By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Expanding peace journalism: Comparative and critical approaches
Edited by Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Jake Lynch and Robert A. Hackett (Sydney University Press, $35.00, softcover, 391 pages)
Peace journalism garners interest from many fields, but its main ‘home’ has been in peace research—and the quest continues for ‘better media’.
Being a rapidly emerging, and expanding field, this book provides insight with the succour of leading-edge contributions from 17 international writers.
According to the editors, “most research on social movements supports the notion that Internet usage—putting in the hands of activities more tools and opportunities for symbolic production—has had an effect on the capacity to bring about extra-movement outcomes, of ‘simple accentuation’.”
Important roles have already been played with other communication technologies in social conversions. Specific examples given are the use of newspaper journalism, then SMS messaging in the two ‘people power’ uprisings in the Philippines to the production and circulation of VHS cassettes of demonstrations against martial law in Thailand in 1992.
Peace journalism emerged in the mid-1990s as a new, trans-disciplinary field of interest to professional journalists in both developed and developing countries and to civil society activists, university researchers and others interested in the ‘conflict-media nexus’.
This interest is widely encompassing, with debate overlapping on how ‘proactive’ a role it should take. It connects the alternative and mainstream media fields and speaks in ways comprehensible to both.
Expanding peace journalism investigates and cross-examines peace journalism as a major challenge to this ‘hegemonic’ dialogue, which has been recommended and detailed over recent years in journalism, media development and academic fields.
This major texttraces limitations and associations with the adjacent fields including alternate media, ‘social movement activism and media democratisation’.
As prefaced by Johan Galtung: the rich content of this book “is a testimony to the need for empirical, critical and constructive scrutiny of media. Each chapter opens a new window, a new angle; all of them important”.
Edition 323, 24 July 2012
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