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The Independence of South Sudan

The Role of Mass Media in the Responsibility to Prevent

By Walter C. Soderlund & E. Donald Briggs
Subjects Political Science, African Politics, Film & Media
Series Studies in International Governance Hide Details
Paperback : 9781771121170, 182 pages, August 2014
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771120845, 182 pages, November 2014

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
The Independence of South Sudan: The Role of Mass Media in the Responsibility to Prevent by Walter C. Soderlund and E. Donald Briggs

List of Maps and Tables

Preface and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1: Sudan's North-South Divide

Chapter 2: International Intervention: From Peacekeeping to Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect

Chapter 3: The Responsibility to Prevent: Problems of Identification and Implementation

Chapter 4: Influencing Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Decision Making: The Role of Mass Media

Chapter 5: North American Press Coverage of the 2010 Sudanese Elections

Chapter 6: North American Press Coverage of the 2011 Referendum

Chapter 7: North American Press Coverage of the Declaration of Independence by the Republic of South Sudan

Chapter 8: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Responsibility to Prevent: The Impact of Press Framing on Policy Choices

Postscript: Developments since Independence






The Responsibility to Protect, the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), focused on three international responsibilities in the area of human security: the responsibility to prevent, the responsibility to react, and the responsibility to rebuild. The report acknowledged the difficulty of identifying countries likely to experience widespread civil violence and then predicting when this would occur. But the authors of this book submit that if ever a case of a “responsibly to prevent” was possible to anticipate, South Sudan was it.

A Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended the Sudanese second civil war in 2005 with a call for a referendum to be held in South Sudan in 2011 to determine the region’s future, In the event, an overwhelming majority voted for independence for the region. The question that motivated this book is whether the CPA would set in motion a process resulting in yet another brutal conflict, and, if that conflict was widely predicted, what should be the response of the international community in terms of “responsibility to prevent”?

Mass media coverage has been identified as an important factor in mobilizing the international community into action in crisis and potential crisis situations; however, the impact of media reporting on actual decision-making is unclear. Thirty-plus years of research has demonstrated consistent agenda-setting effects, while a more recent stream of research has confirmed significant framing effects, the latter most likely to occur in cases where advocacy framing is used. This book examines the way in which the press in Canada and the United States interpreted the potential for violence that accompanied South Sudan’s independence in 2011, and whether or not their governments had a responsibility to prevent.


  • Commended, The Hill Times List of the Best Books 2014


"A succinctly written and informative book. "

- Beth Haddon, Literary Review of Canada