Mobile Week with GSM

June 14, 2009

Using mobile phone in conflict situation takes center stage at Global Media Forum

By Emeka Aginam, who was in  Bonn, Germany

With the global  paradigm shift from traditional to new media, how  best to use  mobile phone  as a tool in conflict situation and political hot spots was focus of discussion  at the  just concluded Global Media  Forum, (GMD)  in Bonn, Germany where no fewer than 1,200 participants from about 100 countries gathered to discuss  conflict prevention in the multimedia era.

phone21Although majority of the  participants at the capacity building event  were excited  in the new media,  speaker after speaker in  a session  on ‘Mobile phone as a conflict prevention  tool’ hosted by Voices of Africa Media Foundation believed that   conflicts will remain unabated in most regions of the world, especially in African countries unless journalists  were empowered with modern mobile technologies to effectively monitor  the impact of projects in the region , especially during  elections said to be one the major causes of  conflicts in the region .

While recommending for increase in the number of mobile reporters in Kenya and other African countries to get a broader, more representative picture of events that may resolve into conflicts, the speakers noted that an exploration of mobile reporting applicability in other countries exposed to conflicts will go a long way in reducing conflicts to the barest minimum.

For the Director General of Deutsche Welle, Erik Bettermam , the media in the digital age in  many areas,  are required for conflict avoidance.

“And conflict prevention using new media begins at home. And when people play virtual war games, there  is relevant connection to social conditioning . The fact that video games have become the most useful form of recruitment for the US military only underlines the social connotations” he explained.
Using multimedia tools in the 21st century knowledge economy  , he said  that the media bears  a great responsibility, adding that this is especially true of their active role in conflict prevention.

Speaking further on the very important role mobile phone could play in preventing conflicts during the  capacity building event , the pogrom Manager, Voices of Africa, Henri Ailders  said that prevention of conflicts is achievable if journalists re  equipped with IT tools and knowledge in the knowledge economy, adding that technology can be leveraged to manage crisis.

“We are here to share not only experience in detecting the seed of conflict in in Kenya, but how that experience can serve as inspiration for other regions and contexts,” he said.

Local mobile reporters, he said can effectively monitor projects in Africa, thereby reducing conflicts to the barest minimum in different regions of the continents that are conflict ridden.

In another session hosted by ICT4peace, the moderator, Alain Modoux, former Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace told the capacity audience listing with keen interest that conflicts in different regions of the world is possible if journalists were  well equipped with multimedia gadgets.

According to him, 21st century journalism needs well trained reporters with multimedia equipment  for the challenges ahead.

What technological capabilities and organizational commitments are needed to address these  challenges today? How will the United Nations act as a global thought —leader in this regards? We already hve web and internet tools, services and platforms with millions of users-can they be leveraged to transform crises and for humanitarian aid? Why will crisis information management play a vital in peace-building operations in the future were among burring  questions during asked by experts during the world conference on conflict prevention in the multimedia age that have the participation of journalists across the world.

In the capacity building conference that had more than 1,200 participants from approximately 100 countries, experts were able to discuss and exchange ideas on how best to use  latest technologies available in the world to prevent conflicts that have been  eating deep into  socio-economic fabrics of nations of the world.

Representatives from the media, poetics,  NGOs, business, science and culture joined in the discussions with Deutsche Welle partners and NGOs at the conference that  featured   diffferent program of more than 50 different events.

Co-host of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is the Foundation for international dialogue of the Sparkasse in Bonn. The convention was also supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign office, the government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bonn, DHL, The Economics, Intermedia, KD Deutsche Rheinschiffaahrt AG and the dpa group companies news aktuell and picture  alliance