FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: KONY 2012 – A force for good?

Talk April 5, 2012 7:00 PM

The recent KONY 2012 campaign video has been met with strong criticism, but nobody can question its effectiveness in reaching a mass audience. The film, created by Invisible Children and featuring director and founder of Invisible Children Jason Russell, is reportedly one of the fastest spreading viral videos ever, reaching over 100 million views in a week.

It has been criticised for presenting a complex situation as a simplified problem with a simple solution, for reinforcing the idea that Africans are helpless victims who need to be ‘saved’ by ‘the West’ and for misrepresenting reality. 

Despite its inaccuracies this campaign has created wider awareness about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) than any news report or campaign that has come before it, so what can be learned? Join us for April’s First Wednesday as we debate whether the KONY 2012 campaign is a force for good or a worrying development in campaigning.

Hosted by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


Benjamin Chesterton, radio documentary and photofilm producer, co-founder of the production company duckrabbit and the website A Developing Story.

Amanda Weisbaum, Programmes Director at War Child, who work on the ground with communities affected by the LRA in Northern Uganda and Central African Republic.

Musa Okwonga, a football writer, poet and musician of Ugandan descent. He is author of A Cultured Left Foot which was nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and Will You Manage?. He is one half of The King’s Will, an electronica outfit that blends poetry, music, and animated videos.

Mareike Schomerus, Research Consortium Director of the Justice and Security Research Programme at LSE and author of many publications including Chasing the Kony story in The Lord’s Resistance Army: Myth and Reality.

Callum Macrae, a film-maker and journalist who has reported, filmed and directed many award-winning television documentaries for Channel 4, the BBC and Al Jazeera English among others. He first made a film about Kony and the LRA in 2003, and has written and made several films about the LRA since.