By continually focussing on a non-existent war, the media divert public attention from the important day-to-day social, economic and environmental realities of the Nile Basin.
In this editorial piece a group of researchers points at the limits of the “water war frame”:
it oversimplifies complex contexts and scenarios, by reducing conflicts to one simple cause and affirming a causal link between resources scarcity and conflicts, a link which is highly debated in the scientific literature
it dwarfs or blocks out other narratives and facts, such as those related to inequalities in water distribution within countries or ongoing processes of negotiations and cooperation between parties
it securitises water issues, narrowing down the space for freedom of expression and research on these topics.
This is why, researchers need to work with the media to draw public attention to these realities by communicating their research findings. By continually drawing public attention to evidence from their studies, researchers can change the widespread view held by some people that the Nile is a source of conflict rather than cooperation.
It is essential to understand how the media is reporting issues relating to the Nile Basin.
What are they including? What are they excluding? Being aware of these ‘frames’ will help you to be more confident and effective when dealing with the media.