School of Social and Political Science

Senior UN official comments on SPS humanitarian journalism research

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The UN’s deputy chief of humanitarian affairs gave a special speech today (Tuesday 4 February) to give her response to research by SPS's Dr Kate Wright and colleagues into the influence of the media on the allocation of humanitarian aid by major governmental donors. The research project is the first multi-country study of this issue to be undertaken.


The UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, said that research of this nature could help make humanitarian funding “more principled, efficient, effective and transparent.”

Dr Wright, who is the Academic Lead of the Media and Communications Cluster at the University of Edinburgh,  was asked to present the initial findings of this new research project, together with her co-authors - Dr Mel Bunce from City, University of London and Dr Martin Scott from the University of East Anglia – at the Humanitarian Networks and Partnership Week forum in Geneva. This event brings together more than two thousand experts in crisis preparedness and response, from over 350 organisations and countries.

Dr Wright, Dr Bunce and Dr Scott led a session on ‘Media's influence on humanitarian donors’ as part of a week-long programme to debate and find solutions to the common challenges in humanitarian affairs.

The Asst. Sec General said following the session: “For humanitarians, the mainstream media is a vital and powerful player in catalysing international humanitarian response...

“Until now, there was no systematic research into the influence of media coverage on major donor countries…

“These findings are not only interesting – they are instrumental to inform how we approach the media moving forward.”