the subject, as is Ehud Sprinzak’s article, Rational Fanatics. The themes in both, namely, the logic behind terror, are relevant to this study. For the LRA, abduction, like rape is used systematically to terrorize the population. Kidnapping and indoctrinating young people, and forcing them to do terrible things (such as kill their parents) distorts the moral order and highlights the power of the LRA (Allen, 2006: 64). Public violence is often an assertion of power (Beinart, 1992: 457). Danny Hoffman writes about the importance of understanding the local context of meaning in regards to how violence is employed (2004: 211). In an article on “new” and “old” civil wars Stathis Kalyvas (2001) disputes the idea that while “old” wars as seen as noble and political, “new” (post‐Cold War) battles are generally depicted as irrational and depoliticized. In their book The Media of Conflict, Allen and Seaton say that the aforementioned focus on ethnicity as an 18
encompassing label depoliticizes the issue. “Media concentration on primordial ethnic identity as a cause of war…helps to obscure critical political and economic factors driving the violence. Contributes to increasingly popular misconceptions of African wars as being fought for primitive causes” (1999: 192). Lille Chouliaraki (2008) sees much of this depoliticization in reporting as connected (whether implicitly or explicitly) to the production of pity, which gains readership as it not only ties to the aforementioned need for the public to follow a story, but it connects the readers to the issue in a human way. She explains that the media have the power to set the tone in terms of the audiences relationship to distant crisis. For Chouliaraki, the public is constituted through the production of issues, via symbolic forms. In order to examine how agency is allocated research will involve content analysis that will probe at how the press addresses readers and sets up the relationship between the audience, the LRA and Uganda. 2.2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES The main aspects of the discussed theoretical approach that will frame this
research generally fall into the concepts connected with theories on representing distant others and post‐colonialism. Power is the underlying theme in both concepts: power relations influence how a situation or person is represented which sets a standard of treatment and a collective understanding of the truth. The Foculdian approach to discourse/knowledge applies to both the how distant Others are signified and the tacit relationship between the powerful and powerless as seen through the critical lens of post‐colonial theory. Power is central to discourse/knowledge. It is concerned with the production of what is considered true, taking into account the relations involved with that production, and the implications the creation of a truth has for various players. In his work, On the Postcolony, Achille Mbembe (2001) explains that an essential characteristic of contemporary Africa is violence. In modern history, the west’s engagement with Africa has proceeded on the basis that Africans are somehow less than human, only comprehensible in terms of the primitive, savage 19
and bestial, inferior beings meant to serve. Mbembe’s argument brings Foucault’s theory to life, illuminating how representation can impact collective understanding and determine socio‐political practices. Quite simply, the goal of this research is to make claims about how the international press covers the LRA. It will attempt to draw conclusions about the larger issues raised above by using this analysis as a case study and hopes to add to the greater conversation about the state of the international press with respect to the concerns raised in regards to representation and political agency with the underlying theme of power relations. In particular, the study will focus on the international elite press and will attempt to discover how this type of media, renowned for gaining a more complex understanding of situations, reports on an African rebel group.
3. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
The aims of this paper can be categorized into two blocks: the related questions this study looks to analyze, and the overall academic discussion the inquiries look to contribute to. RQ1: How is the LRA covered in terms of emphasis on violent activity? RQ2: How is political agency allocated to the following players: readers, the LRA, and the Ugandan Government? These two questions, and the broader conversation they look to add to regarding the state of the international press in terms of how distant Others are covered, calls for a two‐pronged approach using content and discourse analysis. The combination of content and discourse analysis will allow for the information to be examined in both a broad and a nuanced setting. Putting the two studies together first gives the research a sense of the larger scope of a range of articles and points out some general trends via the content analysis, and then using discourse analysis, gives a detailed look at some tangible examples. Justification for Selected Approach: Content Analysis The purpose of content analysis is to quantify salient features across an array of texts to get a sense of trends and meaning (Krippendorff, 2004: xvii). The directive nature of content analysis is well suited to the ‘big picture’ that this research question calls for (Deacon et al., 1999: 117). Content analysis is an unobtrusive technique, unique in that it allows researchers to analyze texts in the contexts of their uses and offers the possibility of focusing on social phenomena that are constituted in texts (Krippendorff, 2004: xiii).
