FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       Date:  April 3, 2001

                                                                                                  Contact: Cheryl D. Peck

Expert on media coverage and the Irish conflict to speak at UIS

            SPRINGFIELD - An authority on media coverage of the conflict in Ireland will speak on "Media Images of the Irish Conflict" at 7:30 p. m. Wednesday, April 11, in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  Dr. Alan Parkinson will address the pivotal issue of the way British and international media have handled the prolonged crisis in Northern Ireland.  His appearance is free and open to the public.

            Senior Lecturer in History and Education at South Bank University in London, Dr. Parkinson will also provide a case study illustration that focuses on Ulster loyalism.  Visual images of the Irish conflict will be displayed, and the lecture will be followed by a short film presentation on international media interpretation of the Irish war.  A vital component of the session will be a discussion of these issues.

            In recent years, scholars of ethnic conflict have increasingly recognized the important role of the media in either fueling or dampening such disputes.  The way in which Bosnian Serbs used the media to fill the airwaves with hate-filled propaganda against Bosnian Muslims is a prime example.

            The modern phase of the Irish conflict -- the so-called "Troubles" -- began in 1969 when Irish Catholics (many influenced by the civil rights movement in the United States) began to protest against discrimination they faced in Protestant dominated Northern Ireland.  After 1972, when home rule in the North was revoked, successive British governments found themselves in the unenviable position of trying to mediate between extremists on both sides.  In the last few years, thanks in large part to improved cooperation between the Irish and British governments as well as American assistance, the prospects for peace have improved greatly. Yet many thorny issues remain.

            Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dr. Parkinson has lectured and researched widely in the area of Irish political history.  His book, "Ulster Loyalism and the British Media," was published in 1998.  Another book on the Anglo-Irish conflict in the 1920s, "Belfast Pogroms," will be published later this year.  He is also a teacher-trainer and a researcher in the field of teacher professionalism.

            His appearance is sponsored by International Studies at UIS, the History and Communication programs, and the Teacher Education Sequence.

            For more information about this event, please call Steve Schwark at 206-6650.