Like dust before the wind, or, the winds of change? the influence of international criminal tribunals on narratives and media frames
CITATION: Bachmann, K., et al. 2019. Like dust before the wind, or, the winds of change? the influence of international criminal tribunals on narratives and media frames. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 13(2):368-386, doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijz005.
The original publication is available at https://academic.oup.com/ijtj/
When created, international criminal tribunals (ICTs) were not only expected to do justice but also to provide stabilization to postconflict regions, contribute to reconciliation and curb the potential denial of atrocities. Based on media content analysis, this article examines whether controversial ICT decisions triggered changes in narratives or frames about the conflicts which formed the background of the respective ICT decisions. There is no evidence for dramatic changes in the preexisting narratives about these conflicts, but we found some cases in which tribunal decisions caused changes in media frames and in elements of such frames, mostly by emphasizing outgroup victimhood and individual responsibility of ingroup perpetrators, as well as triggering effects of collective guilt externalization. Although frame changes were often observed in both democratic and nondemocratic countries, only in democratic countries with pluralist and competitive media systems could they be attributed to tribunal decisions.
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