Journalism In Post Conflict Society

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Journalism in Post Conflict Society, a presentation by Ms. Weade Kobbah-Wureh, Assistant Professor in Mass Communication, University of Liberia

Journalism in Post Conflict Society, a presentation by Ms. Weade Kobbah-Wureh, Assistant Professor in Mass Communication, University of Liberia

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  • 1. JOURNALISM IN POST CONFLICT SOCIETY
    WEADE KOBBAH-WUREH
    DEPT OF MASS COMMUNICATION,
    UNIVERSITY OF LIBERIA
    JOCID WEEK , JANUARY 13-13,2010
    FINLAND
  • 2. PRESENTION OUTLINE
    This presentation is divided into four main parts.
    Part one: Conflict and the nature of conflict
    Part two: Framing conflict
    Part three: Challenges faced by media
    practitioners in reporting conflict
    Part four: Responsibilities and ethics
    reporting post conflict societies
  • 3. INTRODUCTION
    The issue about reporting conflicts and the role of journalists is critical to conflict maintenance, resolution and peace building.
    Journalistic responsibilities and ethics are critical issues.
    The journalist’s role in reporting conflicts and his sense of patriotism are always questioned.
  • 4. WHAT IS CONFLICT?
    Conflict is a situation where two or more individuals or groups disagree about rights, privileges and access to opportunities which they believe they cannot share.
    Conflict is normal when there is disagreement about how things should be changed. If there is agreement of how these changes should occur it can be a peaceful process. When this disagreement / conflict is not managed properly, it has the potential to become violent.
    In violent conflict, people’s safety and survival are threatened. They resolve to violence to protect themselves and their interests. Conflict, here, means violent conflict affecting societies.
  • 5. CAUSES OF CONFLICTS
    Most conflicts involved several factors which make them complex
    These are:
    Inequitable access to scarce resources like food, housing, jobs, land.
    Poor communication between dissatisfied interests leading to mistrust.
  • 6. Some Causes of Conflict in African states I
    Conflicts over
    resources and property caused by historical claims, customary laws and statures
    ambiguous land tenure systems
    poverty and food insecurity
    mismanagement, misuse and illegal exploitation of natural resources
  • 7. Causes of Conflict in African States II
    Conflicts over
    high unemployment
    lack of basic infrastructure and social services
    high illiteracy
    poor leadership and misuse and abuse of power
    greed, corruption and weak justice systems
    socio-economic inequality and ethnicity
  • 8. Constructing Conflict
    The mass media have a powerful influence on how people see and understand the world. Newspapers, radio, television and internet are often the only ways people get to know of events.
    A reporter's story on a conflict can be the only information people have access to. How a journalist reports about a conflict determines how the people respond to it.
    It can inflame the conflict or reduce it .
  • 9. Constructing Conflict
    Journalists need to understand the political, social, historical and economic situations in a conflict to report accurately and clearly.
    In a conflict, It is important to report all aspects of problem. This provides greater understanding and can encourage possible dialogue between conflicting parties.
    Good journalism can help structure conflicts for the sides involved.
  • 10. Post conflict societies
    Post conflict societies are characterized by:
    Dislocation and displacement of populations.
    Widespread destruction of the social and physical infrastructure.
    Apparent irreconcilable social and economic divisions.
    Collapse of the State’s institutions (parliament/legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary, leading to inability to govern and need for international intervention).
  • 11. Conflicts players
    Many violent conflicts involve ethnic/interest groups or nations.
    Sometimes conflicts involve external actors who influence these conflicts through state interests or humanitarian service delivery.
    People get their information about what is going on from the media.
    The media plays a critical role in how these conflicts develop and change by how they report.
  • 12. HOW THE MEDIA REPORTS CONFLICTS
    The media often reports conflict as a competition between warring factions, politicians or rebels.
    When the media take this kind of approach, they themselves can become part of the conflict.
    Most times journalists go for the sensational, the violent , the bizarre, the unusual.
    When a society is involved in a violent conflict, journalists face greater challenges.
    Opposing sides attempt to control the media.
    Information can be unreliable, censored or tailor- made for the press.
  • 13. Partisan Journalism
    Journalists report conflicts sometimes from biased perspectives based on:
    Tribal/cultural/religious affiliation and tradition
    Gender discrimination
    Most local journalists are themselves affected by the conflict
    Social structures
    Lack of access to information
    Personal safety
    Journalists from outside work under deadline pressures and seldom have time to report on what is not obvious.
  • 14. Access to information
    Official Information may not be readily accessible or there might be a conscious effort to suppress/delay information.
    Officials may be afraid and protective of their own positions.
    Reporters might have to deal with difficult bureaucracy which prevents quick media responses.
    Security interests could be paramount or cited as reasons to conceal information(dilemma: to report or not to report)
    JOURNALISTS SHOULD FIND WAYS TO OBTAIN THE NEEDED INFORMATION FROM RELIABLE ALTERNATIVE SOURCES AND BALANCE THEIR FACTS.
  • 15. Non reporting roles of journalists in post conflict societies
    The news media finds itself in a very difficult situation in post conflict societies.
    Journalists are expected to perform a number of functions unrelated to their professional roles.
    These include:
    1. Feeding Information:
    The news media is often the most important way parties in a conflict know what is happening in opposing camps. conflict.
    2. Education:
    Conflicting parties are interested in plans and programs of the other side which they learn of from news stories. (cont.)
  • 16. Non reporting roles of journalists in post conflict societies
    3. Confidence-building/ Correcting misperceptions:
    There is normally a lack of trust among conflicting parties. News reports which reduce tension help to build confidence.
    4. Reporting information on programs for disarmament , reconstruction, resettlement and re-integration encourages return to normalcy.
    5. Report what each side wants and the reasons for their demands.
    This helps people to understand expectations of parties to the conflict, the mediators and civil society.
    6. Report information on their culture, history etc. to help development partners and local partners develop democratic vision, strategy for their country specific situation to democracy.
    (Who pays the drummer calls the tune)
  • 17. What society expects of the media in post conflict societies
    The media is seen as a tool for:
    changing attitudes, behavior and beliefs about issues in a conflict.
    promoting reconciliation and reducing tension in war-torn countries.
    promoting propaganda for one side or the other in a conflict.
    Avoid reports which stereotype parties to a conflict , label them and promote hatred among the population (i.e. “warlords”, “ex-combatants”, “victims” etc.).
  • 18. Power of the media in post conflict societies
    Media can help restore confidence and build peace.
    Media can fuel conflicts.
    Media can be victims of conflicts (arson, etc.).
    Media can be in conflict with itself over ethical responsibilities, patriotism and nationalism.
    Direct interventions of international community to the actual needs of the affected population.
  • 19. External interventions
    Most post conflict societies experience a breakdown in political and social structures.
    This gives rise to interventions of the international communities in the form of peace keepers, humanitarian assistance ,etc. which are news worthy.
    They help in restoring law and order, resettlement , reconstruction of structures and democratic institutions.
    In addition to rendering assistance, other unwholesome social activities are introduced(SEA, SGBV, teenage pregnancies, corruption, etc).
  • 20. ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY OF JOURNALISTS IN POST CONFLICT SOCIETIES
    Journalist in post conflict societies should remain conscious of their responsibilities to report with
    A. Accuracy
    B. Objectivity
    C. Balance
    D. Reliability
    E. Fairness
    Journalist should report on the interest of the larger population in post conflict societies and keep personal opinions out of news stories.
  • 21. New concepts in reporting in post conflict societies
    Peace Journalism
    Human rights reporting
    Gender
    Transitional justice
    Millennium development goals
    Poverty reduction strategy
    JOURNALISTS IN POST CONFLICT SOCIETIES FIND THEMSELVES ENTANGLED IN THIS WEB!
  • 22. “Professional journalists do not set out to
    reduce conflict. They seek to present accurate and impartial news.
    But it is often through good reporting that conflict is reduced”.
    Ross Howard
    Conflict sensitive Journalism
  • 23. “Encouraging the media to produce, disseminate and voice news and information enables and strengthens civil society and is greatly needed in the healing process.
    It must be done responsibly, accurately, and with a clear understanding of the role that journalists play not only in conflict, but in conflict resolution and peace building”
    Michelle Betz, consultant International media support
  • 24. THANK YOU!