Journalists from three regions inaffected by conflicts spent a week together exchanging experiences and learning new strategies for reporting on conflict in a way that contributes to peace.
The 12 journalists, who have variously reported on strife in Northern Uganda,and Kenya’s , participated in a conflict sensitive reporting workshop from 17 to 21 May developed and run by the UNESCO-supported Centre for Conflict Sensitive Reporting (CCSR) at Rhodes University.
The participants were introduced to theories and principles designed to encourage them to report on conflict in greater depth. They also explored how they could contribute to peace-building by, among other things, channelling communication between parties, providing the information that different groups need to make decisions, correcting misperceptions and challenging stereotypes.
The trainees were struck by the similarities between the issues they were reporting on and the ways in which conflicts have impacted on their own communities.
For the course facilitator, Peter du Toit of the CCSR, it was striking that almost all of the participants had chosen careers in journalism after being sucked into or observing the consequences of violence. “They all saw journalism as a career that would enable them to make a difference in a conflict,” Du Toit said.