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Megaphone Diplomacy in the Northern Irish Peace Process: Squaring the Circle by Talking to Terrorists through Journalists

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In early 1994, British and Irish mainstream media were instrumental in facilitating an indirect dialogue between their governments and the Irish Republican movement about the terms on which Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, could be admitted into political talks. This article provides evidence of this practice (labeled "megaphone diplomacy"), shows how it works, and discusses the advantages of using such a channel during delicate negotiations. Interviews with journalists working in Northern Ireland show that the channel can work without the active awareness of journalists, but also that it is possible for journalists to strengthen the process and yet stay within the journalistic paradigm. The article concludes with an assessment of the contributions of the media dialogue to the wider peace process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHarvard Internation Journal of Press/Politics
Pages (from-to)88-104
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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