10.08.2007 -

Israeli Journalists to Attend Peace Journalism Workshops

What are the lessons to be learned from the media coverage of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Lebanon? How can the coverage of conflict, war, and peace processes in the Middle East be improved?

The Israeli Palestinian Media Forum (IPMF), a UNESCO funded project in Jerusalem, in partnership with FAIR Media: Center for the Study of Conflict, War and Peace Coverage at Netanya Academic College (NAC) will be conducting three workshops on such questions, but as well on dilemmas in Conflict Coverage and alternative strategies, such as Peace Journalism. The workshops will focus on professional and practical aspects of conflict coverage in latest Lebanon War, the Iraqi conflict and the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Young and mid-career Israeli professional journalists (print, broadcast, and online) and advanced journalism students working and interested in the coverage of conflict, war and peace will be invited to take part in these workshops in September and October 2007, at the Netanya Academic College campus, near Tel Aviv.

 

Peace Journalism (PJ) is a professional strategy that aims at improving media representations, reality constructions and critical awareness, first developed in the 1970s by Norwegian political scientist Johan Galtung.

 

PJ proposes to frame stories in broader, fairer, and more accurate terms than the ones dictated by the "ratings culture and structure", and by governmental, corporate, and partisan interests. Exploring the backgrounds and contexts of conflict formation in order to make its sources, processes, and effects more transparent to the audience, PJ seeks causes and solutions to conflicts on every side; gives voice to the views of all involved parties; focuses on conflict itself, rather than on its specific parties (e.g., whomever is viewed as "the others"); traces connections between journalists, their organizations and sources, the stories they cover, and the consequences of their reporting; and introduces a better-balanced literacy and discourse of non-violence and creativity into the practical job of everyday reporting.

 

In this framework, the workshops planned aim at imparting professional techniques and skills for peace-oriented coverage of conflict, including:

  • Raising critical awareness of constraints, biases, prospects and possibilities in the coverage of conflict, war, and peace;
  • Improving skills of situation and process analyses;
  • Developing equality in the attitudes toward self- and other cultures, religions and ideologies;
  • Exploring and promoting alternative models of framing and production;
  • Producing a model for similar journalist forums in conflict areas of the world.

Within the context of its constitutional mandate promoting the free flow of information, and its assistance to independent media in conflict and post-conflict areas, UNESCO established the Israeli / Palestinian Media Forum (IPMF) in 1998. This project originated from a meeting that took place in Rhodes in July 1998, at the initiative of the Greek Government, and which brought together more than 100 Israeli and Palestinian journalists. The goal was to encourage dialogue and cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian journalists; enhance professional standards regarding ways of handling situations, events and issues of common concern or interest; take action whenever and wherever press freedom and freedom of movement of journalists are in jeopardy.

 

Although the office remains open during this difficult period, IPMF public activities have been suspended and any dialogue has been carried out on a strictly informal level. With the possible opening of media towards dialogue within the region UNESCO is willing to revive these activities.




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