Some of the advantages of content analysis include its utility in making
judgments about large groups of data, and coming to big picture resolutions based on sweeping patterns (Deacon et al., 1999: 117). Another one of the benefits of content analysis is that it can cope with large volumes of information (Krippendorff, 2004: 31). For this project, content analysis will be useful in getting an overall sense in terms of how the two research questions are treated. In more specific terms, content analysis usually involves taking representative samples in content, training coders to use the category rules developed to measure or reflect noted differences in content, and measuring the reliability (agreement or stability over time) of coders in utilizing the rules. The data assembled in the content analysis are then analyzed to come to conclusions about what are typical patters or characteristics, or to identify important relationships among the variables in question (Riffe, 1998: 2). Because content analysis relies on human judgment, a measure of agreement is needed as to the extent in which the independent judges are coming to the same decisions. To this end, a test for intercoder reliability must be run to allow for consistency (Lombard and Snyder‐Duch, 2002: 589). Content analysis is also subject to criticism; Krippendorff notes that the technique has been accused of being “nothing other than what everyone is doing when reading a newspaper, except on a larger scale.” It is also, quite plainly, unable to answer “deep” questions about a topic (2004: 11). In Researching Communication it is noted that looking at aggregated meaning making across texts tends to skip over the complex and varied meaning imbued in language (Deacon et al., 1999: 119). To this end, content analysis will not be used alone and instead matched with discourse analysis. Justification for Selected Approach: Discourse Analysis The goal of discourse analysis is to critically examine the relationship between language and society. According to David Howarth, discourse theory begins with the understanding that “all objects and actions are meaningful” (2000: 2). Myra Macdonald defines the concept of discourse as “a system of communicative 22
practices that are integrally related to wider social and political practices, and that help to construct specific frameworks of thinking” (2003: 1). Discourse analysis is concerned with the study of “language in use” and attention is focused on “talk and text in context” (Howarth, 2000: 6). By delineating and labeling phenomena, words and images frame how humans see the world (Macdonald, 2003: 9). This is not just a social sciences research technique, discourse analysis speaks to a larger belief in the meaning imbued in language (Kroger, Wood x). In the tradition of post‐structuralist and post‐Marxist approaches, discourse analysis involves seeing social structures as context‐specific, created systems of meaning (Howarth,2000: 4). Michel Focault says it is only through understanding discourse that humans can understand ideas about the reality they have constructed (Macdonald, 2003: 11). As Stuart Hall explains, what is significant is the meaning individuals ascribe to the material world (1997: 25). Ernesto Laclau and Chantel Mouffe use the concept of discourse to explain that all social institutions are significant (Howarth, 2000: 2). There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to using discourse analysis as a research method. Function is an important part of discourse analysis, because researchers are looking at what people are doing with their talk and text (Kroger ad Wood, 2000: 7). Howarth argues that discourse analysis has the unique capacity for analyzing data because it allows links to be made between language and social structures, opening up a dynamic way to look at politics (2000: 13). For this project discourse analysis is an excellent option because it can shed light on how language is used to label and frame events. Norman Fairclough’s Media Discourse presents a persuasive argument for the study of media language. Because the media are such a powerful force in society, influencing our norms and values, an analysis on how the media’s language sets a tone and explicitly or implicitly defines groups and forms alliances will be a provocative tool (Macdonald, 2003: 2). Discourse analysis has been criticized for removing ideas from social reality and focusing solely on language (Howarth, 2000: 13). It has also been said that in its attempt to apply meaning to words, discourse does not treat talk as authentic in its own right (Gill 149). In addition, because doing discourse analysis creates its own 23
discourses (involving the implicit biases and constructed understanding of the scholars) the method can suffer from relativism (Gill 147). Though these disadvantages are important to keep in mind, it is difficult to agree with the criticism that discourse analysis removes ideas from social reality, as one of the main facets of the method involves relating the language to specific socio‐political events. The charge of relativism may indeed cloud research, as any analysis is subject to its own constructed biases. 3.1 Methods and Procedures Selection of Data For this project, 137 articles from the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Daily Telegraph were selected from the respective papers’ archives. The dates between July 1 1999 and July 1 2008 will be the subject of research. Each paper was selected for its international appeal and reputation for catering to an elite, educated audience. The Financial Times is an international paper, printing at 23 different sites around the world, and as described in the “About Us” section on their website, is recognized for “authority, integrity and accuracy.” The global edition of the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune describes itself as “cosmopolitan and innovative” and looks to expand its reach in the same vein as the Times, which has been categorized as having a strong liberal bias (Groseclose and Milyo, 2004). An article from the BBC website “ UK’s Other Paper of Record” (2004) discusses how the Telegraph has risen to become the noted newspaper in Britain. Chosen in order to provide balance, the Telegraph is a British‐based daily print with an international audience and, according to a Slate online article, is known for its more right of center politics (Curtis, 2006). The date range‐July 1, 1999 to July 1, 2008 was chosen because it will allow for an analysis before and during the ICC’s intervention, which will best juxtapose how the LRA is treated individually and how it is treated as compared to the ICC.
Content Analysis: Specific Methods and Procedures Research was conducted in the paper’ archives via a Nexius UK Power Search with the key phrase: ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ in the date range selected. The search returned a total of 137 articles. The data were then cleaned and any press that did not focus on the LRA or were small news bites from other sources were taken out. Because this research is simply about what the papers choose to print, it was decided to leave in Opinion pieces and book reviews that spoke directly to the topic. Ultimately 66 articles were used. Each piece was coded for allocation of political agency, a focus on violence and an examination of any activist leanings (which speaks to how the audience is treated as related to the players involved). After extensive research a pilot‐coding frame was tested. The trial demonstrated a need to split up variables into more explicit questions in order to obtain the clearest and most reliable results. For example, for the category on the LRA’s reasons for fighting it was necessary to first separate whether or not a reason for fighting was offered, and then see within that whether the reason suggested any political agency, and after that see how the reporter contextualized the remarks. Inter‐coder reliability “a measure of the extent to which independent judges make the same coding decisions in evaluating the characteristics of messages” (Lomabrd, et al) needed to be tested. Two independent coders were each trained for one hour and coded 20% of the sample weighted between the pilot and the second round stations (n=10). The percentage of agreement for each code was then calculated and the overall inter‐coder reliability (r=agree/(agree + disagree) was above 80% for all variables, respectively. Reliability of over 80% is indicative of a coding frame that can be replicated (Krippendorrf). Discourse Analysis: Specific Methods and Procedures Doing discourse analysis starts with reading and each article thoroughly several times with the aim of becoming familiar with each piece and working to obtain a comprehensive understanding of its tone and style (Kroger and Wood, 2000: 87). The process of becoming familiar with the material is an essential step 25
before coding (Gill 144). When coding, analysts go through each text carefully, line‐ by‐line to identify particular patterns, themes and discourses (Banaji). At this first stage researchers should be as inclusive as possible when it comes to the segments, lines and words marked, including anything noteable (Kroger and Wood, 2000: 88). Wood and Kroger say this activity may be repeated several times over the course of a project. As analysis continues, the focus may shift, new segments selected and others discarded (88). Researchers should pay attention to what is omitted as well as what is said (Gill 146). Next, second‐level codes may be detected. Themes and discourses that are not explicit become increasingly apparent. These second‐level codes may take on the form of an implicit understanding (for example, a text may operate under the assumption that the ‘West’ must save the ‘East’). Second‐level codes are also significant and worthy of analysis (Banaji). Fairclough’s three related dimensions of discourse analysis includes description, interpretation and explanation (Bloom and Talwalkar, 1997: 106). First, description is an analysis of the language used in the sample (textual practice). Next, interpretation (discursive practice) entails linking and relating the discourses detected to understand the explicit and implicit patterns and messages generated. Finally, explanation involves relating the discursive practices to an event (socio‐ political practice) (Bloom and Talwalkar, 1997: 106). In their review of Fairclough’s works, David Bloom and Susan Talwalkar note that central to the three‐dimensional framework is keeping in mind how meaning is produced within a wider systematized structure of language and power (1997: 107). Since the skills of discourse best lend themselves to example, the Analysis and Findings section below will indicate the decisions and procedures taken in practice.
