Peace Journalism


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Peace Journalism

  1. 1. WK 18 – Peace JournalismDr. Carolina MatosGovernment DepartmentEssex University
  2. 2. Key points• Peace journalism: definitions• Journalists as a peacekeeping force?• The liberal ethos of journalists: objectivity,professionalism• The coverage of the war and “infotainment”• Peace journalism versus war journalism• Asian conflicts and the Iraq war• Conclusions• Seminar activities and questions• Readings for week 19 and group presentation
  3. 3. Key readingsRequired texts:•Hanitzsch, T. (2004) “Journalists as a peacekeeping force?Peace journalism and mass communication theory” inJournalism Studies, 5 (4), 483-495.• Lee, S. T., and Maslog, C., C. (2005, July) “Asian regionalconflicts and the war in Iraq: A comparative framing analysis”,paper presented at the annual International CommunicationAssociatino (ICA), New York, pp 1-26.Additional:• Fawcett, L. (2002) “Why peace journalism isn’t news” inJournalism Studies, 3 (2), 213-223.• Galtung, J. (1996). Peace by Peaceful Means. London: Sage.•Lynch, J., and McGoldrick, A. (2005). Peace Journalism.Gloustershire: Hawthorn Press.• Matos, C. “Partisanship versus professionalism: the role of thejournalist in the democratization process” in Journalism andpolitical democracy.
  4. 4. “Journalists as Peacekeeping Force?” (inHanitzsch, 2004)• As the author notes, developments in war reporting (i.e. Gulf War of1991), played a crucial role in raising critical debate on conflict andwar coverage• Peace journalism here is defined as “a programme or frame ofjournalistic news coverage which contributes to the process ofmaking and keeping peace respectively to the peaceful settlementof conflicts.”• Galtung employed the term since the 1970s, developing twoopposing modes of reporting wars, namely “Peace or ConflictJournalism” and “War or Violence Journalism.”• War or Violence Journalism – crisis journalism – one side wins andthe other loses. Disapproval of covering peace initiatives• “News coverage only begins with the manifestation of violence andconcentrates on its visible consequences…War….advocates the fateof “our side”, it only exposed the untruths and perpetrators ofatrocities on the “other side”, whereas the lies and cover-upattempts of “our side” will be supported.
  5. 5. What is peace journalism?• Peace journalism as a concept entered the field of masscommunications in the 1990s• Peace journalism can be identified as a special mode of sociallyresponsible journalism• Galtung has directed the peace network TRANSCEND, which hasfounded its own university• Correspondents Annabel McGoldrick and Jake Lynch belong to theinternational network “Reporting the World”• “The Peace or Conflict Journalism philosophy is strongly committedto the prevention of violence and war. It focuses on the creativity ofconflict resolution as well as peace-making and peace-keepingefforts…..Peace or Conflict Journalism exposed lies, cover-upattempts and culprits on all sides; it reveals the suffering of allconflict parties. Due to its orientation towards solutions, this modeof crisis journalism dedicates particular attention to peace initiativesand reports on post-war developments.”
  6. 6. Definition of peace journalism (in Lynch andMcGoldrick, 2005)• “….when editors and reporters make choices that createopportunities for society at large to consider and valuenon-violent responses to conflict. Peace journalism usesthe insights of conflict analysis……to update the conceptsof balance, fairness and accuracy in reporting; provides anew route map tracing the connections betweenjournalists, their sources, the stories they cover and theconsequences of their journalism – the ethics ofjournalistic intervention; builds an awareness of non-violence…….”
  7. 7. Criticisms towards the concept of peacejournalism (in Hanitzsch, 2004)• Significant criticism – the idea of demanding this type of journalismraises crucial issues – what is journalism for? Is it not the task ofpolicy to aim to achieve peace?• BBC correspondent David Loyn (2003) in OpenDemocracy.netstressed that peace journalism could compromise the integrity ofjournalists and confuse their role as neutral disseminators:• “Our task is always to seek to find out what is going on……If thereis conflict resolution we report on it…..We do not engage in it.”• Makes reference to the traditional values of journalism to sustain hisargument, pointing out that “good journalism” is about “fairness”,“objectivity” and “balance” in reporting.• However, some war correspondents state that they pick sides. ErichRathfelder from the left-wing daily Tageszeitung, highlighted that hestood by the side of the victims.
