Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kenyan journalists consider their role in reconciliation

A group of journalists from the southwestern region of Kenya gathered at Rongo University last week for a three-day peace and reconciliation journalism seminar.

The key focus of the seminar, one I hadn’t really explored in my 100 or so previous peace journalism workshops and seminars around the world, was reconciliation. The radio journalists agreed that there is certainly a need for reconciliation here in Kenya between ethnic groups, regional interests, political parties, etc. We also agreed on the vital role of media in helping to tell stories and foster dialogues that encourage reconciliation.

Toward that end, the journalists split into three groups, and produced peace and reconciliation-themed radio stories. (Click here to listen). One group’s story was about efforts to reduce tensions between tax collectors and businesses, while the other two spotlighted how one local radio station is giving a voice to those advocating reconciliation and the role of the university in bringing together those with different ethnicities. 

Each story demonstrated the journalists’ mastery of the principles of peace journalism.
The journalists in the workshop were active and engaged, and seemed genuinely interested in using the principles of peace and reconciliation journalism to professionalize their work and to help foster the healing process in their communities. I encouraged them to take what they had learned, and spread the word to their colleagues throughout the region.

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