by Ivana Braga
Friday 11 October, the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced. I’m wondering what are the chances of a journalist to be awarded? Usually when we ask about the media’s responsibility, the classic answer is a question: Is the window to blame for the landscape? And then, the discussion stops. However, when everybody is called to be part of peacebuilding, the media should be involved and take its place.
Graham Spencer, author of The media and peace: from Vietnam to the War and Gadi Wolfsfeld who wrote The News Media and Peace Processes – The Middle East and Northern Ireland, categorically say that the media is obsessive for conflict situations and violence. From the TVs guideline and newspapers’ front page, it is easily certified. In writing this post, I have searched for many examples of news culture in conflict situations, and this three-minute video about US and Syrian below illustrates it very well.
By the argument of audience’s taste, journalism in mainstream media has increased the level of sensationalism without questioning the impact of that in people’s minds and lives. As a result, the process of peace has less media coverage than violence. “World enemies” are more well know than leaders that work in peacebuilding. On the other hand, very often the media intensify political confrontation and summarize complex situations in “win-lose” terms.
For Spencer, one the roles of responsible journalism is to approach cultures, “contributes a deeper understanding of each so that judgments made about those culture and societies can be drawn on the basis of detailed information and interpretation.” Even the mainstream still is far of that; many people and groups are dedicated to questioning the media’s role, to producing their own information, to raising the awareness of the audience, and with the Internet, all of it can be made by citizens. Perhaps, these movements will show that peace also interests people, and change the news headlines.