By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Debates in Peace Journalism
By Jake Lynch (Sydney University Press, $34.95, softcover, 254 pages)
Peace journalism has emerged as a new, ‘trans-disciplinary field of interest’ to professional journalists since the mid-90s.
It offers both a set of practical plans and options for editors and reporters and a basis for developing “evaluative criteria” for the critical analysis of war reporting – all derived from, or at least attentive to, propositions about conflict, violence and peace.
A war correspondent who became a peace advocate, Lynch has been at the forefront of this work for a number of years.
While tracing the major disputes in this budding field – philosophical, pedagogical and professional – the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney also connects his own contributions to them with vital new material.
Insights are offered for journalists, a form of ‘critical self-awareness’ that journalism “usually lacks”. It theorises news and reveals the undeclared theories already at work in its representations of conflict.
The facts of tomorrow bear an imprint on the reporting of today.
Lynch makes a case that peace journalism is a necessary addition to the repertoire of professional journalists committed to delivering on editorial guidelines.
Debates in Peace Journalism is a guide to campaigning through and on the media – “treating the media themselves as a field of power, indissociable from the conflicts on which they report and all too often a factor favouring violent, reactive responses over non-violent ones”.
This could well be the key inference of peace journalism. It “casts the likely consequences of certain reporting patterns into sharp relief causing relations of cause and effect to be articulated where they generally remain tacit”.
“No-one concerned about conflict, and wishing to promote peaceful alternatives and responses, can afford to regard media as unproblematical ... media activism, inspired by peace journalism, can be effective”.
Edition 313, 15 May 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.