The pioneer of peace studies Johan Galtung (1996) proposed two types of peace: negative peace meaning the absence of violence and positive peace where there is coexistence, restoration and sustainable absence of violence.[i] Direct violence is traceable violent action and indirect (structural) violence is violence rooted in the social, economic, or cultural conditions prevailing within or between societies. Nonviolent conflict resolution or peacebuilding studies have now diversified with branches on peace economics, peace journalism, peace and justice and so forth. With the rise of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs)[ii], the new field that integrates ICTs with international economic development has emerged and is known as ICT for Development or ICT4D. In early and mid 2000, capital D started to be succeeded by the big P, ICT for Peace (ICT4P) inclusive of new techno tools, the Internet and Social Networking Sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, blogs, and various other local online forum. Despite the growing hype about ICTs in general and for the purposes of peacebuilding in particular, some authors raise a moral question about the oxymoron application of ICT tools for conflict resolution when the very raw materials of our technological gadgets are sourced or are made through conflict and from conflict prone regions of the world
Ethiopia is one of the least connected countries in the world. Although Internet was introduced in Ethiopia as early as 1997, the level of Internet use density remains low.[i] With recent huge investments – reportedly accounting around 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product – in the country’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructures, the level of Internet use is gradually growing. Provision of public and private sector services increasingly rely on Internet protocol based technologies. Ethiopia also has one of the largest social media user bases in Africa. It is now evident that the use of and reliance on Internet – and allied technologies – is set to grow in the coming years.