Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stuck in the mud, searching for answers

KAMPALA, UGANDA--We started the day today stuck in some gloppy mud about halfway to our destination, a hotel in Munyonyo where we were needed to begin teaching the first day of our peace media and counterterrorism seminar. Fortunately, our stay in the mud was brief—just a minute or two.

The seminar went just fine, and the participants were energetic and engaged. At the end of the day, I think I can speak for the attendees (mostly journalists with a few security officials) when I say that that I was a bit in awe of the wide swath of issues that we covered in one day. As we wrapped up day one, we were left with many more questions than answers. These include:

What is terrorism? Is a terrorist different than a freedom fighter?
How do terrorists attempt to use the media?
Should journalists give terrorists a voice? Under what circumstances?
How does a peace journalist report violence and terrorism?
How well did Ugandan journalists report the July 11th bombings in Kampala? What did they do well, and how can they improve?
Should media self-censor to protect lives?
How should media collaborate with government officials regarding terrorism?

I’m hoping that we are able to extricate ourselves from the mire of these intractable questions by the end of the seminar. I just hope we’re able to find an answer as deftly as our driver did this morning.

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