Presentation by Center for Community Journalism and Development Executive Director Red Batario at the Institute for Autonomy & Governance Community Journalism for Peace workshop, Cotabato City, 18 December 2011
Community Journalism for Peace Red Batario Center for Community Journalism and Development
You and the community:A current reality dialogue• What is my role as a journalist in my community?• How am I perceived as a journalist in my community?• What conflict issues have I reported over the last two years?• What peace issues have I reported over the last two years?
Covering Conflict,Reporting PeaceLooking at the social consequencesof news reporting
Conflict is a social process... so is the quest for peace...
Conventional role of journalists inconflict• Helping parties • Helping to evaluate by communicate where assessing possible there is no direct solutions communication • Acting as enforcers by• Exploring conflict by monitoring agreements carrying messages between parties • Legitimizing by encouraging parties and• Educating parties giving them support• Convening parties
Potential role of journalists inpreventing and managing conflict• Channelling • Providing an emotional communication between outlet parties • Encouraging a balance of• Educating power• Confidence-building • Face saving and consensus building• Analyzing conflict • Solution-building• Identifying the interests underlying the issues
Pre-Conflict During Conflict Post-ConflictIssues Indirect communication Heightened tension, Repatriation of between adversaries of including fighting refugees issuing threats Displacement of Implementation of Increased HR violations population peace settlement Promotion of stereotypes as the “other” including Perceptions of others Potential presence of us-as-good and them-as- as non-human, peace-keeping forces evil psychopaths, etc. to or monitors justify violence Demands for justice Channels of (atrocities, etc) communication broken down Reconstruction
Pre-Conflict During Conflict Post-ConflictObjective Help prevent outbreak of Help mitigate the Render participations of pro- violence by providing an effects of conflict on of individuals inactive information vehicle for the population by society in a positive groups in disputemedia ensuring they have lightprogram Develop programming access to credible andming which frames the crisis in impartial Continue to give a manner which humanitarian people, especially encourages a peaceful information those directly affected resolution of the conflict by the conflict, a Produce larger voice Provide accountability for programming which human rights abuses alerts the population Cover issues of Promote confidence to the role of the repatriation especially building between parties international relief where returnees are and identify common community part of ethnic ground minority and build a Provide vehicle for culture of racial discussion on ways to sensitivity and resolve conflict acceptance Focus on health and security issues
Redefine perceptions for peacebuilding by asking these questions• What is the conflict about? Which are the groups involved in the conflict and how do they define themselves? What are their goals?• What are the major issues involved in the conflict, such as economic inequality or political discrimination?• What are the needs of the parties and what are their fears? Are these realistic?
• What potential outcomes are there, other than one side imposing itself on the other?• What is the extent of the conflict’s effects, both within and outside the conflict areas?• What is the history of the conflict? What are the deeper roots, especially cultural? What have been attempts to resolve it?• Who is initiating reconciliation efforts?• What is the nature of the relationship between the adversaries?
Conflict can be perceived by localpopulations as...• Adversarial – viewing conflict as “us vs. them,” either win or lose, all or nothing• Reflective – looking inward, reflecting on the hurt and pain the conflict has caused and considering the best ways to achieve real goals• Integrative – looking both as one’s own side and the need to understand the views of the opponents
Typical characteristics of warreporting• Reactive rather than pro-active• Focuses only on the visible and immediate effect of violence• Dehumanizes “the enemy” through accounts of atrocities
• Creates an “us” and “them” scenario, helping “our” half-truths while denouncing “their” propaganda• Equates peace with victory and ceasefire• Conceals or ignores peace initiatives• Follows the agendas of the military, other armed force, and/or political elites
Case Study 1Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has sent in military support to the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to back Joseph Kabila’s struggling FARDC forces against the rebel group National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). “Their role is real,” said a CNDP spokesperson.Commenting on the atrocities committed last week the spokesperson said: “They raped women, looted and maimed and mutilated families.”He also claimed that these brutal atrocities in Goma town were designed by the DR Congo government troops in a bid to put blame on the advancing rebel army (CNDP).“Bad things happened in Goma before we ceased fire. When just four kilometers away and before government soldiers withdrew, they killed people who don’t speak Kinyarwanda, and this was planned to be blamed on us to tarnish our image once we took over,” the spokesperson said.
Take another lookRebels in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) say Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has sent in military support to the Eastern DRC to back Joseph Kabila’s struggling FARDC forces.A Zimbabwe government spokesperson denies the claim.The CNDP spokesperson also says the atrocities in Goma town were designed by the DR Congo government troops in a bid to put blame on the advancing rebel army (CNDP).The United Nations says it is looking into the claim.The current outbreak of violence began one week ago and it has left tens of thousands of people homeless.
Spot the differenceTraditional reporting Conflict sensitive reporting• The story reports a claim by • The report gives some unnamed CNDP sources without explanation for the violence proof• The story is full of blame and • The report seeks out other lacks proof – there is no points of view evidence of Zimbabwe support• The story is one-sided and takes sides. It tells the story from • The report brings a human only one point of view and there element to the story is no effort to seek comment from either Zimbabwe or Kinshasa• The report does not seek out other interests of points of view
What we should ask ourselves• Is this necessary news? • Are there enough What is the public different voices in the interest in this report? Is report? Did we ask it news because only enough different opinions because it is about the from ordinary people and other side? experts?• Even if the facts are • Are there words and correct, will this report comments in the report encourage prejudice? Can which offend people or it be reported differently? cause prejudice? Are these comments balanced by other comments?
Media and citizens as fair-minded participants in the determining the news agenda The journalist as member of the community Helping flesh out ideas that could solve local problems
Examining power imbalances Who has the • Elite loudest voice? • Positions of wealth Who is heard • Vulnerable groups least? • Women and children Which story gets • Those with power? told more often?
Power imbalances often lead tostructural violence• Not only physical violence (war, murder, rape)• Manifests itself in unequal chances in society• Some people are marginalized because they are poor, or they belong to minority groups• Exploitation, oppression, and deprivation are symptoms of unequal power structures in society
Journalists can begin to...• Explore the different community layers• Examine what’s wrong but report also what’s working• Find ways by which people can resolve local problems• Expand different voices
We can also• Spend time to understand the life of the community• Listen more closely to what people are saying• Suspend our cynicism• Brace for biases and opinions
How do we go about it?• Divide into four groups (print • After finishing writing, the media, broadcast media, group member should shake family, school) hands and offer the sign of peace to the members of the• Form four parallel lines at other groups. least 10 feet away from the Manila paper • Round 2: Each member of the group, one after the other, will• Round 1: Each member of the run to the Manila paper and group, one after the other, will write down a word or phrase run to the Manila paper and corresponding to something write down a word or phrase that will promote peace. corresponding to something that will hinder peace.