Pros and Cons of Conflict Sensitive Journalism
Workshop on Conflict Sensitive Journalism, Islamabad Policy Research Institute and Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Sri Lanka, Islmabad
September 1, 2008
The role of mass media in resolving conflicts, especially those involving religiously-inspired terrorist activity as in the case of Pakistan, is extremely crucial. The task of a reporter is to narrate the facts as they are, impartially, accurately and responsibly, and not as one or anyone else would wish them to be reported, in order to help the readers and viewers to create an informed public opinion. For journalism is essentially a public service profession. This important reporting task can be performed relatively easier when a society is at peace. The real challenge for reporting accurately, impartially and responsibly comes when a society is in a state of conflict, especially violent conflict. A violent conflict may be caused by material, religious or ethnic factors, or such conflict may be short-lived or protracted, it always has social consequences, including widespread deaths and displacements. Given that, when it comes to violent conflict, reporters have an additional social responsibility regarding what to report, what not to report, and how to report. The social consequences of reporting inaccurately and partially during a conflict are grave. Such lack of social responsibility on the part of media, print or electronic, may exacerbate violence, transform a non-violent conflict into a violent one, and may conflagrate an already violent conflict. Full Text