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How does the mainstream practice of journalism influence how conflict is covered - Essay Example

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How Mainstream Practice of Journalism Influences How Conflict Covered Before mid to late 1990s, conflict sensitive journalism did not exist; its predecessor had been the concept of hate media and propaganda that resulted in genocides and civil wars. In the late 1990s, however, stakeholders realised the power of the media and the role it had played in fuelling numerous conflicts…
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How does the mainstream practice of journalism influence how conflict is covered
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Download file to see previous pages This was as a solution to previous excesses of the media that had either negative or no effects on conflict formation, escalation, solution and termination. However, like all new concepts, the newly born conflict sensitive media did not have a user manual and journalists and media houses had with them a new tool that they had no idea how to use. Government sponsored print and electronic media were the most common in those early days and, therefore, the public always heard what the governments wanted them to hear; mainly due to media control by their main sponsor, who was at the time the government. Governments used the media to downplay conflicts and conceal facts that they did not want their citizens to know, resulting in selective dissemination of crucial information. With the advent of strong civil society movements and the spread of capitalism, individuals and corporation got the rights to own and run media houses that were free from control by governments. However, this did not solve the problem with conflict sensitive journalism, as journalists in these media houses did not know how to implement the strategy (Lynch and McGoldrick 2005, p. 197). According to Lynch (2008, p. 186), conflict sensitive journalism is truly much evolved, and many media houses are using the tool to prevent or stop conflicts. However, the major force in how conflicts are reported is mainstream media houses, which pick on an approach to the reportage of a crime and other media houses follow suit. Approaches by mainstream media to reporting conflict falls into four principal categories; conflict-oriented coverage, truth-oriented coverage, people-oriented coverage, and solution-oriented coverage. If any the mainstream media decides to take any of these approaches, then other media houses have to follow suit for their coverage to have any relevance (Seow and Crispin 2005, p. 311). Conflict Oriented Coverage In this approach, media houses focus on the ignition of the conflict, factors that fuel it, factors that diminish it, and other factors that may sway the direction of the conflict without caring which direction the conflict takes. Media houses give the conflict airtime since they know that people are concerned about the happenings in the world, but instead of using this chance to alter the direction of the conflict in any way, the media prefer to watch in inaction. First, media focus on the conflict genesis, reporting about all the factors that resulted in the conflict. These factors include the parties on both ends of the conflict, and the disputed issue or issues, all in the name of keeping the public informed. This strategy exposes the commercial nature of mainstream media because despite which direction the conflict takes, media houses will reap the benefit from it since they do not take a stand against or for the conflict (Seow and Crispin 2005, p. 311). Another part of conflict oriented media coverage is that media houses offer real and imagined outcomes of conflicts, mostly with a bias to outcomes that are grim in nature. The media predicts and speculates about the conflicts, drawing parallels and creating links between these conflicts and historical events, and predicting the future based on the possible outcomes. This speculation and mixing of facts with opinions makes news material for both electronic broadcasting and printing, as reporters are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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