  8. 8. Peace Journalism as a public service
  9. 9. “Objectivity” of journalism versus ajournalism of attachment• Liberal media values and the standard journalistic practicesthroughout the West and much of the world have required journalismto be “objective”, “balanced” (looking at all sides), neutral/impartial(not taking sides in a dispute), detached, unemotional and rational (asopposed to sentimental, biased, partisan, overly-emotional, etc).• Galtung (1998, 8) has stated that “peace journalism is a journalism ofattachment.” (attachment to all victims of conflict)• Arguments against the “detached stance” of journalism, stating that itshould not be neutral in the face of injustice:• “Bell (1997: 7-16) argues that “journalism is not a neutral andmechanical undertaking but in some sense a moral enterprise.”Practitioners should not close their hearts to pity, advocating ajournalism that cares as well as knows, that is aware of itsresponsibilities, that will not stand neutrally between good andevil….”
  10. 10. The objectivity debate and its criticisms (inMatos, 2008)• Hallin (2000) underlined that journalists’ commitment to objectivity hasalways been problematic.• The events which followed the Cold War consensus, such as Vietnam,Watergate and civil rights movements, saw the diminishing of “objectivejournalism” in the US and the rise of more interpretative or subjectiveforms of journalism• A case for objectivity:• Regarding Vietnam War, Hallin (2000) stated that the changing politicalenvironment led to modifications in news reporting.• Objectivity permitted certain views to be treated as acceptable, whenbefore they were not. Hallin (2000) concluded that the backing orcritique of policies depends on the degree of consensus that these enjoyamongst the political establishment (Tumber, 1999, 288).• When consensus is strong, the media plays a relatively passive role andtends to reinforce official power….when political elites are divided,they become more active….objectivity and balance reign in the middleregion, in the sphere of legitimate controversy (Hallin, 2000 in Matos,2008)
  11. 11. The objectivity debate and its criticisms (inMatos, 2008)• Thus some of these critics argue that in a reality of increasingeconomic and political pressures on news in increasingly globalmedia companies, the ideal of objectivity and professionalism tojournalism should be maintained (i.e. Lichtenberg, 2000; Hallin,2000; Matos, 2008)• As Hackett and Zhao (1998, 88) state, the objectivity regime persistsprecisely because “it does offer openings, however unequal, todifferent social and cultural groups”.• Critiques blame decline of public life on journalism• “Hallin (1994, 11) has argued that the problems with political life inthe US are political and not journalistic, and that their solution lies inpart with political parties and social movements, although someinitiative from journalism is essential.”• Decrease in interest runs deeper (I.e. decline of modernism, growthof cynicism, relativism, individualism, etc).
  12. 12. Peace journalism: an assessment from theperspective of mass communication theory (inHanitzsch, 2004)• In order to discuss war coverage, one needs to discuss therelationship between the media and reality• The “Ptolemaic” and “Copernican” perspective: The “Ptolemaic”perspective constructs an antagonism between the media and society(“media as mirror, as reflection of society”, Schulz, 1989, 140).• The “Copernican” understands the media as an integral componentof society. Here the mass media is seen as an active element in theprocess by which reality is constructed• A constructivist perspective disapproves of the traditional notion of“objectivity” which assumes that the “objectiveness” of a certainnews account can be measured by its degree of correspondence withreality.• According to Galtung, the practice of traditional war reportingrepresents reality in a distorted way.
  13. 13. Is the media capable of capturing the“objective” reality?• “…it goes without saying that the media by nature cannot provide an“objective” representation of reality that is objective in the sense ofbeing identical with reality.”• Michael Schudson (2003): “News is not a mirror of reality. It is arepresentation of the world, and all representations are selective.”• Objectivity however is not about being unfeeling. As Hanitzsch(2004) notes, journalists have to be objective and impartial.• Objectivity in regards to journalism is now more about journalistssubmitting their reports to objective controls, such as the careful andaccurate representation of facts, reliable and varied sources, and notabout being “dispassionate”.• Thus journalists can have their own views and feelings about the warwithout allowing their passions to influence their professionalactivities.
