Nicole Stremlau is Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Research Professor in the Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. She is currently leading a large ERC project on the Politics and Practice of Social Media in Conflict. Her research focuses on media and governance, particularly in areas of conflict and insecurity in Africa. Her recent projects examine the role of new media in political participation and governance; media law and regulation in the absence of government or in weak states; the role of media in conflict, peacebuilding and the consolidation of political power; and how governments attempt to engage citizens and communicate law-making processes, particularly constitution-making. She has recently led Oxford's contribution to a large EU project on media and democratization conflicts (MeCODEM). Stremlau's doctoral work explored the role of media during the guerrilla insurgencies in Uganda and Ethiopia, and how the successive governments used the media to consolidate political power in the aftermath of violence.

While Stremlau continues to research and write on Ethiopia, her more recent research has been on media and conflict in Somalia and Somaliland, which has received funding from the United Nations, among others. 

As Head of PCMLP, Stremlau develops and manages international programmes on media law and policy, including the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme. She has established links between PCMLP with universities, law firms and media companies in India, China, Eastern Africa and the Middle East. Stremlau is co-director of the annual Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute, a researcher and author for the Horn of Africa for the annual Freedom House Press Freedom Rankings and an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Communications Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

While at PCMLP she has been awarded several grants for advancing her research as well as the agenda of the programme, including support from the Open Society Foundations, the United Nations, and the European Union.  She was recently a co-investigator on the project “Reframing Local Knowledge: ICTs, Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Eastern Africa” funded by the Carnegie Corporation and recently completed an ESRC-funded project on China’s role in shaping the information systems in Africa.

Prior to coming to PCMLP, Stremlau was director of the Africa programme at the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research where she initiated a led the East African Journalists Fellowship Programme, as well as research projects on media and election violence and public opinion research in Darfur. She has been a regular contributor to Janes Intelligence Review and has consulted for the World Bank in Addis Ababa as well as for Human Rights Watch. Stremlau lived in Ethiopia for several years where she conducted research and spent a year as a features writer at the Ethiopian Reporter.

Research was profiled by the National Endowment for Democracy highlighting 10 of the most significant academics that have contributed to empirical understandings of the relationship between media and governance. (NED, 2012.   Is there a Link Between Media and Good Governance? What the Academics Say)


BA with honors, College of Social Studies, Wesleyan University, Middletown CT.
MA, International Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK.
PhD, Department of International Development, London School of Economics (LSE), London, UK.


Displaying 1 - 60 of 60. Sorted by year, then title.
Filter by
  • N Stremlau, I Gagliardone and G Aynekulu, 'A tale of two publics? Online politics in Ethiopia’s elections' (2019) Journal of Eastern African Studies 192
    This article examines two apparently contradictory uses of digital media during elections: in 2005, when still nascent digital tools were employed by Ethiopians to contest power in ways that pre-configured tactics later adopted by protesters elsewhere in Africa and globally; and in 2015, when digital publics displayed disenchantment towards an election with a foregone outcome. Relying on a mixed-methods approach, combining interviews with some of the very actors that shaped Ethiopia’s information society and the analysis of more than 3,000 statements posted on Facebook 3 months before and 1 month after Ethiopia’s elections on 24 May, the article offers an empirical examination of this contradiction, and how an authoritarian state has sought to influence online public discursive spaces. The findings suggest interpreting the effervescence of 2005 and the apathy of 2015 not as disjointed examples of active and passive uses of digital media. Especially when read against the background of the protests that erupted in the years following the elections, when digital media were embraced again as tools for mass mobilization, we propose reading the “digital apathy” of 2015 rather as a critique moved towards the fictitious apparatus for political participation erected in 2015, one that concurrently challenges the EPRDF’s hegemonic project, and the obsession of the international community towards elections as a tool for political change.
