MEDIA POWER IN CONFLICT AND PEACEBUILDING
(By Emmanuel Loro William-Guest)
Constructive conflict reporting is that which meets quality criteria, it reveals more of a conflict’s complexity and its impact on innocent lives such as women, children and the elderly. We live in a political, polarized world, with many fragmented in the political and socio-economic arena.
In order to make vibrant and valuable contributions to these social noble discourses, journalists must be aware of those issues that are generally suppressed or simply not addressed,for example when reporting in war zones, issues of accuracy, fair and balance reporting are paramount in reporting constructive.Your reporting will infuse or defuse the tension to those in the profession. These will defuse the conflict in one way or the other.
However,Peace builders must understand that journalists and the media known as fourth estate who are not a possible risk factor, but are partners in championing the same needed result of peace building with an equal balance and the same mind not from a perspective of manipulation or biasness but from watchdog role of keeping other institution in check and balance. Media is part and partial in peace building process without media you’re heading to the phase of failure.
Let me put in simple term, your mouth is for talking media take those words to receivers through Newspaper, Radio and etc.
From the start, cooperation with the media must be proactively, and not reactively, built into the design and implementation of peacebuilding interventions, as they are able to identify and make visible the needs and ideas of the local community, as well as the resulting logic of action. They can update a community on events, provide individuals with information and explain the logic of action of a variety of actors, including peacebuilders. Cooperation with the media helps peacebuilders make constructive contributions to conflict transformation processes, build capacity and act as multipliers for these processes. Neither the media nor peacebuilders alone can bring about peace. This needs a collaborative move that gives us the same end result.
However with coming in of ICTs and social media in particular offer the potential to dismantle hierarchies in the access to information and in the processing and dissemination. Through ICTs and social media, anyone not just journalists can gather information and disseminate at their will without restriction and influence especially citizen journalists. In that sense, ICTs open up new pathways and channels for active participation for those who were previously excluded. They can give local stakeholders the opportunity to organize more effectively, to mobilize and to demand more inclusive peacebuilding.
Role of Private mass media must be recognized in disseminating information despite restriction from ruling elites that leads to closer of some print media in the region.
All media, old and new, can hence be used to worsen or to reduce conflicts. So the question has to be asked what can be done to tip the balance in favor of reduction rather than escalation.
Two measures will be discussed here that could contribute to this effect: improve training of journalists peace reporting and teach them the need for nationalism because journalists are part of community in order to produce quality and ethical personality that meet the required standard globally, and the installation of a media cooperation between security organs, and other relevant authorities for harmonization of workspace.
Civil space should be widened for criticism without intimidation or fear after self-expression.
Reserving freedom of the press and expression followed by competent Judiciary system that gives fair trial without third party influence by taking those who have wrong against the state to court. This will create confidence in the public eyes.
Establishment of media commission that is partial, independent in its operation to be run by veteran journalists in the country who understand the pain and what journalists go through to produce the end result. These will give room for radical changes needed in the media industry concerning the right of Journalists executing their duties without interference from the state authority. Media is the cornerstone of democracy widening civic space for civil society to air out their takes on national agenda shapes the country position in contribution toward global peace, security and development.
The author is the Chief Graphics Designer for Juba Monitor Newspaper. Public Relation Professional, a Journalist and Graphics Trainer.
The Founder and the Chairperson of Public Relations Association
of South Sudan (PRASS).
Masters student in Humanitarian and Conflict Studies- University Juba (IPDSS)