  14. 14. On the ideal of objectivity (in Matos, 2008)• “We cannot coherently abandon the ideal of objectivityand, whatever they may think, objectivity critics do notabandon it either. To claim that a piece of journalismpiece is not objective is to say that it fails to provide thetruth.. How do we know that American news accounts onthe Gulf War are partial, except by comparison withsome other…possible accounts? We know how todistinguish between better and worse, more or lessaccurate accounts..”• (Lichtenberg, 2000; 241-242 in Matos, 2008).
  15. 15. Peace Journalism and media effects• Brosius (2003) has classified three kinds of “meta-theories”, namely:1) of powerful media effects; 2) weak media effects and 3) selectivemedia effects.• The theory of powerful media effects has gained little support, andwhat is widely accepted is the theory of “selective media effects”.• “Some media have at certain times and under certain circumstances,an effect on some recipients.” (Brosius, 2003, 133)• Nonetheless, the advocates of peace journalism assume that themedia has powerful effects, underestimating the impact ofinterpersonal communication• Criticism is that Galtung has not given enough consideration toaudiences and individual differences, taking them as a mass• Development journalism – authors argue that peace journalismcould suffer the same fate, for the former did not gain a strongfoothold in the process of national development
  16. 16. American journalism and issues of objectivity• When we talk about peace journalism, it is important to notethat it can only evolve in a “culture of peace”. It is too muchto demand of journalists that they “free the world”(Hanitzsch, 2005)• I.e. US policies on the war on terror showed how a culturearound peace journalism would be very difficult• Jay Rosen and Michael Schudson have discussed how theattacks got to the very heart of American journalism and itsvalues of objectivity;• Schudson, among other scholars, pointed out themarginalising of opinions against the war on terror and thesilencing of dissent• The US coverage of the war on terror raised serious concernsover the American’s media claim of being “objective” – “AnAmerican first, a journalist second”.
  17. 17. TV war coverage and some standardpractices• Critics (Thussu, 2003) have argued that the televisioncoverage of war conflicts has been immersed in economicconstraints and inserted in entertainment formats, what hasbeen called “infotainment” (information and entertainment)• The coverage of war on television has become very particularand resembling what many call a “video game” – somecommon features include the predominance of visualelements; the wide use of graphics; the avoidance of showingshocking images and pictures of the deaths of civilians.• As Hanitzsch (2004) correctly notes, the news coverage on thewar in Iraq (2003) has made it clear that contemporary warjournalism needs to be even more detached and self-critical.
  18. 18. “The Gulf War Did not Take Place” – JeanBaudrillardProvocative essay published in Liberation on January the4th, 1991Text interrogates the nature of the Gulf war as a “mediaevent” (Patton, 1991)Emphasis on technology in the reporting of the war –technological simulacrum or dissimulation turning into anintegral part of the operational procedures (a “clean” war)Virtual media events – real events lose their identity whenthey attain the velocity of real time information (“thestructural unreality of image”, 1991, 46-47)Hyperreality – results from the fusion of the virtual andthe real into a 3rdorder of reality.Post-modernism thinking – Attacked from both the leftand the right; extreme anti-realism and cynicism that doesnot attempt to propose any resistance or alternative
  19. 19. “Asian conflicts and the Iraq war” (Lee,Maslog and Shik Kim, 2006)• As the author note, by “taking an advocacy, interpretative approach,the peace journalist concentrates on stories that highlight peaceinitiatives; tone down ethnic and religious differences; preventfurther conflict; focus on the structure of society and promoteconflict resolution, reconstruction and reconciliation (Galtung, 1986,1998).• Galtung (2002) observed that traditional war journalism is modelledafter sports journalism, with a focus on winning in a zero-sum game.• Link between peace journalism with public and developmentjournalism:• “Iggers (1998: 106-7) makes a case for advocacy journalism – thenon-objective, self-conscious journalistic intervention premised inthe ideas of public journalism, development journalism and peacejournalism. The ingredients of war - …… - often conspire to preventobjective reporting”.
