"[R]eporting on events is not just a passive process. In constructing a narrative for the reader, the journalist plays an active role in defining the event in question and underlining what is at stake. In so doing, the journalist both reports as well as joins the effort to forge a way forward." - Mahmood Mamdani
The ten chapters in this book consider the problems and the potential of the role of journalism and media within the complex field of conflict and peace. Jointly, they provide examples of how different conflict and post-conflict may be and that such phases are processes, but not necessarily linear. The aim of the book is "to provide both empirical and theoretical input to the discussions of the role of journalism and media in conflict and post-conflict situations and in the often rather muddy waters between them. Together, the contributions to this book from different parts of the world emphasize that discussions about post-conflict situations will gain from including the media. At the same time, the contributions problematize the concept of post-conflict and powerfully illustrate that the phase between war/conflict and peace is neither unidirectional nor linear, as the use of the concept sometimes seems to imply." The book is published by Nordicom in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair on Freedom of Expression, Media Development and Global Policy at the University of Gothenburg.
The chapters include:
- Introduction, by Kristin Skare Orgeret
- Chapter 1: Afghanistan. Journalism in Pseudo-Post-Conflict, Conflict and Post-Conflict. A Clash of Definitions?, by Elisabeth Eide
- Chapter 2: Justified Mission? Press Coverage of Uganda's Military Intervention in the South Sudan Conflict, by Charlotte Ntulume
- Chapter 3: Who's to Blame for the Chaos in Syria? The Coverage of Syria in Aftenposten, with the War in Libya as Doxa, by Rune Ottosen & Sjur Øvrebø
- Chapter 4: Framing Peace Building. Discourses of United Nations Radio in Burundi, by William Tayeebwa
- Chapter 5: Women Making News. Conflict and Post-Conflict in the Field, by Kristin Skare Orgeret
- Chapter 6: Experiences of Female Journalists in Post-Conflict Nepal, by Samiksha Koirala
- Chapter 7: Intercultural Indigenous Communication of the Indigenous Communities of Cauca [Colombia] in the Context of the Armed Conflict, by Henry Caballero Fula
- Chapter 8: Global and Local Journalism and the Norwegian Collective Imagination of "Post-Conflict" Colombia, by Roy Krøvel
- Chapter 9: Improving Post-Conflict Journalism through Three Dances of Trauma Studies, by Elsebeth Frey
- Chapter 10: Moving Forward, Holding On. The Role of Photojournalistic Images in the Aftermath of Crisis, by Anne Hege Simonsen
Kristin Skare Orgeret's introduction discusses some of the conceptual basis of the discussion in the book. She notes: "In order to ensure that the broader society feels ownership of the processes leading to sustainable peace, and that external actors get as realistic as possible an impression of the situation, it is important that a multitude of local voices and experiences is included in the stories about conflict and post-conflict. Other important tasks facing countries in crisis or recovering from recent hostilities are restoring effective governance and building public trust in government. The history and political culture of the state need to be taken into account. As conditions in post-conflict countries vary widely, rebuilding trust will require different approaches, but accessible communications and getting one's voice and perspectives heard are seen as fundamental prerequisites of post-conflict reconstruction....The media have a significant position in addressing issues of identity in post-conflict society, as well as communicating the story to the rest of the world."
She cites the Institute on War and Peace Reporting, which has a set of 6 duties for journalists covering conflict and peace: understand the conflict; report fairly; report the background and the causes of the conflict; present the human side; report on peace efforts; and recognise journalists' influence. On the one hand, free independent and pluralistic media provide a platform for debate and exchange of knowledge and opinions. On the other hand, the media can also be misused for propaganda purposes, to spread rumours and incite hatred, as evidenced by the experiences of Rwanda and the Radio Mille Collines, which actively fomented ethnic hatred, driving the Hutu people to kill at least 500,000 Tutsis in 1994. Simultaneously, "media have the potential to advance or to minimise the impact of harmful symbols in adjusting social relationships. This tendency creates an inherent conflict in the media's ability to help achieve (or to hinder) peaceful goals. Thus the media's representations of identity, of history, of the justification of transitional measures - indeed, the narratives of the society itself, become critical in shaping the extent to which stability, reconciliation, new nation building, and community can be sustained. The media can be a forum where identity issues play out, and they can also provide the space for encouraging acceptance of certain narratives that are part of transitional (post-conflict) efforts."
New Media Development Publications January - June 2016, sent from CAMECO to The Communication Initiative on August 19 2016.