Could Peace Journalism be Media’s answer?

RICHARD KEEBLE, Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, argued yesterday in a Coventry Conversation entitled “Give Peace Journalism a Chance!” that non-violent activism doesn’t get reported enough in the media, emphasising how much violence exists in the media’s preferred language.

Keeble said: “Peace journalism is solution orientated, is giving voice to the voiceless, it’s attempting to humanise the enemy and exposing lies on all sides, highlighting peace initiatives and focusing on the invisible effects of violence, such as psychological trauma,” adding that it is “not just a theory”, having various strategies in place for its own promotion, most of which are education orientated.

Keeble also attacked the traditional media, arguing it is now propaganda for war, rather than a resolution promoter, emphasising therefore the importance of alternative media for the promotion of peace journalism: “part of the critique is the critique of the language of the media and one of the things that always amaze me, is the way in which the metaphor of war is everywhere […] there’s all different kinds of ways in which alternative citizen journalists are challenging the professional monopoly of this word: journalism, and I celebrate them enormously.”

Keeble also said the peace movements are not credited for their achievement, arguing that the Soviet union itself collapsed “largely” due to peace activism and referring the audience to Stephan and Chenoweth’s report on “people power” and peace movements “that shows that major no-violent campaigns have achieved success in 53 per cent of cases compared to 26 per cent for violent resistant campaigns.”

Talking about the exposure of war, Keeble argues: “It is the responsibility of journalists to expose the truth.” After being challenged on the issue that when exposing the truth a journalist ceases to practice objectivity and balance, Keeble said: “You are not being told to be objective,” adding that: “There’s no way in which X can be balanced with Y, because what about A, B, C and D and everything else in between, so the whole notion of balance in problematic isn’t it?”

You can read some of Richard Keeble’s work here


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