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War and Peace in SomaliaNational Grievances, Local Conflict and Al-Shabaab$
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Michael Keating and Matt Waldman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190947910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190947910.001.0001

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Is Anybody Listening?

Is Anybody Listening?

Al-Shabaab’s Communications

(p.369) Is Anybody Listening?
War and Peace in Somalia

Harrper Mary

Oxford University Press

Since Al-Shabaab's inception more than a decade ago, communications have played a central role in its strategy. The group has stated that the ‘media battle’ is one of the most important elements of its campaign. This chapter examines the communications strategies and techniques of Al-Shabaab and other parties, and analyses how this information is received and what kind of impact it makes. Interviews with a broad range of individuals showed that many consider Al-Shabaab's messaging more compelling than Federal Government of Somalia and international counter-messaging. The group produces high-quality media products; targets local, national, and international journalists; and is rigorous and persistent. However, Al-Shabaab threatens journalists who do not do its bidding, produces highly distorted stories, and projects power and success for a vast number of Somali websites, many of which are unreliable.

Keywords:   Al-Shabaab, Somalia, communications, propaganda, political message, Somali websites

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