4.1 Content Analysis The Content Analysis segment will be sectioned into a brief depiction of the research results with counts and notes, and then a further discussion with analysis and implications. Because this research focuses on overall trends and is not a comparative study of nominal categories, a chi‐square test was not used. The results will instead be explained with indicative counts. A sample coding frame can be found in Appendix G. Quantitative Results The first research question asked how the LRA is covered in terms of emphasis on violent activity. Of the 65 articles coded an overwhelming 49 were counted as including “Not Much Detail” of violence, while 11 included “Great Detail” and only 5 said violence was “Not Mentioned.”
Details of LRA Violence ‐ Figure 1
60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Great Detail Not Much Detail Not Men8oned
Figure 2 answers the second research question which looked at the de‐
politicization of African politics. The graph on the next page charts whether the LRA’s main reasons for fighting were mentioned or not mentioned. 40 articles did not mention their reasons and 25 did. 27
Main Reasons for Figh9ng ‐ Figure 2
50 40 30 20 10 0 LRA Main Reasons for Figh8ng LRA Main Reasons for Figh8ng Not Men8oned: Men8oned:
The venn diagram below splits the 25 articles that mentioned the LRA’s reasons for fighting into an examination of two variables: whether political agency was allocated and the reporter’s contextualizing remarks. These variables allow for inferences to be made about emphasis on violence and on application of political power. 16 of the 25 articles offered no political motive for the LRA’s actions while 9 were coded as allocating agency. 23 of the articles sampled had negative contextualizing remarks, 2 could not be determined, 0 were positive and 0 were coded as neutral.
If Main Reasons Men9oned ‐ Figure 3
Poli8cal Agency Allocated Poli8cal Agency Not Allocated Posi8ve Contextualizing Remarks Nega8ve Contextualizing Remarks Neutral Contextualizing Remarks Cannot Determine Contextualizing Remarks
Figure 4 expresses the findings regarding how power was ceded to the Ugandan government in the western press. The bar chart demonstrates that from the point of view of the government, 35 articles presented it in a neutral manner, 16 in a negative tone, 7 in a positive way and 7 were mixed positive and negative.
From POV of Ugandan Government: Reorters Contextualizing Remarks ‐ Figure 4
40 30 20 10 0 Posi8ve Nega8ve Neutral Mixed
The final diagram looks at the role of the audience. 45 of the articles did not have a clear and obvious activist goal, while 20 of them highlighted an activist
stance. Of the articles that indicated an activist role, 7aimed to raise awareness, 6 encouraged criminal prosecution of the LRA, 5 advocated for humanitarian intervention and 2 sought aid for Uganda.
Role of the Audience ‐ Figure 5
Ar8cle Has a Clear and Obvious Ac8vist Goal Ar8cle Does Not Have a Clear and Obvious Ac8vist Goal Goal to: Raise Awareness Goal to: Encourage Humanitarian Interven8on Goal to: Encourage Aid Goal to: Encourage Criminal Prosecu8on
Discussion In terms of emphasis on violent activity, the counts show that the majority of the 65 articles coded did not provide much detail of specific brutality. Because it is an insurgent group that utilizes terror tactics the LRA cannot avoid an association with violence. The results show that not many, (only 11) of the articles place heavy emphasis on specific vicious tactics. These findings make sense with the type of papers surveyed; all cater to an educated, elite audience that would expect a more complex, less gratuitous piece of news. The majority of the articles coded did not provide an explanation of the LRA’s main reasons for fighting. The data that did offer any explanation tended to have a spare sentence about the LRA’s inception as a reaction to the government. No article featured an elaboration of political motives or the rationality behind their horrific approach. Of the 25 articles that mentioned the LRA’s reasons for fighting, 16 allocated motives to the rebel group and 9 did not. 23 of the 25 articles in this
data sample had negative contextualizing remarks. The LRA is not an excellent organization, one would be hard pressed to portray the group in a rosy light. That said, it is significant that none of the articles were coded as neutral, and only two were coded as “Can’t Determine” which implies that the LRA was depicted as wholly negative with no greater context. The Ugandan government was largely portrayed in a neutral tone. This indicates that the press surveyed chose to not explain their role in furthering the situation via the unsustainable IDP camps, or explain the problematic relationship between the north and the south. Figure 5 depicts the findings that examined the role of the audience. This coding question was indicative of the relationship set up between the readers and the “distant others” in Uganda. 45 of the data coded were recorded as not having a “clear and obvious activist goal.” This says that an overwhelming majority of the texts treated the audience as outsiders reading about yet another African conflict. Of the 20 that took an activist stance, many of them either focused on raising awareness (this code implied that the journalist was explicit in his/her attempt to bring the crisis to the attention of the readers) or encouraging humanitarian intervention. The International Herald Tribune’s articles focused on the justice system far more than the other two papers in question. All of the articles that encouraged criminal prosecution of the LRA came from that source. Content analysis indeed allows for trends and patterns to be noted. Because of time constraints and lack of expertise the coding frame created did not now allow for as many inferences to be made as content analysis allows. If this research were to be conducted again with more time, it would be suggested that the researcher write and code all the articles and then see what codes could be pushed further. For example, the role of the government needs more explanation. Another code in this test could be whether any articles mentioned the Ugandan government’s role in the crisis. The findings section below is categorized via Fairclough’s three dimensions 31 4.2 Discourse Analysis
of discourse analysis and then followed by a discussion. For an explanation of Fairclough’s categories see the explanation at the end of section 3.1. Textual Practice Much of the language aligns the LRA with the weird, violent and occult. A
