Public Perception and Policy: Famine and Food Securitization in the Horn of Africa

18 November 2013 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

Chatham House, London


Professor Suzanne Franks, Professor of Journalism, City University London
Discussant: Rob Bailey, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House
Chair: Eliza Anyangwe, Journalist and Content Manager, Global Development Professionals Network, The Guardian



Extensive media coverage exposed the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine to public consciousness, with long-lasting consequences for Western policy formulation on the Horn of Africa. Recent food crises in the region continue to raise questions about the ability of the humanitarian system to translate early warnings into early action.

This meeting will look at the impact of reporting on famine and food securitization in the Horn of Africa, stimulating discussion around the themes of Suzanne Franks’ book Reporting Disasters: Famine, Aid, Politics and Media, which examines how the international configuration of aid and official policy can be both informed and misled by an incomplete portrayal of events and media pressure.