Peace Journalism

It is no secret that I am a “peace-nik” or if you prefer an antiwar activist….I have spent the last 50 years trying to point out the obscenity of war to an unfeeling population.

The media is not what one could call antiwar….if anything they seem to promote war and conflict….

From time to time I am sent papers by grad students looking to further their education in international relations…this paper is on the need for peace journalism…..

Peace Journalism: An Evolving Concept

Peace journalism, as the name suggests, is a form of journalism committed to exploring root causes of conflict in order to “create opportunities for society at large to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict” (Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005: 6). Its history can be tracked back to 1965, when Johan Galtung and Mari Ruge analysed what makes foreign news newsworthy (Galtung and Ruge, 1965). Jake Lynch and Johan Galtung (Lynch and Galtung, 2010) further developed the notion of peace journalism and argued that the media (war reporting, in particular) predominantly exhibit biases towards violence and rest on the conceptual belief that ‘conflict’ equals ‘war’. Within the field of peace journalism (Lynch and Galtung, 2010; Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005), this view was considered problematic because it prevents conflict to be considered as an opportunity for the search of a new harmony between the parties involved, via a process that does not have to necessarily develop into a war. In fact, as Johan Galtung’s theory of nonviolence and conflict resolution (Galtung, 1969) suggests, a conflict is a clash of incompatible interests amongst the parties that can be transcended in order to reach a further and deeper agreement.

This is something I would like to see one of the major news outlets attempt…..side with the innocent….side with peace…..but as long as the M-IC owns the media we will always have only one view….the Hawkish one.

4 thoughts on “Peace Journalism

  1. The News Media does generally ‘pick a side’ when it comes to reporting conflict. But the BBC makes some excellent ‘neutral’ documentaries, shown on the 24 Hour News Channel.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. One of the dilemmas in doing peace journalism from the trenches so-to-speak, has been the ever increasing risk to media reporters in trying to report from “Side B”… the side usually so hell-bent on their ideology that they have no tolerance for a free press and/or reporters are just an extension of their own sufferings that have led to the conflict. Take Vietnam as a perfect example. During that war the North had no love at all for journalists of any kind but their own biased ones to control internal propaganda efforts. In fact, Western journalists were often killed while trying to pursue their front line stories in-depth (which “front line” itself was often ill-defined). It’s taken 20, 30, 40, 50 years for history to catch up to telling even that conflict from the “other side”.. as the participants age and they tell their war stories (and “war stories”).

    In theory… I welcome a “both sides” reporting of events…. but as I said.. it’s the nature of ideological conflicts for one side not to allow the media access. Another issue, you have suggested that peace journalism will present all sides of a given conflict thus providing the free press public with a complete picture of the conflict in order to push for a win-win resolution rather than the typical reporting suggesting to the public that it must be a win-lose prospect. Seems to me you’d want the public engaged in that mental process BEFORE entering the conflict in the first place. Take Syria… Obama sent in the troops for humanitarian reasons, but more about the war on terror in fighting ISIS, and keeping an offset presence in that theater of operations to Russia and Iran also being a player in the region. When did we ever hear about the other side of this conflict before we entered the region or even since.. Assad and his loyalists?

    I went to Wikipedia on “peace journalism” for some detail.. and while I tend to have an interest in humanism and associated behaviors, I found most of all that a lot of psycho-babble that’s great for the intelligentsia in this field to compare theoretical notes.. but it seems to presume an awful lot on the viewing public that on any given day or news cycle, is so much emotional and opinionated variety.. as well as a public that could care less about opinions and are null to emotions. The average viewing audience is a hugely broad-based spectrum of diversity.
    But I did find helpful the comparison chart at the very end of that Wiki entry.

    BTW, chuq, I am no peace-nik.. and I am certainly no hawk… but you’ve earned the right to be anti-war.. don’t lose that. We definitely need a social counter-balance before we go off and send troops into harms way.

    1. Not to worry I have kept it all these years and will continue to do so….The problem is the military controls access so any “side B” is very very limited…..chuq

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