notable running theme in many of the articles are headlines and opening paragraphs that set up a good/evil polarization. This is done both through language choice and also the article format. In “ICC Charges ‘Hinder Relief Agency Efforts’ in North Uganda” (Appendix A), journalist David White uses partisan descriptive adjectives, qualifying both the ICC and the LRA. The opening line in paragraph one says the indictments by the ICC are “groundbreaking.” The first time the LRA is mentioned is in paragraph two, after being prefaced as “cult‐like.” These beginning characterizations of the ICC and the LRA are notable because they up a setting the polarizing narrative of ‘good versus evil.’ “What Comes First, Peace or Justice?” by Nick Grono in the International Herald Tribune (Appendix F) uses evocative language describing northern Uganda as “utterly” devastated (see paragraph two) and discussing the LRA’s “horrendous” crimes. In the Financial Times, John Makinson’s “Why We Should Care About Northern Uganda” (Appendix B) and Adrian Bloomfield’s “Mystic Guerrillas Who Deal in Bloodshed” (Appendix C) printed in the Daily Telegraph both use provocative language right at the text’s headline. The use of the word ‘we’ in Makinson’s article positions readers as powerful outsiders, and the phrase “should care” implies that the audience is learning about a faraway crisis that may catch their eye. Makinson uses strong language throughout the piece, in paragraph two he refers to the LRA as “morally‐debased” and in stanza three he adds, “The LRA has no formal political agenda.” Bloomfield’s article employs a similarly strong headline and continues the trend of scene setting in the opening paragraphs, in this case depicting a small boy terrorized beyond repair. Echoing the aforementioned articles, the good evil/dynamic is immediately implicitly set up in Bloomfield’s text, his opening description of a small boy forced to kill his parents enforces a pervasive feeling that whoever is acting on this boy is such a manner in beyond horrible. 32
Another significant feature, in Appendix D, “Refugees’ Food Cut as New Aid
Fun Fails to Act” is the misleading information about the IDP camps. In paragraph nine the article says, “…most people in the remote region have fled their villages for squalid refugee camps.” The author chooses to not give any context in terms of the government’s hand in creating this appalling and unsustainable situation. This simplifies the situation and implies that the LRA is so horrible that the people have moved to the camps by choice. Discursive Practice One of the overarching messages interpreted in White’s article (Appendix A) is that it is not the ICC’s charges that are hindering the relief agency efforts, it is the LRA’s reaction to the charges that are at issue. Though on the surface the article appears to be evenhanded, going as far as to seemingly suggest that a major international bodies’ work was doing more harm than good, a deeper reading shows that the journalist depicts the ICC as an institution doing what it can in the face of a “brutal” movement. Makinson’s piece (Appendix B) paints a picture of Uganda mired in an unsolvable conflict. In stanza one the author says the nation is home to “one of the world’s most enduring humanitarian crises.” This theme continues throughout the piece, including in paragraph six which says that even “the expertise of developed economies” will not be enough to solve the disaster. In paragraph eight Makinson discusses the Ugandans who “sit in crowded camps, waiting for something to happen.” The overall theme implies that this is a problem requiring the help of outsiders because Ugandans cannot handle the conflict. Something similar happens in Grono’s text (Appendix F). The journalist does well in acknowledging that the government has had a hand in the catastrophe (paragraph five) but in doing so the Acholi are completely victimized and a situation is set up whereby both the Ugandan government and the LRA are both acting on this helpless people. The ICC is then presented as the outside western solution to the dilemma. In Appendix D, the political situation is not mentioned; the article focuses solely on aid from outside sources. While it is rational that not every article would overly elaborate on the politics and that some may look at other issues, the exclusive 33
emphasis on outside help both depoliticizes the internal conflict and makes it seem as if the external source, in the name of humanitarian relief alone, is the answer to problems. An interesting, subtle discourse happens in “A Crucial Case for the International Criminal Court” (Appendix E). In paragraph eight Museveni is referred to as a “trusted American client.” The use of the word “client” sets up a dependent relationship between Uganda and the United States. Here, the two nations are not presented as equal partners. This discourse in Appendix E also speaks to the second research question in terms of how much power is applied to the Ugandan government. SocioCultural Practice Appendixes A, B, D, and E ascribe no political agency to the LRA. Room for Ugandan politics, furthermore, is also scarce. To varying degrees, all depict the conflict as a chaotic situation that necessitates aid from an external body and implicit in the texts is the understanding that this is a disastrous and irrational African affair in need of an intervention from the West. The articles address readers as part of the outside, international body peering in at a distant crisis. None of the articles make any attempt to disassociate the LRA with anything but the most brutal, violent and mystic. While the LRA is indeed guilty of mass atrocities, none of the journalists could be accused of looking to dig below the surface of the violence and or and attempt to explain any of the logic or motivating factors behind the terrorizing tactics used. Discussion The Financial Times, Daily Telegraph and International Herald Tribune all make an effort to seem even‐handed. Only one article (Appendix C) includes any description of gratuitous violence and none involve any sort of overt “Othering” of the LRA. The impact is more subversive. In styling the articles as explanatory or opinion pieces on a foreign crisis, ascribing no political agency to the LRA or the Ugandan government and discussing what the west can do to help, the stories 34
implicitly create a divide between the readers and Uganda. The nation becomes a distant “other” and a cycle of separation (and the problematic misconceptions and stereotypes that come with this) is perpetuated. While violent activity is not explicitly discussed, the descriptive language employed completely forces the LRA into a violent, brutal box. only to be affiliated with the savage. To further this study it would be interesting to do a critical discourse analysis on other global press and then compare those findings to a critical discourse analysis on local Ugandan media. The sample texts and explanation show the strengths and weaknesses in the method employed. Critical discourse analysis is a powerful tool that must be handled delicately. In analyzing data and searching for patterns of meaning, themes and underlying codes, social scientists have the opportunity to examine how politics are presented. This in turn provides the capacity to understand how dominant frames in the media shape the publics’ point of view. That said, the method must understood in context. One of the major conflicts encountered in the study that apply to the use of discourse analysis in general are the hypotheses and initial biases that can evasively cloud the research. It is important to make sure that researchers are not just looking for phrases that fit their prescribed model. Another difficulty encountered with this study was that there was no constant, no way of ensuring that the conclusions drawn from the analysis were based on anything other than the researcher’s personal analysis. Besides peer reviews, there is no way to perform any sort quality assurance.
