The destructive role that media can play has been amply demonstrated during conflicts in Nazi Germany to that in Rwanda in the 1990s. Their (potentially) more constructive role when it comes to fostering a culture of peace, preventing escalation or adding to processes of reconciliation and peace-building, however, has received comparatively scarce scholarly attention.
This course seeks to introduce students to the main theories and practice pertaining to the role journalists, and media more generally, (ought to) play in such processes. It will focus on the critiques against contemporary mainstream media coverage, leveled mainly against ‘Western’ media coverage of conflicts in the Global South, and the call for reconsidering the dominant paradigm of what is called ‘War Journalism’. Alternative paradigms for more conflict sensitive coverage seek to incorporate insights from Peace and Conflict Studies to bring about what has been termed an alternative way of practicing journalism: Peace Journalism. We will examine a number of academic case studies of covering different conflicts in the world which seek to operationalize the concept of Peace Journalism and will examine the impact of the “war against terrorism” on mass media narratives of global conflict(s).
Having introduced the idea of Peace Journalism and examined its practice, the course will subsequently consider normative as well as practical challenges that render the concept controversial among many journalists and scholars which may impede the realization of its ambitions in practice. Students will be provided with the most salient arguments, theories and empirical evidence that underpin this ongoing debate and be challenged to position themselves within it.
Most recently, new media technologies have increasingly been hailed for their potential to foster democracy, peace and dialogue. At the end of this course, we will critically examine some of these
- Professor: Julia Hoffmann