conflict & communication online, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2007
ISSN 1618-0747




Jake Lynch
Peace Journalism and its discontents

This article is a response to criticisms of peace journalism from a journalist (David Loyn) and a scholar (Thomas Hanitzsch) by one who has recently gone from one profession to the other. It argues that journalists, like Loyn, often misrepresent the dividing lines in the debate over peace journalism because they take an unduly realist view of news and its relationship with the facts. This is tantamount to ignoring some of the most important insights of research into journalism and communications.
On the other hand, scholars like Hanitzsch take an unduly conventionalist view, it argues, thereby excluding important arguments about the basis upon which we should prefer some representations of conflict over others, as being more accurate and more useful. Peace journalism bases its claims on observations about conflict, peace and violence by researchers in Peace and Conflict Studies, preferable as a basis for representing conflict to the often-unexamined conventions of the news industry.
Peace journalism is also criticised as resting on an overly individualistic model of journalistic endeavour, attaching too little weight to the importance of structural constraints on the work of editors and reporters. This article acknowledges those constraints as governing, though not fully determining influences; but it also argues that peace journalism can contribute to the mobilization of social resources for structural reform, or for the existing structural provisions for public service concepts in journalism to be applied and carried out.
Furthermore, some research into journalistic representations of conflict is insufficiently attentive to the insights of peace research, as distinct from research on journalism, a shortcoming which, the article says, invalidates some of its conclusions.


  full text in English  
On the author:
Jake Lynch is Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. He is a founder member of the peace journalism commission of the International Peace Research Association and the peace journalism group of the Toda Institute for Peace and Policy Research. He was previously a professional journalist, latterly as a newsreader (anchor) for BBC World television. He also had spells as a Political Correspondent for Sky News and the Sydney Correspondent for the London Independent newspaper. He has published several books, book chapters and scholarly articles, and numerous comment and opinion pieces, on peace journalism.

Address:Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Mackie Building K01, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
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