The first research question asked how the LRA is covered in terms of emphasis on violent activity. Both the content and discourse analysis results indicate that none of the press surveyed, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph or the International Herald Tribune overly emphasized the LRA’s brutal tactis. The second question asked how political agency is allocated to the papers’ readers, the Ugandan government and the LRA. Both the content and discourse analysis findings agree with the result that indicates that the audience was treated as an onlooker, not allocated much political sway. The content analysis shows that if attempting to read the articles from the point of view of the Ugandan government, the body was portrayed in a mostly neutral fashion, which would indicate some amount of progressive political control. The discourse analysis suggests a bit more sour result, finding that overall the government was depicted as mired in a chaotic crisis it could not handle. Finally, the content and discourse analysis both show that very little political agency was allocated to the LRA. The international, elite press analyzed did not overtly focus on aggressive, vicious tactics, but also did not do much in the way of elaborating on the complex situation or do anything to explain the logic and symbolism in the LRA’s practices. The LRA is a negative group, indeed, but none of these findings indicate that any of these esteemed publications did any investigative reporting or took any bold steps to suggest some of the political motivations and rational behind terroristic approaches. In the Introduction it was stated that the overarching goal of this paper was to contribute to the conversation about the state of international journalism today. This case study achieves that aim in noting some of the tangible flaws, misleading statements, lack of complexity and overall treatment on the crisis in northern Uganda.
Financial Times November 7, 2005 ICC charges 'hinder relief agency efforts' in north Uganda BYLINE: By DAVID WHITE SECTION: WORLD NEWS; Pg. 6 Groundbreaking indictments by the International Criminal Court against rebel leaders in northern Uganda have had a negative impact on peace prospects and delivery of aid to rural areas, according to relief agencies working in the region. The Hague‐based court issued its first arrest warrants a month ago against leaders of the cult‐like Lord's Resistance Army, which has terrorised civilians in a brutal campaign of child abduction, murder and mutilation. Joseph Kony, the LRA figurehead, faces 12 charges of crimes against humanity, including sexual enslavement, and 21 war crimes charges. The indictments ‐ against five men, one of whom has been reported killed ‐ were welcomed by human rights organisations. But aid agencies say hopes of a negotiated end to fighting are more remote now that the leaders have international warrants hanging over them, and greater insecurity is hindering aid operations. They believe LRA commanders, in reaction to the move, have issued orders for the first time to target relief teams. The LRA has been blamed for four recent attacks in which two charity workers were killed in northern Uganda, followed by two members of a de‐mining team on contract to the UN's World Food Programme across the border in Sudan, which the LRA uses as a support base. Most relief organisations have stopped delivering aid outside the region's main towns. "The rules of the game have changed," said Emma Naylor, Oxfam's programme manager in Uganda. The WFP continues to run convoys, with heavy escorts of Ugandan army troops and armoured personnel carriers. WFP officials said these convoys had not been targeted. About 1.5m people displaced by the fighting are living in camps. A study by the US‐ based International Rescue Committee estimated 1,000 people were dying each week because of the conflict.
Hopes of resolving the18‐year conflict rose last year with a government ceasefire and contact between government and LRA representatives. However, Ugandan forces resumed operations when Mr Kony refused to sign a draft memorandum. Ugandan officials say the rebel group has been reduced to a few hundred armed members. It has been weakened by army successes, defections in exchange for amnesty, and the surrender in February of its chief negotiator. Ken Davies, WFP director in Uganda, said the situation had improved until recent weeks. People had begun feeling safe enough to leave the camps to plant crops. "There had been hopes people could go home in the next couple of months." Local and international non‐governmental organisations, together with church leaders involved in promoting dialogue, had urged a delay in the issue of ICC warrants, after the court took on the case at the request of President Yoweri Museveni. The indictments were a blow to mediation efforts by Betty Bigombe, a former minister,backed by Britain, the Netherlands and Norway. Human Rights Watch, a strong advocate of the court, said the ICC process was not to blame for obstructing peace. "I don't think the leadership of the LRA was ever genuinely interested in a peace deal," said Richard Dicker, director of HRW's international justice programme. "We see justice as an absolutely crucial component of a meaningful and durable peace."
