Kony or Baloney?

Kony 2012 is a perfect example of a phenomenon generated by the public sphere backed by the undeniable power of the media. Kony 2012, for those of you who were busy for the 6 days that the globe stopped for Kony, is a half-hour documentary, backed by Invisible Children, which used the power of social media to bring light to the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army who were responsible for the enslavement of more than 30,000 chidren.

The moral panic of the experiences and livelihood these children were exposed to generated the power and awareness that resulted in 100 million views within the first 6 days of the documentary’s release. As well as the following unbelievable statistics;

Kony 2012 in facts and figures


The astounding success of Kony 2012 was also heavily influenced by the likes of celebrities including popular icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Gosling and Justin Bieber, as well as influential political leaders such as Barrack Obama.

But was Kony 2012 more or less a result of moral panics?

Kony and the LRA have been operating for close to 30 years, and Col. Felix Kulayige, a Ugandan military spokesperson believes that ‘it’s the right message but it’s 15 years too late‘. The media attention surrounding Kony may in fact hamper attempts to catch the warlord, as military operations had been well underway several months prior to the launch of the Kony 2012 campaign, and may see Kony flee once again.

Another criticism surrounding the Kony 2012 campaign is that only a 37% of funds raised are directed towards central-African related programs. Jedidiah Jenkins, Invisible Children’s Director of Ideology states that ‘the truth about Invisible Children is that we are not an aid organisation… but an advocacy and awareness organisation’. Therefore, the funds that society donated, to what they thought would help these helpless children in Uganda, in fact, were mostly contributing to financing their marketing campaigns.

The concepts discussed including; moral panics, the mediated public sphere, the concept of controversial texts through denotations and connotations and the issue of children and the media have all redirected my views regarding the Kony 2012 campaign and the Invisible Children organisation. The campaign itself created awareness for a very important global issue, but has deeper meaning than what was surfaced to the media.


6 thoughts on “Kony or Baloney?

  1. Really liked this post! you picked such an interesting example of presenting how the media can influence the general public-since this one definitely did influence everyone and cause discussion world wide! Its sad to see however that although the Kony campaign did provide greater awareness it was not successful raising funds to address the issue.

  2. Interesting post! I think kony was a lot like a band wagon, something the world latched onto but soon it was forgotten and nothing was really done. I wish kony provided a better awareness for people and actually made a difference. Love the title too!

  3. Great choice of case study to relate to all our concepts. I remember the short craze of the Kony 2012 campaign, it felt like it was the only topic in the public sphere! It makes you realise how important it is to research into something before donating or getting involved as you may just be sadly donating to someone else’s pocket. Great final blog and I love the name of the post too!

  4. This was defiantly Baloney! I was one of the sad people conned into this scam, I even bought an arm band to support the cause! In the end i heard that all the proceeds went to the man who created the Kony campaign – not to the cause. He controlled this public sphere and made the audience believe he was doing all good when he wasn’t!

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