conflict & communication online, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2006
ISSN 1618-0747




Samuel Peleg
Peace Journalism through the Lense of Conflict Theory: Analysis and Practice

Peace Journalism is a bold attempt to redefine and reconstruct the role of journalists who cover conflicts. As a new arena of knowledge, Peace Journalism draws upon several theories and disciplines to enrich its validity and applicability. A major source which peace journalism can rely on to bolster its analytical as well as its normative rigor is conflict theory. This article demonstrates how several insights from conflict theory can advance the lucidity of peace journalism and render it a powerful tool in the hands of reporters and their readers to realize the futility of conflict and to bring about its resolution. More specifically, the article introduces the notion of the media as a third party to a conflict. The third party is the facilitator of communication, the mediator or the arbitrator between the two rivaling sides. It is our contention that Peace Journalism as a third side can best enhance prospects for resolution and reconciliation by changing the norms and habits of reporting conflicts. This is succinctly illustrated in three case studies of protracted conflicts, which are described through the lenses of conflict theory. By contrasting regular newspaper coverage with peace journalism coverage, the merits of the latter are revealed.


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On the author:
Samuel Peleg is a Senior Lecturer of Political Communications and Political Violence at Tel Aviv University. He is also the Academic Director of the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya College. Dr. Peleg has published books and articles in various journals. Among his recent books: If Words Could Kill: the Failure of the Israeli Political Discourse. Jerusalem: Academon Books, 2003 (Hebrew);Zealotry and Vengeance: Quest of a Religious Identity Group. Lanham MD: Lexington Books, May, 2002; and Spreading the Wrath of God: From Gush Emunim to Rabin Square. Hakibutz Hameuhad, Tel Aviv, 1997 (Hebrew). Dr. Peleg writes often in the Israeli Press and is very active in civil society organizations in Israel. He is a consultant to several governmental Ministries and is also involved in Peace research with Palestinian scholars and activists.