  20. 20. “Asian conflicts and the Iraq war” (Lee,Maslog and Shik Kim, 2006)• “Kellner (1992), in a study of ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, arguedthat news media did not report neutrally during the 1991 PersianGulf War. Stories that were broadcast during the build-up to andsubsequent war against Iraq expressed an “us against them”attitude….The study concluded that news coverage of the Gulf Warwas influenced by ideology, specifically national interest.”• Theoretically, peace journalism is supported by framing theory –• According to Entman, to frame is to “select some aspects of aperceived reality and make them more salient in a communicatingtext….”. Through repetition, placement and reinforcement, the textsand images provide a dominant interpretation more readilyperceivable….than other interpretations.”• Galtung (1986, 1998) saw war journalism and peace as twocompeting frames in the coverage of a conflict.• Four broad practice and linguistic orientations - Peace/conflict,truth, people and solutions. War journalism – war/violence,propaganda, elites and victory.
  21. 21. “Asian conflicts and the Iraq war” (Lee,Maslog and Shik Kim, 2006)• Study focused on content analysis of 1.558 stories from eight Englishlanguage dailies• There were 442 stories about the Iraq war, and another 1116 storiesabout local conflicts (i.e. Kashmir; Philippine Mindanao conflict; SriLankan Tamil Tigers and Indonesia’s Maluku and Aceh civil wars.• Coding frame - based on Galtung’s (1986, 1998) 13 indicators ofwar journalism and 13 indicators of peace journalism:• The approach-based criteria included: 1) reactivity; 2) visibility ofeffects of war; 3) elite orientation; 4) differences; 5) focus on hereand now; 6) good and bad dichotomy; 7) party involvement; 8)partisanship; 9) winning orientation and 10) continuity of reports.• The language-based criteria focused on: 1) demonizing; 2)victimizing and emotive.• Based on the scores, the coder classified the stories as either warjournalism, peace or neutral.
  22. 22. “Asian conflicts and the Iraq war” (Lee,Maslog and Shik Kim, 2006)• Results: “…the coverage of local conflicts contains a higher numberof stories framed as war journalism and fewer stories framed aspeace journalism, while the coverage of the Iraq war contains morepeace journalism frames and fewer war journalism frames”.• “Of the 1116 stories about local conflicts, more than half or 603stories (54%) were framed as war journalism compared to 420(37.6%) framed as peace journalism and 93 that were neutral. Of the442 stories about the Iraq war, 195 (44.1%) were framed as warjournalism, 224 (50.7%) were framed as peace journalism and 23(5.2%) were neutral.• In summary, the war journalism framing was more dominant in thecoverage of local conflicts while the peace journalism framing wasmore dominant in the coverage of the Iraq war.• For the Iraq War, the strongest war journalism framing was seen inthe Daily Mirror (69% of stories), while the Philippine Star showedthe strongest peace journalism (78.7%)
  23. 23. Peace versus War JournalismWar journalism Peace JournalismReactive (waits for war to break) Proactive (anticipates, starts reporting)Reports on visible effects Reports also on invisible (trauma)Elite-oriented (leaders as sources) People-orientedFocuses on differences Reports on areas of agreementFocuses on the here and now Reports on causes and consequencesVictims versus villains; bad x good Avoids the “good guy” discourseTwo-party oriented Multi-party orientedPartisan (biased for one-side) Non-partisan (neutral)Zero-sum game (one goal) Win-win orientation (many goals)Stops reporting with the peace treaty Stays on and reports aftermathUses victimizing language Avoids victimizing languageDemonizing and emotive words Avoids demonizing and emotive words
  24. 24. Peace Journalism (in Lynch and McGoldrick,2005)• McGoldrick and Lynch remain close to the work of Galtung. Theyaimed to test the model in the book in the context of the coverage ofthe US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq• Journalists are placed as “participant-observers”:• McGoldrick (2000: 19-20) described peace journalism as a “newform of journalism” which looks at how journalists could be part ofthe solution rather than part of the problem”.• The British public were initially in favour of the war, but bySeptember 2003 according to the respondents of the ICM poll, thewar had been unjustified (53%)• Authors argue that the way that the media covered the conflictleading up to the war contributed for the views in favour of going towar. The “official frames” that were presented, such as the necessityfor regime change and the presence of weapons of mass destructionin Iraq, went unchallenged, leaving little room for alternative viewsand for more emphasis for instance on other aspects (i.e. the “oiltheory”)
  25. 25. Peace Journalism (in Lynch and McGoldrick,2005)• Even the New York Times (already with the experience of theVietnam war, etc), made later an apology for accepting the dominantframes too quickly:• “Editors at several levels who should have been challengingreporters and pressing for more scepticism were perhaps too intenton rushing scoops into the paper. Accounts of Iraq defectors werenot always weighed against their strong desire to have SaddamHussein ousted…”• Discussions of peace journalism should reach the public sphere:• As the authors note, “peace journalism entails picking up onsuggestions for non-violent responses from whatever quarter, andremitting them into the public sphere.”• Peace researcher John Paul Lederach made recommendations inregards to Iraq: “move towards re-establishing embassies….;encourage trade and investments with Iraq first inside the sanctionsframework; establish a contact group with other countries who wantto prevent war…; develop a new security regime.”
