Course DescriptionThis course will examine the role of media in violent conflicts. The use of media in times of conflict is initially examined in propaganda studies. As a consequence of development communication, peace media emerges as a new discipline which utilizes mass communication channels and techniques to advance the peaceful resolution of violent conflict. Entertainment programs, soap-operas, marketing campaigns and peace oriented journalism are examples of peace media to be covered in this course.
In the last two decades of the 20th century much was written about media’s involvement in wars and conflicts. One obvious outcome of such a relationship is the exploitation of media for war promotion. Several analyses attribute the media as an instigative role in inciting violence.
Assuming media have played an important role in the incubation of violence, it seems logical to examine the prospects for the reverse perspective – media’s contribution to violence cessation or conflict transformation. In other words, if media are often found to be enablers of forces that lead to violent conflict, they should be able to aid in the process of conflict transformation. In the last few years, there appears to be enough evidence for optimism regarding the role of media in peace development thanks to the devoted practitioners from international government agencies and non-profit organizations. Their accomplishments have been noticed in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Croatia, Israel/Palestine, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Sierra Leone etc.
When you complete this course you should be able to:
a) Provide an overview of what constitutes “peace media” and how communication may help in the process of conflict transformation.
b) Describe and discuss specific theoretical areas of research such as media effects, conflict transformation, communication for development and propaganda studies.
c) Understand the formation of contemporary conflict and outline a set of approaches that can be useful in eliminating violence.