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‘Kony is so last month’ – lessons from social media stunt ‘Kony 2012’

‘Kony is so last month’ – lessons from social media stunt ‘Kony 2012’

Chapter:
(p.69) 4 ‘Kony is so last month’ – lessons from social media stunt ‘Kony 2012’
Source:
Law in Popular Belief
Author(s):
Regina E. Rauxloh
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097836.003.0005

This chapter explores the role of social media in the creation of myths and public beliefs about justice and law. Using the case study of the YouTube clip Kony 2012 the author identifies a number of myths and public beliefs this video creates and sustains, looking at three principal myths, namely the myths regarding the background and facts of the armed conflict and the current situation in Uganda, the myths regarding possible military and legal solutions and last but not least the myth surrounding the effectiveness of online activism itself. Rauxloh argues that the portrayal of a very long and complex conflict as simply a war of good versus evil and the presented solution of the “mighty West” helping the “helpless Africa” perpetuates dangerous stereotypes which are in direct contradiction to the aims of international criminal justice in general and the International Criminal Court in particular. It is also argued that one of the most damaging myths is the notion of the internet as the freely accessible democratic forum which opens up the power of voice to everybody. Rauxloh warns that social media have an unprecedented potential for creating, spreading and perpetuating myths and public beliefs.

Keywords:   social media, Kony 2012, international criminal justice, public beliefs, clictivism

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