  26. 26. Peace Journalism Manual (in Lynch andMcGoldrick, 2005)• A 17 point plan for practical Peace Journalism:• 1. Avoid portraying the conflict as between two groups only,and instead try to look at the smaller groups involved,pursuing many goals…;• 2. Avoid accepting stark distinctions between “self” and“others”. This can lead one to see the other as a “threat”beyond civilised behaviour;• 3. Avoid treating the conflict as if it is only happening in thatplace….Try to trace the links and consequences for people inother places;• 4. Avoid assessing the merits of a violent action….Instead, tryto find ways of reporting on the invisible effects.• 5. Avoid letting parties define themselves by simply quotingtheir leaders’ restatements….
  27. 27. Peace Journalism Manual (in Lynch andMcGoldrick, 2005)• 6. Avoid concentrating on what divides the partiers, on thedifferences between what they say…• 7. Avoid only reporting the violent acts and describing “the horror”.• 8. Avoid blaming someone for “starting it.” Instead try looking athow shared problems and issues are leading to consequences…• 9. Avoid focusing on the suffering, fears and grievances of only oneparty.• 10. Avoid “victimising” language like “devastated”, “defenceless”,“pathetic”, “tragedy”….This is disempowering and limits the optionsfor change.• 11. Avoid the imprecise use of emotive words to describe what hashappened o people….• 12. Avoid “demonising” adjectives like “cruel”, etc. Can be used tojustify an escalation of violence.• 13. Avoid labels like “terrorist” (us x them); 14. Avoid focus onhuman rights abuses and try to name all wrongdoing
  28. 28. Conclusions• Peace journalism as a concept is controversial and, like developmentjournalism, has not achieved a wide mainstream acceptance beyondthat of a particular movement for journalistic (and social) change• Peace Journalism is a set of procedures that attempt to question thecurrent crisis-driven, conflict, one-sided, win-lose portrayal of warsby the media• Peace journalism is useful also in its attempts to urge more criticalthinking of journalism activity and reporting of war and conflictthroughout the world, at a moment in time when economic andpolitical pressures are growing and contributing to the widerdistortion and manipulation of news• Peace journalism does not have to be seen in opposition to “objectivejournalism”• Key question: would the adoption of Peace Journalism by themainstream media have contributed to impede conflicts in the world(i.e. Vietnam, war in Iraq)?
  29. 29. Seminar activities and questionsThree activities:Part I:•1. Discuss the definitions of peace journalism and the critiques madeto the concept. What does Hanitzsch propose as future research?Part II:2. The class is divided into two groups: one pro-War Journalism andthe other pro-Peace Journalism. Each group needs to collectarguments to defend the merits of one over the other.Part III:3. Would the world media’s endorsement of peace journalism haveprevented the war in Iraq? What about other wars (i..e Vietnam)?Think about this and see if your views change after watching The MostDangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.
  30. 30. Readings for week 19Required texts:• Appadurai, A. (2010) “Disjuncture and difference in the globalcultural economy” in D. Thussu, (Ed), International Communication: AReader, pp 383-392. London: Routledge.• Schleisinger, P. (1994) “Europe’s contradictory communicativespace” in Daedalus, 123 (2), 28-55.• Tunstall, J. (2010) “Anglo-American, global, and Euro-Americanmedia versus media nationalism” in D. Thussu, (Ed), InternationalCommunication: A Reader, pp 239-244. London: Routledge.Additional texts:•Giddens, A. (2003). Runaway World: How Globalisation is ShapingOur Lives. New York: Routledge.•McChesney, R. (2010) “The media system goes global” in D. Thussu,(Ed), International Communication: A Reader, pp 188-220. London:Routledge.