  • N Stremlau, 'Developing Bottom-up Indicators for Human Rights' (2019) 23 The International Journal of Human Rights 1378
    There is a growing effort to quantify and track trends in human rights. The reliance on large, international indicators, including global indexes and national human rights report cards, is increasing as part of international development assistance and human rights monitoring. This article explores the limitations of mainstream human rights indicators, particularly in the developing world, arguing that many of these approaches overlook local realities. An alternative strategy for designing bottom-up human rights indicators is offered drawing on the experience of constructing the Uhakiki Human Rights Index in Tanzania. The challenges of developing an appropriate and feasible methodology in complex environments is discussed, particularly given that with bottom-up indicators, what works in one situation might not necessarily be transferrable to another context.
  • G Iazzolino and N Stremlau, 'Hybrid Governance, Strategic Communication and the Quest for Institutional Legitimacy' in K Voltmer, C Christensen, I Neverla, N Stremlau, B Thomass, N Vladisavljevic, H Wasserman (ed), Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change (Palgrave 2019)
    Democratisation conflicts are a test to the stability and resilience of new and fragile institutions. Opposing ideas of statehood and participation clash as tensions accompanying institutional transformations towards representative democracy translate into anti-government campaigns, constitutional crises, popular demonstrations and even street riots. At the same time, the interests of fledgling groups of power on one side and of entrenched ones on the other might collide: by burnishing any democratic credentials they might have, newly empowered political actors compete to shape the state according to their own agenda. Elites, often from previous regimes, may resist change or seek to carve a niche for themselves within the emerging institutional arrangement.
  • E Marchant and N Stremlau, 'Internet Shutdowns in Africa: A Report on the Johannesburg Workshop' (2019) Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford
    Internet shutdowns – where access to the internet is cut off within a country’s borders – are not a new phenomenon; it is the increasing scope and scale that make this an urgent issue. In India, there were more than 130 separate instances of government-ordered internet shutdowns in 2018; while the African continent holds the record for the longest shutdowns, with countries like Cameroon and Chad as particularly notable cases. Choosing to shut off access to the internet is choosing a particularly blunt instrument, one that appeals to certain governments, but also one that is unlikely to persist or remain unchanged as governments increase their surveillance capacity and improve their more targeted tools for co-opting and manipulating public opinion. Given the urgency of this issue in the African context, a workshop on internet shutdowns was jointly convened by the University of Oxford’s Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and the University of Johannesburg’s School of Communication in 2018 in Johannesburg. It hosted two dozen participants across the continent representing a wide array of academic disciplines and practitioner fields, including from law, communications, and computer science disciplines, and from the legal, advocacy, and technology sectors. Countries discussed included: Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, South Sudan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
  • N Stremlau, 'Media Development and the Political Marketplace' in N Benequiesta, S Abbott, P Rothman and W Mano (eds), International Media Development: Historical Perspectives and New Frontiers (Peter Lang 2019)
    In the midst of the technological and political turbulence of today, it is opportune to reflect on the significance and potential of international support to media development. Is the field of media development assistance still relevant? And, if yes, how can it be steered to be more relevant given the present democratic challenges? By adopting the metaphor of a political marketplace, a contemporary system of governance where loyalty may be bought or sold and political allegiances are negotiated, this chapter unpacks and elaborates a more realistic and reflective view of the role, and potential, media development may have in different contexts. A political marketplace, in this context, encompasses an important set of governance actors—political entrepreneurs, who may include career politicians, businesspeople, religious leaders, among others—and the rules, incentives, norms, and ethics that govern the way they interact with each other, their constituents or communities, and ordinary people (although the latter is not always a priority). This lens allows for greater focus on power, politics, and the role of money in media assistance.
  • K Voltmer, C Christensen, I Neverla and N Stremlau (eds), Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change (Palgrave 2019)
    This book investigates the role of media and communication in processes of democratization in different political and cultural contexts. Struggles for democratic change are periods of intense contest over the transformation of citizenship and the reconfiguration of political power. These democratization conflicts are played out within an increasingly complex media ecology where traditional modes of communication merge with new digital networks, thus bringing about multiple platforms for journalists and political actors to promote and contest competing definitions of reality. The volume draws on extensive case study research in South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Serbia to highlight the ambivalent role of the media as force for democratic change, citizen empowerment, and accountability, as well as driver of polarization, radicalization and manipulation.
