Wednesday, January 24, 2018

PJ project launches with lectures, video conference
Zoom video conference w/Haramaya Univ, others
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Our semester-long peace journalism project is off to a rousing start after four half-day PJ workshops for students and journalists.

Yesterday at Addis Ababa University, I was impressed by an impassioned comment made by a PhD student who expressed his concern that the concepts of peace journalism and developmental journalism are being “twisted” by government officials here and elsewhere. That twist is when government officials incorrectly present peace and development  journalism as reporting that embraces and supports government policies and initiatives. Of course, the opposite is true. Both genres encourage journalists to hold governments accountable. Journalists do not support governments, they report about them.

My workshop at AAU was broadcast via Zoom (a Skype competitor) to three universities in Ethiopia. I’m told this was the first such university-to-university hook up. I believe it went well, particularly with my full-house of students at Haramaya University. They were engaged and attentive, posing many challenging questions.

At Ethiopian Broadcast Services
Today, I met two excellent groups of professional journalists—the first from professional media associations, and the second at Ethiopian Broadcast Services. After the latter meeting, a young reporter asked me if practicing peace journalism could persuade the government to stop censoring media. I responded that good journalism, including peace journalism, is always harder to censor than poor journalism and inflammatory reporting, which can give officials an excuse to censor.

Next: My assignment in Gondar begins tomorrow. More soon.

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