Societies in conflict are pervaded by widely differing discourses created and advanced by diverse groups of societal actors representing their respective interests. These discourses overlap, compete and spread, both horizontally and vertically, forging fragmented landscapes within which the media construct and journalistically shape conflict narratives. The news, articles, information and models of interpretation they produce colour the perceptions of listeners, viewers, readers and internet audiences. These perceptions in turn influence the course of conflicts, escalating or, in an ideal scenario, de-escalating them and steering them towards peacebuilding. That this is so creates challenges.
To meet these, conflict-sensitive journalism, which is one component in the communication for peace (C4P) toolbox, is seen as a promising instrument of conflict transformation. It aims to trace the causes of violent conflicts, enable previously unheard voices to be heard, and examine previously unnamed or overlooked options for approaching conflict transformation, introducing these to the debate.
In the seven-week course, the attributes of conflict-sensitive journalism (CSJ) will be mapped out, and students will see how these interweave with the characteristics of conflicts, their transformation processes, and concepts of peace. Participants will also learn how CSJ can be put into practice in processes of media-related peacebuilding.
- develop an understanding of processes, configurations of actors, and transformation processes in conflict scenarios, based on conflict theories;
- strengthen their critical self-perception as actors in the practice of peacebuilding;
- comprehend the indispensible role of communication in conflict transformation;
- be introduced to the concepts of Communication for Peace (C4P) and media-related peacebuilding;
- become familiar with conflict-sensitive viewpoints and the criteria for constructive journalism;
- apply the concepts and criteria of CSJ in peacebuilding contexts.
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