  • N Stremlau and I Gagliardone, 'Socio-Legal Approaches to Online Hatespeech' in N Creutzfeldt, M Mason, K McConnachie (ed), Routledge Handbook of Socio-Legal Methods (Routledge 2019)
    Researching how hate speech emerges and spreads and how it is regulated offers a unique lens to understand how different traditions understand speech and its limits. Earlier studies have focused on the deep divergence separating European and American approaches towards regulation, but the realization that the most dire consequences of speech inciting hatred are felt not in relatively stable democracies, but in fragile and transitioning societies has led to calls for more empirically grounded research, trying to understand how hate speech emerges and spreads in different sociocultural contexts, and how online speech can provoke offline violence. By focusing on online hate speech, this chapter first offers an overview of the challenges of defining and responding to hate speech, as further exacerbated by the proliferation of social media and by the opportunities they provide to myriad users to post anonymously, across jurisdictions, and in ways that tend to make hateful remarks more visible and permanent. In the second half, the chapter provides concrete examples of how empirical research can help address some definitional challenges, leading to a better understanding of how different online practices are connected to specific cultures of communication, and to more grounded, and possibly more effective, responses to speech that can lead to violence.
  • N Stremlau, 'Governance Without Government in the Somali Territories' (2018) 71 Journal of International Affairs 73
    Law and politics work in a variety of ways across the Somali territories, and differ significantly. This article negotiates the difference and distance between lawlessness and a failed state, specifically pertaining to Somalia and ultimately discussing the common threads that are shared within these differing arrangements. Factors such as the continued relevance and influence of customary law. Finally, the article examines the realities of nation and statebuilding arguing that the state under Said Barre was predatory, invasive and strangling for numerous sectors. The article explores arguments that perhaps statelessness is preferred in the given context.
  • N Stremlau, Media, Conflict and the State in Africa (Cambridge University Press 2018)
    Countries emerging from violent conflict face difficult challenges about what the role of media should be in political transitions, particularly when attempting to build a new state and balance a difficult legacy. Media, Conflict, and the State in Africa discusses how ideas, institutions and interests have shaped media systems in some of Africa's most complex state and nation-building projects. This timely book comes at a turbulent moment in global politics as waves of populist protests gain traction, and concerns continue to grow about fake news, social media echo chambers, and the increasing role of both traditional and new media in waging wars or influencing elections. Focusing on comparative cases from a historical perspective and the choices and ideas that informed the approaches of some of Africa's leaders, including guerrilla commanders Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Nicole Stremlau offers a unique political insight into the development of contemporary media systems in Africa.
  • N Stremlau, 'Law and Innovation in the Somali Territories' in B Mutsvairo (ed), The Palgrave Handbook of Media and Communication Research in Africa (Palgrave 2018)
    This chapter explores how, in the absence of a formal legal and regulatory environment, media and ICTs have thrived in the Somali territories. The Somali territories enjoy some of the fastest internet connections on the continent, widespread access to mobile money, and in parts of the region, significant access to a variety of radio and television outlets. This comparative rich information environment is often overlooked in normative assessments and media development indices that tend to place Somalia at the very bottom (eg Freedom House). By proposing a diagnostic approach to understand the complex information ecology in the Somali territories, this chapter looks beyond the formal state structures and seeks to understand how informal laws, rules and norms govern the media and information flows. The rule of non-law, including customary law, the role of public authorities and alternative ways of dispute resolution between companies has enabled one of the most ambitious experiments in innovation and ICTs in the world.
