Responding to conflicts and crises
During instability, the media can be a double-edged sword. They can help defuse tension by providing the public with accurate information; politicians and warring factions can also misuse the media to fuel intolerance and hatred.
The Rapid Response Mechanism is IMS’ approach to providing quick and flexible support to media during violent conflict or humanitarian crises. The mechanism enables media to:
- Survive and continue operating during a conflict or crisis;
- Provide the public with accurate, reliable and often life-saving information;
- Begin building or rebuilding a diverse, professional and viable media sector.
In so doing, IMS looks to turn a conflict or crisis into an opportunity to advance free expression.
Since its inception, IMS has focused on enabling local media to operate in relative safety and to play a constructive role during violent conflicts and, more recently, natural disasters. Where possible, short-term, emergency assistance to the media goes hand-in-hand with longer-term development of the sector.
Within weeks of Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, radio stations and newspapers were back on their feet, providing the public with crucial humanitarian information with equipment and funds from IMS. In Libya, IMS trained hundreds of citizen journalists in areas liberated from the Gaddafi regime during the 2011 uprising. In both Haiti and Libya, IMS and our partners went on to establish longer-term support programmes that are helping to build a more professional media industry.
The Rapid Response Unit also administers the Safety Fund – funds from the Danish Union of Journalists for the protection of journalists in danger. The IMS ‘How-we-do-it Guide to Rapid Response’ – available in 2013 – describes how the IMS Rapid Response Mechanism works in both theory and in practice.