Wilhelm Kempf (ed.)
The Peace Journalism Controversy
Friedens- und Demokratiepsychologie,
Bd. 6, 176 S., brosch., 29.90 €. Berlin: regener, 2008.
While the media's peace mandate is anchored in a great number of international documents, efforts to utilize the media as an instrument of constructive conflict management and for securing peace seem rather modest. Of course there is a vast volume of literature that casts a critical light on the functionalization of the media for the ends of war propaganda – not just by dictatorial regimes, but also in democratic states – yet the question of how the media could instead be used as a catalyst for the de-escalation of conflicts and for peaceful conflict settlement first attracted the notice of peace researchers, media scholars and journalists only toward the end of the Twentieth Century.
The concept of peace journalism, which arose in reaction to the Gulf War and the post-Yugoslavian civil wars, has not, however, gone unchallenged. Just the term 'peace journalism' itself is enough to awaken fantasies that make journalists fear for their integrity and/or make the concept of peace journalism seem like an unrealizable postulate that overtaxes journalism.
Considerations like this deserve to be taken seriously and have triggered intensive discussion, a current highpoint of which is the present book, in which prominent advocates and critics discuss the project of peace journalism.