  • M Price and N Stremlau, 'Conclusion' in M Price and N Stremlau (eds), Speech and Society in Turbulent Times: Freedom of Expression in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2017)
  • G Iazzolino and N Stremlau, 'New Media and Governance in Conflict' (2017) 38 Third World Quarterly 2242
  • N Stremlau, 'Speech and Society in Comparative Perspective' in M Price and N Stremlau (eds), Speech and Society in Turbulent Times: Freedom of Expression in Comparative Perspective.  (Cambridge University Press 2017)
  • N Stremlau, I Gagliardone and M Price, World Trends in Media Development and Freedom of Expression (UNESCO 2017)
    Across the world, journalism is under fire. While more individuals have access to content than ever before, the combination of political polarization and technological change have facilitated the rapid spread of hate speech, misogyny and unverified 'fake news', often leading to disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression. In an ever-growing number of countries, journalists face physical and verbal attacks that threaten their ability to report news and information to the public. In the face of such challenges, this new volume in the World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development series offers a critical analysis of new trends in media freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists.
  • N Stremlau, 'Constitution-making and the Politics of Participation in Somalia' (2016) 115 African Affairs 225
    The United Nations-led constitution-making process, while highly controversial, has sought to create an opening to help Somalia transition to a new phase in its political development. This article considers the structural features, problems, and opportunities of the process, particularly in the context of debates over external interventions and state sovereignty. It also addresses an area that is often overlooked during constitution-making: the role of media and communications in advancing narratives that not only shape perceptions, but also define the scope of the debate. International actors have worked to promote legitimating narratives, emphasizing certain aspects and values with a focus on the constitution being ‘Somali-owned’. This article shows how local and private media treated and reshaped these emphases and priorities. At this stage it is not possible to conclude whether efforts to “sell” the constitution have generated greater legitimacy, but what is clear is that the narratives that have dominated public discourse have been focused on participation and politicking, reflecting underlying concerns about which groups will have access to state resources, as well as responding to the interventions by international actors. This emphasis has obscured the role of local legal cultures and previous experiences with grassroots constitution-making processes and reconciliation in the Somali territories that might allow for the reimagining of the nation.
  • N Stremlau, 'Innovation in the Absence of a State' in E Gordon and P Mihailidis (eds), Civic Media: Design, Technologies, Practice (MIT Press 2016)
  • N Stremlau and Ridwan Osman, 'Courts, Clans and Companies: Mobile Money and Dispute Resolution in Somaliland' (2015) 4 Stability: International Journal of Security and Development
    One of the world’s most ambitious experiments in mobile money is underway in the Somali territories. In the absence of a strong central government and internationally recognized banking institutions, remittance companies and the telecoms industry have been innovating to provide services unique to the Somali context, which is making the economy increasingly ‘cashless’. Mobile money has posed new regulatory and legal challenges, particularly when disputes involving consumers are involved. This article focuses on a case study from Somaliland (the northern, self-declared independent region of Somalia) and examines Zaad, the dominant mobile money platform. Given the weak state institutions, there are a variety of actors, including private companies, government police and courts, sharia courts and traditional elders that play an active role in resolving conflicts that result from mobile money transactions, forging a hybrid judicial approach. We examine how these different actors intervene and create an enabling environment to allow innovation and foster trust in a region of the world that is frequently characterized as violent and lawless.
  • I Gagliardone and N Stremlau, 'ICTs and Peacebuilding in Africa' (2015) 4 Special issue of Stability: Journal of International Development
  • I Gagliardone, A Kalemara, L Kogen and N Stremlau, 'In Search of Local Knowledge on ICTs in Africa' (2015) 4 Stability: International Journal of Security and Development
    This article explores whether, and to what extent, local knowledge features in research on the role of ICTs in statebuilding and peacebuilding in Africa, with a particular focus on neighboring Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. We question whether the claims of the transformative power of ICTs are backed by ‘evidence’ and whether local knowledge – e.g., traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution – is taken into consideration by ICT-based development initiatives. To assess this, we systematically reviewed literature in the region, focusing on academic outputs as well as research published by non-governmental and governmental organizations. Several key findings emerged, including: 1) empirical evidence on the successful use of ICTs to promote peacebuilding and statebuilding is thin; 2) few differences exist between scholarship emanating from the Global North and from Africa; and 3) overall, the literature exhibits a simplistic assumption that ICTs will drive democratic development without sufficient consideration of how ICTs are actually used by the public.
