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Peace Journalism is activist news writing and production socially engaged to promote peace, unlike mainstream objective or balanced news coverage that seeks to remain impartial or above the fray.[1]

Peace journalism follows a long history of news publication originating in non-sectarian Christian peace movements and societies of the early 1800s, which published periodicals.[2] Sectarian organizations also created publications focused on peace as part of their proselytizing in the 19th century, as did utopian communities of the period. From the 20th century, a prominent example of sectarian journalism focused on peace was Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker.[3]

Besides an element in the histories of pacifism and the social movement press, peace journalism is a set of journalism practices that emerged in the 1970s. Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung proposed the idea of peace journalism for journalists to follow when covering war and conflict.[4]

In practice, peace journalism is a linguistic and action orientation that frames stories to encourage conflict analysis and a non-violent response. Editors and reporters make choices – about what to report and how to report it – that create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict.

Peace journalism aims to shed light on structural and cultural causes of violence, as they bear upon the lives of people in a conflict arena, as part of the explanation for violence. It aims to frame conflicts as consisting of many parties, pursuing many goals, rather than a simple dichotomy. An explicit aim of peace journalism is to promote peace initiatives from whatever quarter, and to allow the reader to distinguish between stated positions and real goals.

Peace journalism pursues these goals - focusing on conflict resolution, complex truths, non-elite actors affected by war, and potential solutions - as a response to traditional reportage. Typical war journalism focuses on violence, propaganda, elite actors, and victory, emphasising the current conflict while ignoring the causes or outcomes.[5]

A similar approach is found in Preventive journalism, which extends the principles to social, economic, environmental or institutional problems. Peace journalism is one of several interventionist approaches or movements in journalism history, including advocacy journalism, development communication journalism, the new journalism, and public or civic journalism, all of which reject the universal or hegemonic claims to neutrality of professional journalism in the developed west.[6]

References

  1. ^ Thomas Hanitzsch, “Deconstructing Journalism Culture: Toward a Universal Theory,” Communication Theory 17 (2007): 367–385.
  2. ^ Roberts, Nancy L., "Peace Journalism," The International Encyclopedia of Communication, Wolfgang Donsbach (ed), Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
  3. ^ Roberts, Nancy L., American peace writers, editors, and periodicals: A dictionary, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1991.
  4. ^ Seow Ting Lee & Crispin C. Maslog, "War or Peace Journalism? Asian Newspaper Coverage of Conflicts," Journal of Communication 55 (June 2005): p. 311.
  5. ^ Galtung, Johan, “On the role of the media in worldwide security and peace,” In Tapio Varis (ed.), Peace and Communication, pp. 249–266, San Jose, Costa Rica: Universidad para La Paz.
  6. ^ Hanitzsch, 2007, p. 368.

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