One of the most important tasks of the media is to inform. Objectivity, neutrality and truth are three of the core terms of reference for this task, but in respective to conflicts this is not that easy. How is objectivity possible when it comes to crimes? How can one stay neutral when people suffer?
It is quite easy to state that the media are not neutral enough, and that they take sides and manipulate. Indeed, journalists are not necessarily immune towards propaganda – and yet, it would be short sided to see only this side of war journalism. There is much more to detect than only that. In Peace Journalism reporters are invited to take sides, to write in favour of Human Rights and to look for other perspectives than the usual negative ones. Thus, also Peace Journalism has its clear ethical rules.
During this course we will look at different forms of journalism in conflict situations. Ethical frameworks will give us an idea of the regulations that reporters have to deal with. At the same time this is only one part of the reality. Journalists in war situations and political conflicts are in constant danger. The space for the freedom of expression seems to diminish constantly. How is it possible to work under these circumstances?
Another challenge is the lack of money that the majority of the international media outlets have to deal with, which results in less and less official war correspondents. For journalists this means to work on a freelance basis and be less protected but freer at the same time. What does this mean for the daily work?
This course will give us a glance into a world that is often described in a far too romantic or adventurous way. We will look at examples of text, photography and videos, from mainstream media to bloggers and grassroot journalism, which we will try to analyse from diverse sides, bearing in mind that journalism finally is mostly this: a modern form of storytelling.