  • N Stremlau and I Gagliardone, 'Media, Conflict and Political Transitions in Africa' in Zielonka, J (ed), Media and Politics in New Democracies (Oxford University Press 2015)
    There are significant parallels between media and democracy in Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in terms of political and institutional development. This chapter explores some of these parallels, as well as some of the major differences, through a focus on the role of the media in Africa’s broader democratization trends in three main areas: the media as political actors in conflict; the challenge of looking beyond the formal state to other forms of authority to understand the structure of the media and their relationships to the centres of power; and the attempts by some of Africa’s leaders to offer alternative theories about the role of media in democratization in conflict and post-conflict societies. The authors argue that hybridity, or the blending of informal and formal structures, is key to an understanding of the variety and complexity of the new systems, norms, and practices in Africa and CEE.
  • N Stremlau and E Fantini and I Gagliardone, 'Patronage, politics and performance: radio call-in programmes and the myth of accountability' (2015) 36 Third World Quarterly 1510
    The role of media in promoting political accountability and citizen participation is a central issue in governance debates. Drawing on research into the interactions between radio station owners, journalists, audiences and public authorities during Somali radio call-in programmes we argue that these programmes do not simply offer a new platform for citizens to challenge those who are governing but that they are also spaces where existing power structures reproduce themselves in new forms. We identify the ways the programmes are structured and the different motivations the audience has for participation. Three types of programmes are identified and their relationships with patronage, politics, and performance are examined. Rather than focusing on normative assumptions about the media as a tool of accountability, the article emphasises the importance of understanding radio programmes in their social and political environment, including the overlapping relationships between on-air and off-air networks.
  • N Stremlau, 'In Search of Evidence: Media and Governance in Fragile States' (2014) 4 Global Media Journal
  • E Shoemaker and N Stremlau, 'Media and Conflict: An Assessment of the Evidence.' (2014) 14 Progress in Development Studies 181
    This article assesses the evidence used in arguments for the role of the media in conflict and post-conflict situations. It focuses on two broad areas within the literature. First, it examines literature on the contribution of media in war to peace transitions, including an assessment of the evidence used to show how the media may contribute to violent conflict and how they may provoke, or hinder, post-conflict reconstruction. Second, it assesses evidence used in arguments for the role new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet and mobile phones may have in liberation or oppression in developing country contexts. Through reviewing some of the most significant papers that were systematically selected in a literature review on media and conflict, our findings suggest that there are serious gaps in the evidence and the majority of evidence is located in the ‘grey literature’ or policy documents. The article concludes by suggesting future research agendas to address these gaps.
  • N Stremlau, 'Media, Participation and Constitution-Making in Ethiopia' (2014) 58 Journal of African Law 231
    The role of communications in facilitating public participation in constitution-making is often neglected and misunderstood, particularly in post-war state-building when mass media may be weak. In the early 1990s, Ethiopia's ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), drafted one of Africa's most ambitious constitutions, allowing for ethnic federalism, decentralization and democratic reforms. The constitution has been highly controversial and many of its aspirations remain unrealized. This article explores how the EPRDF sought to use the media to explain and encourage acceptance of the constitution. It offers a framework for analysis that is relevant for countries beyond Ethiopia by examining: the role of media policies in providing domestic and international legitimacy for constitutions; the ways in which media can provide a space for non-violent political conflict or negotiation, where elites can navigate political struggles and debate ideology; and the use of media to implement the constitution's most ambitious goals.
