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Blogging for Peace

Caroline Jaine's picture

I am writing from Bonn in Germany - the venue for the Global Media Forum for Media in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention. The event is hosted by Deutsche Welle.  Whilst we have been treated today by a host of keynote speeches by eminent speakers, what has impressed me most is the diversity of participants – a mix of journalists and media professionals from all over the world.  By the very nature of the seminar some of them clearly have harrowing tales of their own, and have not been shy of speaking up with passion about their experience and views.
 
There was a strong sense that the media has a responsibility to focus on peace journalism (as opposed to “war journalism”) as a tool for influence and a catalyst for positive change in the world’s conflict zones.  Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi said that journalists were the “champions of human rights” and the spokespersons of victims of human rights abuses, and whilst she spoke of the restrictions placed on free speech in her native Iran, she also pointed a finger at the single minded ideology of the huge media corporations in places like the United States of America. 
 
The topics discussed ranged from the European Union conflict prevention programmes, to the role of the media in Asia, but so far I don’t think any of the panelists or delegates have displayed a convincing understanding of new media and blogging.  One panelist played down the impact sites like YouTube  have and indicated that online journalism would never replace traditional journalism, however the same man also hinted at the growing power of anecdotal evidence in the media.  It was recognised that credibility is key in the art of persuasion, but there is yet to be an acknowledgement that the credibility of individuals anecdotal reporting, such as blogging, is growing because the audience is loosing trust in the impartiality of reporting linked to media corporations like those mentioned by Ebadi.  And whilst, as Ebadi pointed out, in less developed countries (many of whom are marred by conflict) there is less than one computer per 300,000, it is significant that the number of China’s internet users has now surpassed the US at 220 million.  Although the topic of new media is not on the agenda it itself, tomorrow we will be discussing terrorists online, so this may be a forum in which to raise the effectiveness of new media and its role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention, and I have trust that my eloquent colleagues will contribute with passion and knowledge as they have done today.  If you would like to share in the conference please visit the live stream.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on
Hi there, you say that someone claimed that "online journalism would never replace traditional journalism,", I wonder if you could tell us who and where to find an ellaborate details of his reasons for this comment. thanks miguel

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