Peace journalism has been around since the 1970’s. The concept of peace journalism is that those involved with journalism, editor, reporter, or the organisations themselves, reflect and carefully decide what they cover and how they cover events of war or of injustice. The aim of peace journalism is through this careful recording of non-peaceful events, the field of journalism may educate and aid in resolving conflict (Peace Journalism n.d., McMahon and Chow-White 2011).
One may rightly ask exactly how this reflexive style of reporting has any real affect? Al-Jazeera English (AJE) launched in 2006, the news organisation quickly became notable for a different approach and viewpoint in their reporting. Their reporting seemed non-commercialised and not involved with geopolitics. AJE also enabled and reached out to the minorities giving them a voice and positive news coverage. Mohammed el-Nawawy and Shawn Powers 2010 study (subject reading) claims that this unique and accepting approach to journalistic coverage has allowed often shamed or scorned minorities to be explored in a safe and supportive light. The study found that AJE in lending a voice to the marginalised by mainstream media may act as a ‘conciliatory’ platform, this meaning that this new reporting may resolve anger of being unheard and anger due to dogmatic thinking of those towards the unheard. The authors stress that this is not entirely confirmed, but the broadcasting and viewing of AJE for selected American participants did reduce dogmatic feelings and thoughts. Therefore, it may be possible for the AJE to create peaceful conversations instead of the current conflict prone and breeding world and main stream media environment (el-Nawawy and Powers 2010).
This conclusion echos Jake Lynch who is the Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, who believes that peace journalism can: “…Create opportunities for society at large to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict”. Lynch adds that peace journalism also aids in ensuring events are viewed within their correct context, it does not limit or exclude creative recommendations for conflict resolution and reports not just on war but on peace stories as well as post-war improvements (Lynch 2012).
El-Nawawy and Powers study highlights how a new media platform such as AJE with a more peace journalistic approach to reporting can foster peace. The reflexive model of journalism allowing journalists to create media that can operate in a conciliatory way, and enable a positive, constructive and non-biased discussion to occur. In a world that seems full of conflict and disasters, where friends of mine no longer wish to watch the news as it is all ‘bad’, peace journalism seems to be the way forward.
el-Nawawy, M and Powers, S 2010, Al-Jazeera English A conciliatory medium in a conflict-driven environment?, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 1, viewed 7 September 2016, <http://gmc.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/content/6/1/61.full.pdf+html>
Free Logo Vectors 2012, Al-jazeera logo, image, viewed 7 September 2016, <http://www.freelogovectors.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/al-jazeera-logo.jpg>
Kaufmann, B n.d., This is war comic, image, viewed 7 September 2016, <https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HaDXZXZ-FT0/VGJw9SDoKAI/AAAAAAAAAAo/Rz3JdRMKKJ4/s1600/war-zone-2-journalist-cartoon.jpg>
Lauria, K 2015, Truth or lies, image, viewed 7 September 2016, <http://euphrates.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/truth.jpg>
Lynch, J 2012, What Is Peace Journalism, viewed 7 September 2016, <http://cmpimedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/WHAT-IS-PEACE-JOURNALISM.pdf>
Peace Journalism n.d., viewed 7 September 2016, <http://www.peacejournalism.org/Peace_Journalism/Welcome.html>