  • N Stremlau, 'Conflict and Post-Conflict Media Development in Somalia: Towards a Diagnostic Research Approach' (2013) 6 Journal of Media, War and Conflict 279
    Media interventions by international organizations and NGOs in conflict and post-conflict situations seek to develop and shape a media system to contribute to specific political and social ends. The analyses and assessments that inform these interventions are often based on an overview of the formal media and governance structures, such as mass media and state institutions, and overlook informal structures that may be instrumental for political and development goals. This article proposes a framework that can incorporate both the formal and informal modes of communication and participation that characterize a society. This framework encourages a ‘diagnostic’ approach centred around three areas: power, flows, and participation, and enables researchers to take into consideration features that are often overlooked such as customary law; a range of public authorities from politicians to Imams and local elders; information flows that may vary from poetry to mobile phones; and the culture of communication. Examples from the Somali territories, which are characterized by a weak central government, are employed to highlight how informal structures and actors intervene in shaping information flows and the importance of accounting for them.
  • N Stremlau, 'Hostages of Peace: The Politics of Radio Liberalization in Somaliland' (2013) 7 Journal of Eastern African Studies 239
    Somaliland has held several competitive and multiparty elections that have been cited by international election monitors as being “free and fair.” While political competition has been tolerated, or even encouraged by the governments in power, there has been a continued reluctance to allow private radio stations. Citing the possibility of destabilizing Somaliland's delicate peace, arguments against the liberalization of the media include concerns of radios used to further political polarization, mobilize groups to escalate simmering conflicts and violence, and the capacity of the government to regulate media outlets. This article locates these arguments against media liberalization in the context of Somaliland's larger nation- and state-building project suggesting that in transitions from war to peace, no matter how prolonged, there are very real concerns about processes of institutionalization and the sequencing of democratic reforms.
  • N Stremlau, E Fantini and R Osman, Power and Politics: The Structure of Local Radio Broadcasters in Somalia (Report for the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM 2013)
  • N Stremlau, 'Somalia: Media Law in the Absence of a State' (2013) 8 Journal of Media and Cultural Politics 159
    Somalia is often described as ‘lawless’ or ‘the world’s most failed state’, a characterization that overlooks the way law and governance actually works in the absence of a capable central government. This article will explore the role of xeer law, or customary law, in regulating media, including both older media, such as poetry, and newer media, such as mobile phones, in Somalia’s complex legal environment. While Somalia remains one of the most dangerous regions of the world for journalists, dozens of radio stations are broadcasting in South-Central Somalia and there is a competitive newspaper industry in Somaliland. In addition, the telecoms industry is booming with some of the best connections and lowest rates on the continent for the internet and mobile phones. Various authorities govern media and resolve conflicts across the Somali territories. To understand media ‘law’ in this region we must look beyond the formal state structures.
  • N Stremlau and E Fantini, Talking Politics: A Comparative Analysis of Somali Radio Call-in Programmes (Report for the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM 2013)
  • N Stremlau, 'The Press and the Political Restructuring of Ethiopia' in Abbink, J.and T Hagmann (ed), Reconfiguring Ethiopia: The Politics of Authoritarian Reform. (Routledge 2013)
  • N Stremlau, 'Customary Law and Media Regulation in Conflict and Post-Conflict States' in M Price and S Verhulst (eds), Handbook of Media Law and Policy: A Socio-Legal Exploration (Routledge 2012)
  • N Stremlau, 'Digital Media, Diasporas and Conflict in the Horn of Africa' in M Dragomir and M Thompson (eds), Mapping Digital Media (Open Society Institute 2012)
  • N Stremlau and R Osman, Media Narratives and Constitution-making in Somalia (Report for the UN Political Office in Somalia 2012)
  • N Stremlau and M Price, 'Communications and Leadership in Crisis States (background paper)' (2011) World Bank Development Report: Conflict, Security and Development
  • E Shoemaker and N Stremlau, Media and Political Choice: An Assessment of the Evidence (Report from the Justice and Security Programme, London School of Economics to the UK Department for International Development (DFID) 2011)
  • N Stremlau, 'The Press and the Political Restructuring of Ethiopia' (2011) 5 Journal of Eastern African Studies 716
    Divisive debates on what constitutes the Ethiopian nation, how the state should be structured and how power should be devolved, have dominated Ethiopia's private press since the ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), came to power. The press has served as both a mirror reflecting these issues and a space for literate elites to engage in political debates. This article analyses the role of the media, and the press in particular, in Ethiopia's political debates. It also explores how the tenets of “Revolutionary Democracy” have shaped the media. This has polarized Ethiopia's media, which has been unable to effectively serve as a forum for the negotiation of political power or for reconciliation between divided sectors of society.