Financial Times May 17, 2006 Why we should care about northern Uganda BYLINE: By JOHN MAKINSON SECTION: COMMENT; Pg. 17 Northern Uganda is home to one of the world's most enduring humanitarian crises. The territory, which is roughly the size of Belgium, once supported a population of 2m, most of them members of the Acholi tribe. The Acholi are still there but they are now supported by the World Food Programme and live not in their villages but in a patchwork of over 100 camps providing rudimentary housing and healthcare, but little else. The reason that virtually an entire population abandoned its way of life for the precarious security of a camp goes back to the emergence in the late 1980s of the Lord's Resistance Army, a militarily efficient and morally debased organisation by Joseph Kony, a brutal leader with messianic pretensions. The LRA has no formal political agenda and drew its early support from resistance to Yoweri Museveni, the politician whose armed insurgency swept Milton Obote and the northern elites from power in the mid‐1980s. Increasingly, however, military pressure caused the LRA to turn on its own people, abducting village children for service as soldiers and sex slaves. The group's terror campaign, frequently conducted from bases in neighbouring Sudan, made the countryside of northern Uganda uninhabitable and dramatically increased the displaced population in 2002‐ 03. The camps scattered across the north of the country now accommodate roughly 1.7m Ugandans who are, understandably, anxious to return home. The security situation has improved significantly over the past year and, while no one except the Ugandan government argues that the LRA is a spent force, it no longer represents a military threat remotely commensurate with the human displacement it is causing. The Sudanese government no longer provides overt support to the LRA, its base in northern Uganda is an agricultural wasteland that would scarcely feed a battalion, much less an army, and its leadership is the subject of arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court. Yet Mr Museveni's government is doing little to prepare for the return of the northern population to its villages. The Acholi themselves feel Mr Museveni has little interest in promoting the resettlement and reinvigoration of a people who resisted his ascendancy 20 years 39
ago. Whether that is a fair judgment or not, it is quite certain that Kampala cannot undertake this resettlement programme on its own. Villages must be rebuilt, crops must be replanted and polluted water supplies must be repaired. For a period, at least, the provision of security and food supplies across such a large area will present huge challenges to the Ugandan armed forces and to aid agencies. The money and expertise of developed economies will be essential in the restitution of northern Uganda but they will not be sufficient. The international community ‐ with the United Nations in the lead ‐ must promote a spirit of trust and reconciliation in a country damaged by two decades of conflict. It must also address the military dimension, which will certainly be contentious in Kampala. As a minimum, the UN should extend its present mandate to deal with the LRA in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan. Arguably, its umbrella should be extended ‐ on a temporary basis ‐ to northern Uganda in order to provide security for returnees. Britain, more than most major western donor countries, could greatly assist this process. It is a significant bilateral donor to Uganda and has political influence, not least because the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting will be in Kampala in 2007. The visit to northern Uganda this week by Hilary Benn, the UK's international development secretary, could help considerably. Mr Benn is an important witness at a vital moment. He will be seeing for himself the hurdles that must be overcome if resettlement is to succeed, and can ensure that international agencies continue to play a dynamic role. He has the opportunity to press for movement in a process that has simply stalled. The promise of a clear policy statement following a March visit by Jan Egeland, the UN's top humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co‐ordinator, lies unfulfilled. Repeated calls to the UN secretary‐general to appoint either a special envoy or a panel of experts remain unanswered and, in the meantime, nearly 2m people sit in crowded camps, waiting for something to happen. The author, chairman and chief executive of Penguin Group, visited northern Uganda last month with an international aid delegation.
Daily Telegraph March 20, 2004 Mystic guerrillas who deal in bloodshed BYLINE: By Adrian Blomfield SECTION: News; International: Pg. 16 THE rebels laughed as they handed 10‐year‐old Morris Ocen a burning branch and told him to set fire to the thatched roof hut where his mother and four younger brothers were cowering. Morris laughed too. Like every child in Northern Uganda he knew about the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the terrible things they did, but he could not believe they were serious. "I thought it was a joke," he said. "They had told me I was their friend. But then they stopped laughing. They said they would shoot me if I did not kill them." Morris had been nervous ever since the shooting started at Bia, a camp near the town of Lira where his family and thousands of others sought shelter from the LRA nightly raids on the villages of Northern Uganda. As his mother and younger brothers hid under a bed Morris was overcome with curiosity. He darted in and out of the hut to see what was happening until he was caught by one of the rebels. "Everywhere houses were burning and people were screaming," he said. "They had taken many people and tied them up under a mango tree." As he watched, the rebels forced their captives to lie face down on the ground before slamming four‐feet‐long pestles, used by the residents of Bia to pound manioc roots, into the backs of their heads until they died. Some were singled out for special treatment. A plank was forced between their teeth before the pestles were smashed into their skulls. The wood ripped through their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths, condemning the disfigured victims, who would be unable to eat, to a slow death through starvation. "They told me to hit the dead bodies with sticks," Morris said. "They said it was a game. Then they said let us go and see your parents." 41
Standing in front of his home, the burning branch in his hand, Morris was now terrified. Closing his eyes, he raised it to the grass roof and the flames quickly took hold. "I could hear all of them screaming inside," he said. The LRA has waged a guerrilla war in Uganda's north for the past 18 years. The movement is led by Joseph Kony, perhaps Africa's most bizarre and sinister rebel leader. What began as a legitimate rebellion provoked by government atrocities against members of the Acholi tribe has disintegrated into a horrifying campaign with little apparent motive. Kony, a former priest heavily influenced by local mystic beliefs, has said he wants Uganda to be brought under the LRA's 20 commandments. According to documents discovered after a battle, these include, alongside the Biblical Ten Commandments, injunctions forbidding the use of toothbrushes and the killing of snakes. Perhaps most odd is the 20th commandment which reads: "Thou shalt have two testicles, neither more nor less." Kony claims to be possessed by several spirits, the chief of whom is Lakwena, the ghost of an Italian First World War veteran who died near the source of the Nile. The other spirits direct the war. Silly Silindi, a female Sudanese spirit, is the chief commander. Among the other spirits are three Americans. Major Bianca is head of intelligence, King Bruce is responsible for turning rocks into hand‐ grenades in mid‐flight, while Jim Brickey, also known as "Who Are You?", will switch sides and ensure a government victory if Kony's disciples gather with witchcraft. "One of the spirits would possess him every day and he would preach to us from nine in the morning until one o'clock," said Grace Angeyo, who lived in Kony's main camp outside the Sudanese town of Juba for five years. Miss Angeyo, captured in 1999 when she was 15, was forced to become a sex slave for one of Kony's senior commanders, Jimmy Ociti. "When he first tried to sleep with me I tried to resist," she said. "I was taken to the punishment place where they broke my arms and beat me until I lost consciousness." She paints a grim picture of life in the commune. Hundreds of teenage girls have been forced to live as the concubines of Kony and his men. The girls have given birth to hundreds of children, many fathered by Kony, who demands sex several times a day. 42
"Many people are executed," said Miss Angeyo, who escaped last month with her baby daughter, named Unlucky. "He would say there was witchcraft. Once he picked out 18 women and children and said they were witches. They were all killed." Kony's campaign is sustained by abducted children who are beaten, brain‐washed and trained to become killers, often by being forced to murder fellow prisoners. More than 10,000 children have been taken in 18 months. Driving across Northern Uganda is like seeing Africa at its most sinister. Villages are deserted or often burned down. Crops lie rotting in abandoned fields. The roads are empty too, save for occasional army patrols. Eighty per cent of the population, close to 1.5 million people, have fled the LRA onslaught to seek refuge in overcrowded camps where they supposedly come under the protection of government forces and allied militias. Yet the rebels seem to raid the camps with impunity, carrying off children and slaughtering their parents. The government has been accused by religious leaders and aid workers of turning a blind eye to LRA atrocities. President Yoweri Museveni's soldiers have carried out numerous executions of civilians they are supposed to be protecting in apparent revenge for support given to the former dictator Milton Obote by the local Acholi population in the 1980s. "We fear the army by day and the LRA by night," said one man in a camp in Gulu district. He would not give his name as he feared losing his monthly food ration, donated by the United Nations but delivered by government forces. In the last year, under international pressure, Mr Museveni has begun to deal with the LRA. He has taken command of military operations, basing himself in a camp in the bush, and has taken up an offer of US intelligence, though not of military back‐up. As the Sudanese government, which has backed the LRA financially and militarily, distances itself from the movement, Mr Museveni claims he is on the verge of victory. Helicopter gunships have gone into action, striking LRA patrols, although most of the casualties have been abducted children. But many remain sceptical. On Feb 21 the LRA committed one of its worst atrocities, killing 337 people at a camp, near Lira town. In the past three days the rebels have killed at least nine more people and abducted dozens of children.
