Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Professor Komagum ebook available, Peace in Japan

The e-book version of Professor Komagum, my new book about my year spent teaching peace journalism in Uganda, is now available. Just click here for easy ordering. Autographed copies may also be obtained by clicking here.

Headed for Japan Friday. I'm speaking about peace journalism in Uganda and Kenya at the International Peace Research Association. Stay tuned for updates.

Interesting take on Gaza coverage

I have received lots of valuable feedback about my previous post (see below) wherein I blame Palestinian and Israeli media for helping to fuel the current conflict. Perhaps the most interesting correspondence was my back and forth with a reader below:

Q--Dear Steven, I hope I can express myself clearly and we can open a dialogue about the important issues you raise. At the core of your argument, you say: "Citizens in both lands deserve a sober, objective, balanced analysis of the conflict. Citizens need to know about the suffering and wrong-doing on all sides." To many who don't have the facts, your position will sound reasonable, but to me it uses bits of reason mixed in with serious distortion, and therefore leads you astray. At the core of my argument is Bishop Tutu's quote: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

So, Israel has one of the best equipped and trained military corps in the world and the Palestinians are stateless, occupied and disperse. There is nothing "balanced" about the situation, and the reporting should not be balanced either. The two "sides" are those who are pro-peace and justice for all and those who aren't. Why should "good" reporting mean that both sides get equal time?

Question for you: Would you give the slave and the master equal, "balanced" coverage in an article about slavery? I know that Palestinians aren't slaves, but the relationship of structural inequality is the same.

I look forward to your views.

A--Dear Reader, your comments are very thought provoking, and I agree with Bishop Tutu's famous quote.

I am not suggesting that there is a moral equivalency between two sides in any conflict. What I would say is that, as journalists, I believe it's our job to let our readers/viewers know that there is another side, another viewpoint. This is not meant to aggrandize or validate this viewpoint, only to recognize its existence, and in so doing, offer up an explanation (but not an excuse) for actions from the other side. To ignore the "other side" is to deny reality.

Thanks again.

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