conflict & communication online, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2007
ISSN 1618-0747




Lea Mandelzis
Representations of Peace in News Discourse: Viewpoint and Opportunity for Peace Journalism

This study presents a news discourse analysis of a case in which the dominant political and ideological discourse of conflict and violence gave way to optimism and hopes for peace in Israel. It offers a profile of three types of discourse used by Israeli print news media in the context of 'peace' and 'war' in the immediate aftermath of the Oslo Accords signed on September 13, 1993. By this time, the Israeli media had already demonstrated a dramatic change in attitude and terminology: The familiar war discourse was rapidly being replaced by peace representations and peace images. The assumption of the study is that overuse of the term 'peace' at a time of revolutionary change in Israeli socio-political practice not only detracted from Israeli peace perspectives and beliefs, but also caused news discourses to deteriorate into war discourses. The purpose of the study was to uncover the role of the contextual system developed to communicate specific topics relating to 'peace' representations in news discourse and the negative socio-political consequences of the incompatibility of discourse types with actual political conditions at a given time.
The findings suggest that inter-textual representations of 'war' and 'peace' led to a discourse type which imposed unwanted meanings upon itself. It also suggests that certain types of news discourse, such as reconciliation, peace and war reporting, may be important in establishing the proper relations between discourse, language, media and the meaning of peace because of the essential role that the mass media play, not only in war coverage, but, no less important, also in peace reporting. Ultimately, inappropriate discourse at a given time may lessen the chances of building trust among peoples and nations.


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On the author:
Lea Mandelzis is a senior lecturer at the School of Communication, Sapir Academic College in Israel. Her fields of research focuses on conflicts, war and peace discourse in the news media, media representations and images, socio-political communication and international communication. She has presented and published a number of articles on peace discourse and peace Journalism. Her work contributes to Keshev, The Organization for the Protection of Democracy in Israel and media monitoring, and involved in developing a university peace journalism curriculum. She is a council member of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) and chairperson of Peace Journalism Commission. She is a former professional journalist in Israel and a member of the Peace Journalism Group at Toda Institute of Global Peace and Policy Research.

Address: School of Communication, Sapir Academic College, D.N. Hof Ashkelon 79165, Israel