Refugees' food cut as new aid fund fails to act BYLINE: David Blair Diplomatic Correspondent SECTION: NEWS; International; Pg. 16 ALMOST 1.5 million people living in a war‐torn region of Uganda have seen their food rations cut in half partly because a new emergency aid fund ‐ created at Britain's suggestion ‐ is failing to make an impact. The suffering of refugees in Northern Uganda, who fled a brutal guerrilla war waged by rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army, worsened on April 1. On that date, the United Nations World Food Programme was forced to cut its rations by 50 per cent to avoid closing down altogether after donors failed to provide enough funding for the year. The WFP had asked for pounds 65 million but only pounds 22 million was forthcoming. Hilary Benn, the international development secretary, proposed a new humanitarian fund in 2004 which aid workers thought would deal with exactly this kind of situation. His initiative led to the establishment of the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) last year. This permanent account, which will get pounds 42 million of British money this year, is supposed to help sudden emergencies or under‐funded relief operations around the world. Instead of waiting for donors to come forward with money, aid agencies should be able to rely on the CERF for rapid funding to allow them to get on with emergency relief. But the CERF has baffled aid workers by failing to make any contribution towards supplying food in Northern Uganda. In fact, Mr Benn's proposal may have made matters worse. Countries are choosing to give their money to the fund instead of making direct donations to aid agencies carrying out relief work. A UN humanitarian official said there were widespread "frustrations'' about Mr Benn's initiative. "Although in theory it looks like a very good idea, the practical reality on the ground is that it hasn't reached the expectations we had. One would look at Northern Uganda and think this was just the kind of situation which the
Daily Telegraph April 7, 2007
CERF was set up to deal with,'' he said. More than two decades of guerrilla war has devastated Northern Uganda and most people in the remote region have fled their villages for squalid refugee camps. Unable to till their fields because of the threat of rebel attack, they are wholly dependent on WFP supplies of maize and beans. Tesema Negash, the WFP's country director in Uganda, said: "If we don't cut them [food supplies] by 50 per cent, the relief operation would grind to a halt in May.'' The Department for International Development in London said the CERF had provided pounds 185 million to aid agencies since it was founded last March. But the department declined to comment on the case of Northern Uganda.
International Herald Tribune February 27, 2004 A crucial case for the International Criminal Court BYLINE: James A. Goldston, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu And Jeremiah Smith Jr. SECTION: OPINION; Pg. 6 Last month President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda became the first head of state to ask the newly formed International Criminal Court to investigate a case. The court, ratified by 92 governments but detested by the Bush administration, remains in a delicate position. International perceptions of the court's competence and credibility ‐‐ and the court's own viability ‐‐ will be affected for years by the way its capable prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, handles the Uganda case. By turning to the ICC, Museveni may be looking for a new way to settle scores. Since taking control of Uganda in 1986, Museveni has battled an odd combination of shamans, Bible thrashers and genocidaires on different sides of the Ugandan border. In the late 1980s, Alice "Lakwena" Auma, a young woman from northern Uganda, led the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces to rid Uganda of human "impurity" before fleeing to neighboring Kenya. Lakwena's cousin Joseph Kony later formed the Lord's Resistance Army, whose aim was to install a Christian government based on the Ten Commandments. From camps in southern Sudan, the LRA has waged a campaign of terror in Northern Uganda, abducting 20,000 children, using many as soldiers and sex slaves, and committing rape and murder. The LRA has reportedly mutilated some of its victims, cutting off limbs or other body parts. In an LRA attack last Saturday on a refugee camp, more than 200 civilians were killed. In short, the LRA richly deserves prosecution. The ICC can make a major contribution by investigating and trying its leaders. But the crimes have not been committed by one side only. Uganda's army also faces allegations of abuses, including killing and forced displacement of civilians, though not on the scale of the LRA. To date, the government has made little effort to punish the responsible parties. The Ugandan referral poses two challenges to the ICC's prosecutor. First, he needs to put the LRA's leaders in the dock. Joseph Kony is said to be holed up in Sudan. That country has an incentive to hand over Kony. Its government
recently sought to burnish its international image by ending one of its civil conflicts. Officials in Naivasha, Kenya, are finalizing an agreement to end Sudan's 50‐year civil war with the Sudan People's Liberation Army in the south. With yet another war intensifying in the west, Sudan has its hands full. This turn of events might lead Museveni, a trusted American client, to ask the U.S. government, the most influential guarantor of the Naivasha talks, for help in leveraging Sudan's cooperation. But Washington has no good will toward the International Criminal Court and cannot be counted on to pressure Khartoum. Kenya, host of the Naivasha talks, wants to steer clear of these conflicting interests. Outside help is available, primarily through the Inter‐Governmental Authority on Development, the regional security organization overseeing the Naivasha talks. The authority and its observer countries, Britain, Norway and Italy, should push for early completion of a Sudanese peace deal. The authority should urge its member states, including Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, to aid the ICC's prosecutor by promptly responding to requests for information and executing any arrest warrants. A second challenge may be even greater. The ICC must fulfill its promise to mete out impartial justice