Snapshot of peace journalism through Jake Lynch and Johan Galtung’s lens view:
The similarities between Galtung’s conception of peace and Lynch’s conception of peace journalism are that the latter uses Peace journalism to reveal the structural and cultural causes of violence, which are the typologies developed by Galtung that describes violence and peace as it affects conflicting parties. Its underlying objective is to highlight conflicts comprising two or more parties trying to attain as many goals as possible rather than merely dichotomy. Thus Lynch’s conception of peace journalism is built and or chooses to promote peace through reporting peace journalism.
Lynch pointed out that “on the one hand…in the end, only time will tell’. To have ‘balance’, to ‘hear both sides, is a reliable way to insulate oneself against complaints of one-sidedness, or bias.”
The above quotation embodies the writers view about taking no sides until both parties in a conflict or dispute have aired their views – thus, it has allowed the writer to distinguish between stated positions or goals and realistic goals. It has augmented or informed views on violent and nonviolent behaviours and the fundamental mechanisms in conflict resolution, which has improved the writers’ skills in settling conflicts.
The ‘Why’ in Journalism:
Additionally, the ‘why’ in journalism is extremely important but often neglected by journalists. Peace journalism pays excellent attention to ‘why’ when reporting. The ‘why’ shows the reality, which is often not reported and shapes our responses to these problems, but our response can either be peace or violence. The writer argues that Peace journalism cannot guarantee peace but, to an extent, can promote peace and, in the same vein, diffuse conflict.
According to Johan Galtung,
‘Wherever there is violence, it is a sign from an unresolved conflict, and one does not like the violence, remove the causes, please. Solve the conflict, reconcile the traumas, and there you have peace journalism in a nutshell.’
Flowing from the above, the writer argues that Peace Journalism understands the context of a conflict, multi-faceted, and attempts to summarise the situation without dichotomies and zero-sum games. The act of reporting is not seen as strictly objective because it does not assume a vantage point from where all facts are visible. Instead, it attempts to strengthen voices relevant to building a complete story, distinguishing it from relativism.
The above sentiment embodies the current cultural violence and actions in different countries like Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, and the Northern part of Nigeria. The writer believes that war journalism is much more prevalent, at least in international mainstream media about Venezuela and in Nigeria.
a) Do you see a prevalence of war or peace journalism in Venezuela’s and Nigeria’s media sources?
b) How does it impact your understandings of conflict and peace?
Category A: P.C from Venezuela
Do you see a prevalence of war or peace journalism in Venezuela’s media sources?
The Venezuelan crisis has been intensifying since the beginning of Hugo Chávez’s rise to power in 1998.
From that moment, journalism in Venezuela began to escalate from being “normal journalism” (mainly tabloid-type mixed journalism) to war journalism (very conflictive and lost).
There have been times when the public does not trust any medium, such as when Hugo Chavez was taken to Cuba ill and finally died (date still unknown between 2012 – 2013) or even earlier, during the first severe escalation (when Chavez was imprisoned by the coup d’état in 2002).
During those moments, the information was very confusing. On both occasions, we hoped that with the departure of Hugo Chávez, peace would finally be achieved among the citizens.
However, it turned out to be the exact opposite. It was the beginning of new nightmares, the last being the times of Nicolas Maduro and hyperinflation.
I must add that peace journalism was used in Venezuela through the Cartel Center (CC) (Cartel Center, 2005) and the OAS, but due to rigged elections, they lost credibility.
A new actor following the CC approach appeared in 2019 (I. Crisis Group, 2019), the government of Norway. But there were no longer media outlets capable of focusing on reporting their objectives.
The RRSS have played a role since 2010, but access to smartphones has only been possible for the elites or the people of the commune (workers loyal to Maduro who received phones, weapons and food).
Chávez and Maduro built legions in RRSS spaces, turning them into a cyber-battlefield and a source of disinformation since the beginning of 2010.
Media and RRSS have always been ruled by one of the two sides, but never by independent communities. Personally, I found out that smartphones existed in 2018, when a nephew sent me a used one from abroad because, with my teacher’s salary, I couldn’t afford one.
How does it impact your understanding of conflict and peace?
As a Venezuelan who feels confused by the press, I don’t trust media, and I don’t trust war journalism either. Every day I read several sources, and I build my own conclusions. I do believe that the Chavista regime is predictable, and I also believe that while media are going to be aligned by political actors, there is no way to depolarize this crisis.
Diane Moore, Neoliberalism, Peace Journalism, and Syria Case Study 1(Harvard Divinity School 2015)
Lynch, Jake, What is Peace Journalism (Transcend Media Service) <accessed 15th September 2020>
Silvia De Michelis, Peace Journalism in Theory and Practice 2018 <accessed 16th September 2020>
Please leave your opinions on the above-mentioned questions.