Peace Journalism is incompatible with achieving the journalistic ideal of objectivity. Introduction
In the media world we observe that the framing of narratives in conflicts plays a crucial role in politics and in lives of regular people. There is a certain manipulation on the presentation of war and peace in the media. Main question is what media ought to do and what they can do. One of the alternatives is Peace Journalism. This paper will analyse it in the light of the journalistic ideal of objectivity. George Orwell wrote that “history is written by the winners”, and that there is no universally accepted answer just because it is true – in each case there is a great number of incompatible answers and they struggle to be adopted (Orwell, 1944). This statement can be understood that there is no objective truth. Maybe especially when it comes to conflicts there is no objectivity. None the less, this essay will look at the objectivity as a possible practice, mentioning some scholars that oppose this view. On one hand arguments showing that Peace Journalism is objective will be shown, and on the other hand arguments opposing this statement will be presented. As the propaganda model is essential for understanding objectivity in the journalistic practice, one section will be devoted to short analysis of Herman and Chomsky’s theory. But first definition of Peace and War Journalism will be introduced, and a notion of objectivity examined. Peace journalism vs. War Journalism
Peace Journalists claim that conflicts can be exacerbated or ameliorated with the use of media. Lynch and McGoldrick argue that a typical practice of contemporary journalists is War Journalism. According to them such way of reporting exacerbates conflicts, for that reason, they propose a revolutionary alternative to War Journalism. In order to stop violence journalists need to make innovations in the way they report conflicts. One can ask if such approach is objective, but they believe that their approach is an answer to how to be a humane observer-participant in un-humane context (McGoldrick & Lynch, 2000). War Journalism is a practice of most journalists who focus on two sides of conflict. Usually in such reporting one side wins and the other loses, there is no space for complex relations with many parties involved. War Journalists are occupied with violence. They choose one side of the conflict to be a victim and the other to be a villain (dualism). What is more, the reports are based on official sources, and that makes them highly biased – their alternative is on the other hand not dependent on official sources, hence, it is objective. Media according to some scholars are relying on both political and economic elites (see the Propaganda Model), however, also social and cultural factors contribute to the way conflicts are reported. Especially to the domination of war journalism have those factors contributed a lot. Universal practice is, however, non-critical reporting of official versions of events. In the eyes of public media generally seem to be more reliable than politicians. For this reason, they are often used by elites to broadcast the official messages, which are not necessarily objective. According to the critics of War Journalism, media’s reporting is more about military leaders than the people involved in conflict. This is the main point made by Annabel McGoldrick and Jake Lynch, who argue that non-critical reporting of official sources is often rewarded by military sources. Peace Journalism on the other hand analyses conflict including balance, impartiality and truth in reporting. Again, it is therefore more objective than War Journalism. War Journalism is the dominant discourse and it tries to be an objective form of reporting conflicts. It focuses on violent responses to conflict and undervalues non-violent ones. McGoldrick and Lynch recognise three conventions within War Journalism. Two of them have already been mentioned earlier. Those...
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