conflict & communication online, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2019
ISSN 1618-0747







Since the emergence of peace journalism more than twenty years ago, it has been greeted with much approval, as well as criticism and sparked a series of misunderstandings and disputes. One of the reasons for this may be that both Kempf (1996) and Galtung (1998) do not define their basic concepts (such as peace, violence and non-violence, etc.), but rather take their specific understanding of these concepts (which they had elaborated already decades before) for granted. To increase leeway and to prevent future misunderstandings is the concern of the essay “Concepts and conceptions of peace journalism”, in which Wilhelm Kempf elaborates that peace journalism by no means represents a unified concept, but is understood quite differently by different authors.
Another deficit of basic research in peace journalism is that it has hitherto been too focused on war or at best post-war reporting and has only sporadically considered less escalated conflicts. The two essays on “Peace journalism in marginally to moderately escalated conflicts” by Michael Reimann and “Conflict management through media” by Sandro Macassi thus fill a gap and can be regarded as pointing the way for future studies.
While Michael Reimann tackles the topic from a theoretical-systematic perspective and focuses on the preconditions of constructive conflict coverage (peaceableness, empathy, freedom of opinion and press, honesty and openness, as well as completeness of the conflict presentation), Sandro Macassi presents a case study on the coverage of socio-ecological conflicts in Peru and develops indicators for contributory vs. partisan media frames.
An obstacle that peace journalism needs to overcome is the self-censorship of the media, which Sagi Elbaz and Daniel Bar-Tal examine both theoretically and empirically in their essay on “Voluntary silence”. Based on an analysis of the characteristics of self-censorship, the authors prove the widespread use of self-censorship by Israeli media during the Second Lebanon War, and analyze journalists’ motivation for practicing self-censorship, as well as the effects of self-censorship on Israeli society.
Since the UN conference of Durban, where Israel was accused of Apartheid policy, and even more since the start of the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli Palestinian politics, the Israeli government and its lobbyists have been doing their utmost to increase social pressure to suppress any criticism of Israel through self-censorship, outside of Israel as well. David Ranan's plea against the misuse of anti-Semitism allegations to prevent a substantive debate on Israeli Palestinian policy is to be seen in this context and is just one of countless Jewish voices that oppose the shift to the right of Israeli policy and its worldwide propaganda campaign.
As examples, we add links to an essay by publicist Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times, to an essay by former Israeli ambassador Shimon Stein and Israeli historian Moshe Zimmermann, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, as well as to an open letter in which 17 German Jews expressed their concerns about the motion "Against all anti-Semitism" that was to be discussed in April 2019 by the Leipzig City Council.
In defense of freedom of expression, this has not helped – at least not here in Germany. The Leipzig City Council passed the motion against all warning voices, and meanwhile, the German Bundestag has also passed an anti-BDS resolution, which uses the fight against anti-Semitism as a pretext to prevent criticism of Israeli Palestinian policy. Accordingly, it is all the more important to take note of voices such as those documented here.
You can deal with BDS one way or another. You can support their demands or reject them. You can welcome their forms of action or condemn them. You can also put every single BDS activist’s motivation to the test. What was completely unproblematic in the resistance against South African Apartheid is for historical reasons a hot potato in the resistance against Israeli Occupartheid. But the supporters of BDS exist just as little as the Jews, and an all inclusive libelling of BDS as anti-Semitic is not just an attack on freedom of expression. The demonization of BDS delegitimates any criticism of Israeli politics. It makes free debate virtually impossible, and it also discriminates against countless Jews for whom a peace solution in Israel / Palestine is (unlike the Bundestag resolution) not merely lip service, but an urgent concern.

The present issue of conflict & communication online is completed by an empirical study in which Wassilios Baros examines how young adult Greeks positioned themselves during the financial crisis to globalization and globalization criticism, and – in anticipation of the next issue of the journal, dedicated to "Flight, Migration, Xenophobia and Racism" – by a link to the expert report on the (de-) integration policy of the Austrian Federal Government.

Berlin, October 2019

Wilhelm Kempf

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