  • N Stremlau, Communication and Governance in Somaliland (Report for the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office 2010)
  • N Stremlau, Somalia Media Mapping (Report for the United Nations and African Union Information Support Team in Somalia 2010)
  • N Stremlau, 'Towards a New Approach to Evaluation' in Price, M and Abbott, S (eds), Evaluating the Evaluators (Peter Lang 2010)
    In the zeal to find a satisfactory mode of measuring performance, the ideathat evaluative measures are scientific—that they actually measure, and that they measure what we want them to measure—poses a barrier to proper analysis. In this chapter, I suggest overlooked areas for further understanding, for coming to grips not only with the strengths but also the weaknesses of existing measures. Drawing on examples from non-Western states, including some states that are regarded as “fragile” or “crisis” states, I also seek to suggest that the choice of evaluative approach itself may be, and often is, a way to alter a media environment. Thus, in discussing approaches to evaluating levels of press freedom (and related factors), it is not just a matter of taking the pulse of a country. Evaluative instruments often become part of a system, part of a pattern of evolving norms that suggest how societies should be structured. The rankings and the questions themselves are charged with values.
  • M Price, I al Marashi and N Stremlau, 'Media in the Peacebuilding Process: Ethiopia and Iraq' in Norris, P (ed), Public Sentinel (The World Bank 2009)
  • N Stremlau, 'Review of Press, Politics and Public Policy in Uganda' (2009) 30 Equid Novi [Review]
  • N Stremlau, Freedom of Information Act in Ethiopia (Report for the World Bank 2008)
  • M Price, I al Marashi and N Stremlau, Polarization and the Media: The Problem with the Governance Agenda in Post-Conflict States, paper presented at Discussion paper for the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • N Stremlau, 'Spanish translation of Media Policy, Peace and State Reconstruction' in Hemer, O and Tufte, T (eds), Media and Global Change: Rethinking Communication for Development (Publicaciones Cooperativas 2008)
  • N Stremlau, 'Transferred Hostility: Ethiopia and Eritrea’s Unregulated Tensions' (2008) Janes Intelligence Review
  • N Stremlau and T Allen, 'Media Policy, Peace and State Reconstruction' in Hemer, O and Tufte, T (eds), Media and Global Change: Rethinking Communication for Development (Nordicom 2006)
    This paper begins by identifying and discussing the current prevailing liberal policy towards the media's role in 'peace-making' and 'peace-building'. It then proceeds to assess whether this has been an effective or ineffective approach, and concludes by suggesting ways in which the debate can be reframed or expanded. In brief, it is argued that laissez-faire policies towards media development in societies that are in the process of resolving violent conflicts are unlikely to be the best option. While recognising that proposing censorship is problematic and controversial, the paper argues that there have to be restrictions on material that is divisive and inflammatory - although this inevitably raises questions of who should decide what is unacceptable and on what basis.
  • N Stremlau, 'Review of Information Intervention' (2004) 4 Progress in Development Studies 271 [Review]


Research programmes

Research projects

Research Interests

Media and international development; Politics in the Horn of Africa and Eastern African; Media, conflict and peacebuilding; Freedom of expression

Research projects