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Innes, Michael A. (2005) 'Denial-of-Resource Operations and NPFL Radio Dominance in the Liberian Civil War.' Civil Wars, 8 (1). pp. 288-309.

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There has been limited scholarly analysis of former Liberian President Charles Taylor's manipulation of radio broadcasting, or of the extensive use of propaganda by his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) during the country's enormously destructive 1990–97 war. Scholars and writers of the conflict have noted these issues in passing, but they have presumed NPFL control over nation-wide mass media and communications, without explaining the circumstances through which Taylor and his forces came to possess them. This article addresses five related gaps in the historical record. First, it locates broadcast resource acquisition within the wider context of scorched earth tactics that characterized the conflict – identifying it as a deliberate military and political subset of more generalized denial-of-resource practices. Second, it anchors in place and time the wartime broadcast resources at the disposal of Taylor, the NPFL, and to a lesser extent, their enemies. Third, it demonstrates the singular interest of Taylor and his forces in acquiring and maintaining enhanced communication capabilities, destroying those that they could not control, thereby leaving the country exposed and vulnerable to rebel media saturation. Fourth, it describes two windows of opportunity during which Taylor and his forces could have dominated the ether, their opponents unable to respond in kind. Finally, this article contests the claim that combatants were beyond the command and control capabilities of rebel leaders. It argues instead that Taylor had the means to convey his intentions and expectations, directly and indirectly, to commanders, fighters, and non-combatants both near and far – his ability to do so in large part contingent on preferential access to an extensive array of broadcast communications facilities.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
ISSN: 13698249
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 08:55

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