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JRN 490 Peace Journalism Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) By Metin Ersoy Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) Peace Journalism is based on the proposition that the choices journalists make while covering conflicts tend inescapably either to expand or contract the space available for society at large to imagine and work towards peaceful outcomes to conflicts. Peace Journalism can help society at large think and speak about non-violence and creativity when dealing with conflicts. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) How conflict influences the media? Media is a part of society. Journalist is also human being, thus, conflict influences them in a way that, physical, psychological, emotional and mental. How media can influence conflict? Positive and negative way. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) FROM OLD TO NEW ROLE •Watchdog •Enabler •Commentator •Communicator •Independent of issues covered •Independent yet interdependent •Spectator/observer •“in the boat” Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) STYLE/STORIES •Debate •Dialogue •Difference •Common ground and difference •Polemic •Discussion Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) APPROACH TO JOURNALISM •Seeks simplicity •Explores complexity •Reactive to violent events •Strategy to understand/uncover the conflict •Event-based reporting •Process-based reporting •“I am objective” •“I am fair” •Balance = cover both sides equally (quantity) •Balance = represent both sides stories and perceptions (quality) Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) APPROACH TO AUDIENCES •Bodily damage/gore increases circulation •Public participation in problem solving builds audiences/readership •Newsroom sets agenda •Public has role in setting a agenda •Leaders/experts know best •Ordinary people need to be consulted •Right to know •Right to participate in democratic processes •“This is the way journalism is done” •Exploratory and flexible; rooted in values Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) How different is to cover a war being a foreigner or being a local (same for NGOs, governments, etc)? Objectivity Balance Accuracy Quality Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) The classical journalistic idea that ‘peace is no news’. Why violence and conflict are news, and peace is not? “If it bleeds, it leads” “Healthy, transparent, balanced” Current journalism or mainstream news values are conflict oriented and it has become a paradox within UNESCO universal journalism principles. The second principle says that, “journalist is opposite to war”, but in the conventional journalism war is the good news, because newspaper will increase the circulation. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) Peace journalism seems directly opposite to conventional journalism, however we should not forget that peace journalism is not an invention. Conventional journalism goes far from society problems, and becomes the power of government. Wolfsfeld (2004) argues that, “…scholars simply find conflict more exciting than peace (p. 9).” The nature of human being has included reflex to extraordinary things, the basic idea behind this reaction is protection. This is why, human being interesting in conflict news rather than peace news. Media, however, uses this human interest in a negative way. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) The traditional claim by media is “public demand that kind of news which are including violence and conflict”, even thought there is that kind of demand from public, Kempf’s (2005) studies show how escalate oriented reporting affect the conflict between the conflicting sides. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) Is it possible to be fair and independent covering your ‘own’ conflict? Yes it is. But how? Peace Journalism assumption can help us to be fair and independent covering our ‘own’ conflict. Empathy Stephen W. Littlejohn and Kathy Domenici (2001, pp. 80-81) in their book “Engaging Communication in Conflict: Systemic Practice” suggest six reframe statement which I think they are helpful for media in conflict. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) We can reframe from negative to positive: Cypriot media should reframe of their news language from negative to positive. They should stop negative presenting of the “other side”. We can reframe from past to future: Cypriot media should stop blaming each other about what happened in the past and who was the “guilty”. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) We can reframe from hostile to neutral or positive: Cypriot media should stop seeing each other as “enemy” or “hostile”. They should stop antagonistic discourse in their news article. We can reframe from individual interests to community interests: Cypriot media should reframe the issues in a way mutual understanding and both community interest. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) We can reframe from compliant to vision: Cypriot media should stop being compliant because of the past events. They should look at the future, and create a positive vision. We can reframe from criticism to request: Cypriot media should spend time to criticize each other. They should spend more time to talk on what kind of requests they have. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) Shall media coverage and journalists inform or promote peace? The normative premise (Shinar, 2004, p. 2) of peace journalism is that if media play a negative role in terms of increasing the tensions between and among the sides of the conflict, they can also play a positive role by promoting peace. Lesson 6: Media in Conflict (Peace Journalism in the Philippines) The question is, should the media promote peace? If yes, how can we make them do that? Shinar argues that, “the media should be involved in the promotion of peace, regardless of: a) Conservative objections to an alleged loss of objectivity linked with the promotion of peace; b) Theoretical and practical questions about what version of peace should be promoted; and c) Economic and political institutional constraints built into the media structure” (p. 2).