Monday, November 26, 2012

IPRA conference highlights peace journalism

It’s been an outstanding two days at the International Peace Research Association conference in Tsu, Japan. This is the first opportunity I’ve had at any conference to talk shop with researchers in and practitioners of peace journalism. Some presentation highlights:

Kony 2012: This presentation dissected and analyzed the viral video about Joseph Kony, who terrorized Uganda for about 20 years. Among the criticisms: Kony’s child victims were not (were never) invisible; Ugandan authorities are let off the hook for atrocities that they committed; and the film gave the mistaken impression Kony was still menacing Uganda and that he still leads an enormous army (he doesn’t). Presenter Swee Hin Toh noted that the film wasn’t peace journalism because it offered up only military/violent options to deal with Kony. Finally, the question was asked, would the arrest of Kony solve the LRA problem in Uganda? Would it stop the suffering, or lead to more suffering?

Radio for Peace: Maria Elena Lopez Vinader discussed a peace radio program she produces in Argentina. Her program includes presentations on and by peacemakers, as well as specially selected peace music. She said her show seeks to empower common people, raise ecological consciousness, and build tolerance of the disabled, among other things.

Peace Politics in Cyprus: This study analyzed Turkish newspaper columnists and how they write about the ongoing Greek-Turkish conflict in Cyprus. The conclusions reached by researcher Mertin Ersoy: Turkish-language columnists use official Turkish government sources, but don’t use sources from Greek officials. In general, the Turkish columnists frame issues in a conflict/war orientation (win-lose, unbalanced, antipathy for opponents, nationalism) rather than a peace journalism orientation (empathy, win-win, balance, solution orientation, etc.) Peace journalism, Ersoy noted, is sorely needed in Cyprus.

I also made presentations yesterday and today on our Peace and Electoral Journalism project (2010-11) and Peace Media and Counterterrorism project (2011-13) in Uganda. Click here for more details.

I’m looking forward to learning more in the coming days, and to initiating some longer term projects and collaborations with my newly discovered peace journalism brethren.

My hotel's upload speeds are glacial. Thus, I will post pictures later in the week.
Professor Komagum is for sale as an e-book.
Click here to order.

1 comment:

  1. It must have been a challenging assignment for the students to approach people on the street in the Bronx to ask if Osama Bin laden should be forgiven. I can see the internal conflicts on the faces of some of the respondents. --kc