for the most serious crimes, even where, as here, a case has been referred for political reasons. Museveni is seeking to amend the Constitution so that he can run for a third term as president in 2005. Prosecution of the Lord's Resistance Army by the ICC would win Museveni votes in the strife‐torn north, where the population has been devastated by years of war. Museveni's request only concerns the LRA, but the prosecutor's investigative powers extend to crimes committed by any party in Uganda. Moreno Ocampo should make clear that while he welcomes governments' cooperation, his office operates independently. A president cannot immunize himself from prosecution simply by referring a case against his opponents. African leaders with dynastic designs on power who are putting down rebellions in their countries will be watching this case closely. Museveni's referral is a positive development, but it comes with risks. If it fails, the ICC gets the blame. If it succeeds, Museveni could reap immediate political reward with a legacy of far‐reaching international dimensions. Luis Moreno Ocampo has shown that he possesses sound judgment and ample diplomatic skill. All that and more will be required in investigating and prosecuting crimes in Uganda to the fullest. The future of the ICC depends on it.
What comes first, peace or justice? BYLINE: Nick Grono SECTION: OPINION; Pg. 6 When the interests of peace and justice conflict, there are no easy answers. In northern Uganda these issues are being starkly confronted in the ongoing peace talks between the rebel Lord's Resistance Army and the Ugandan government. These talks are the best opportunity so far to end a vicious guerrilla war that has lasted some 20 years and has utterly devastated northern Uganda. But difficult decisions have to be made about how best to deal with perpetrators of horrendous crimes, if the talks are to succeed. The LRA, led by its charismatic and murderous leader, Joseph Kony, has unleashed a reign of terror over the past two decades, abducting more than 25,000 boys and girls and turning them into rebel soldiers, porters and sex slaves. Kony's declared objective is to rule the north in accordance with the Ten Commandments, as directed by the spirits that speak through him. But beyond this he has not espoused a clear political objective. The Ugandan government has responded to the LRA's campaign by unleashing its own devastation on the north, forcing over a million of the region's Acholi inhabitants to live in camps, thus condemning them to a life removed from their fertile land, with little hope for a productive future. According to the government's own statistics, a thousand people a week on average are dying from conflict‐induced disease and malnutrition. The tragedy that this conflict has unleashed on the Acholi is on display all around Gulu, the main town of the north. At a center for returned LRA abductees, run by World Vision, the staff attempt the near impossible task of reintegrating some 160 formerly abducted girls, who were handed out to commanders, raped, and, having escaped, now bear children rejected by their own communities. The nearby School of Formerly Abducted Children houses 13‐ and 14‐year‐ old girls expecting the children of rebels. One by no means unique experience is that of a student who was forced to kill her brother and parents as the price of her own life;
International Herald Tribune October 27, 2006
the evident trauma she suffers is beyond comprehension. Boys who have spent much of their life in the bush, where they were forced to commit unspeakable horrors such as cutting off the lips, ears and noses of villagers deemed insufficiently supportive of the LRA, go through their daily routines with utterly blank faces. At one of many camps within an hour's drive of Gulu, some 45,000 Acholi have been living in squalid and unhygienic quarters for the last decade. The Ugandan government won't allow them to return to their nearby villages. Efforts to resolve the conflict have come to naught in the past. Recently, that has all changed in large part because the investigation by the International Criminal Court has altered the calculations of the rebel leaders. Last year, the ICC issued arrest warrants against Kony and four of his top commanders. This year Kony and his deputy, Vincent Otti, emerged from the bush for the first time to discuss peace, in talks mediated by the government of Southern Sudan. Their first and oft‐repeated demand is that the ICC prosecutions be dropped. If one accepts that the ICC is the main obstacle to peace itself a premature judgment it is difficult to argue that criminal accountability and the need to establish an effective ICC to deter future war criminals should take precedence over the immediate suffering of the northern Ugandans. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that those directly responsible for these unspeakable crimes should escape being held accountable. This is the dilemma that must be resolved when all other solutions to the conflict have failed. The way forward is for the ICC prosecutor to proceed with his prosecutions. He has a mandate and should not be required to make the essentially political judgment of whether the prospects of an uncertain peace should take precedence over justice. If such a judgment has to be made and it should only be considered if major peace benefits are highly likely and genuine accountability and reconciliation mechanisms are put in place then it should be made by the UN Security Council. The Security Council has a peace and security mandate, and is expressly authorized by the ICC's statute to put prosecutions on hold for a 12‐month renewable period. The talks have a long way to go, but if they reach the stage that peace is likely, the ICC prosecutions should be put on hold to give the millions in northern Uganda a chance to enjoy the peace they have thirsted after for 20 years.
Sample Blank Coding Frame
ID No Paper Title Date Headline Main Subject Subject 2 LRA's main reasons for fighting Not Mention
Is their political agency allocated
From POV of LRA: How is it mentioned (reporters contextualization) From POV of Ugandan government: Context of Ugandan politics (in some detail) Details of LRA violence Does the article have a clear and obvious activist goal
Negative Not Much Detail
No Encourage Humanitarian Intervention
Is the activist goal to
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