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The State of Things

Social Media & Social Change

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This month, the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Invisible Children debuted a Web video campaign called “Kony 2012.” The short film aims to raise awareness about a man named Joseph Kony who has been responsible for kidnapping countless children in Northern Uganda and other areas in Central Africa for use in his rebel army. It's reached over 100 million views online so far, but some Ugandans and Africa experts have publicly criticized the video for oversimplifying the complicated issue of civil war in Uganda and drawing attention that could incite violence in the region. What policies does the Kony2012 video really suggest? Is justice truly universal or might Americans see it differently than Ugandans do? Host Frank Stasio explores the ideas presented in “Kony 2012” and the ways that social media can positively and negatively impact social change. Joining him are Michael Palm, assistant professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Safia Swimelar, assistant professor of political science at Elon University; Gann Herman, Program Coordinator at the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School; and Michael Kayemba, a Ugandan student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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