The first lesson of this module introduces two schools that emerged in journalism in an attempt to change the approach to conflict of conventional reporting: the journalism of attachment and peace journalism. It outlines the origins of these different schools, presents recent developments in peace research and highlights the problems associated with the journalism of attachment.
After this exercise, you will be able to distinguish between peace journalism and the journalism of attachment; in addition, you will be aware of the weaknesses of the journalism of attachment.
The media were for a long time mainly regarded as channels for the dissemination of news. Only recently has there been a change in how they are viewed. Today the media are seen as playing a more complex role in foreign policy (Naveh, 1998, 2002). They make a vital contribution to the construction of the foreign policy environment. This applies to both the national and the international media. National and international discourses are closely interwoven, and journalism plays a key role in this.
The view that journalists are not simply neutral reporters and that they can have an effect on political events has also strongly influenced the self-image of journalism and has led to the emergence of two opposing tendencies which are trying to change the nature of journalistic responsibility.
The first, a new school of journalism called the journalism of attachment (Bell, 1997) is already established. It assumes that, in view of the atrocities committed in modern warfare, journalists should not distance themselves from the events they cover. Journalists must side with the victims of the war and publicly demand a change. The problem with this journalism of attachment is that it largely foregoes conflict analysis, sees war as moral struggle between "good" and "evil", and its own task as to exert moral pressure on the international community to take sides and intervene using military means. This moral imperative authorizes journalists to suspend their professional norms and standards of truthfulness in the name of a higher moral duty. The coverage of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is replete with examples of how journalists attempt to achieve justice their high minded moral by both suppressing and fabricating news (Hume, 1997; Kempf, 2000a).
The second of the above tendencies was initially an academic project. Influenced by the Gulf War and the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, peace researchers and media scientists have begun to think about how media influence can be used to prevent and constructively transform conflicts (ASPR, 2003; Bilke, 2002; Galtung, 1998; Kempf, 1996, 1999a; Kempf & Gutiérrez, 2001; Luostarinen, 2002a; McGoldrick & Lynch, 2000). An attempt has been made, in the form of training courses for journalists, to communicate the findings of peace science to journalists and to use these to improve journalistic work. Here the peace journalism project looks critically at both the role of the media as catalysts of violence (Kempf, 1994; Kempf & Luostarinen, 2002; Kempf & Schmidt-Regener, 1998; Luostarinen &.Kempf, 2000; Nohrstedt & Ottosen, 2001) and the professional ethical norms of journalism (Kempf, 2007).
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At this point you have already read the first part of the eLearning Module on constructive conflict coverage. Now, we want you to take this short quiz to make sure you have understood its content.
You have learned that one of the two schools of journalism is more widespread than the other. This school is called the journalism of attachment. In answering the following questions, we want you to think about the underlying assumptions of the journalism of attachment and their consequences for the professional ethics and norms of journalists.
These basic assumptions imply a specific set of problems. Can you identify them? Check the correct box(es).
Please give a short answer (This is an open-ended question. Your answer will not be checked)
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