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What’s the Effectiveness of Peace Journalism?

Reviewer: Edmund Janniger

Peace journalism is oftentimes defined as the brand of journalism providing an unbiased approach to issues pertaining to armed conflict, particularly when contrasted with that visible in the so-called mainstream media. Peace journalism presents in-depth examination of the genesis of warfare and sometimes endeavors to encourage how to ameliorate or resolve different types of conflicts.

Peace journalism might, for instance, shine a spotlight on intricate roots and the personal impact of warfare, such as examining traumatic stories of civilians impacted by bloodshed, the tragic narratives of the families of deceased soldiers and service-disabled veterans, the special poignancy of war on certain vulnerable populations such as the elderly and infirm, and the chain of events leading to the decline or even ruination of social order. The effectiveness of peace journalism is presently being appraised in the context of the savage Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While media scholars have long examined how to report on armed conflict, Dr. Uchenna Ekwo and Ayce Bukulmeyen Ozerdem provide a salient approach in the edited book entitled Writing Peace in Emerging Democracies: A Handbook on Peace Journalism. In an undaunted attempt to redefine and reconstruct the role of journalists covering warfare, Dr. Ekwo and Ayce used their vast expertise in the practice and study of peace journalism to emphasize its gravity and applicability. Moreover, this book draws upon specific areas and theories to foster a much needed culture of peace. This work has once again showcased the editor’s ability to disentangle complex concepts, specifically contemporary challenges faced by journalists on the African continent and worldwide as they report from places with diverse cultures and volatile political structures.

The 52- page handbook focuses on the West African country of Nigeria, while providing an insightful examination of advances in the literature relevant to peace journalism. This work is a publication of the Center for Media and Peace Initiatives, actualized with the support of The Hollings Center for International Dialogue. The  handbook highlights peace journalism in developing stages in Nigeria and yields a positive outlook for that brand of journalism comprehensively. The fruition of this book will conceivably be academic institutions and media outlets reexamining and, when warranted, redoubling their approach to emphasize peace journalism.

Edmund Janniger is the Vice President, International Programs at the Center for Media and Peace Initiatives, New York

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