alexa Journalists as peacekeeping force? Peace journalism and mass communication theory
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Thomas Hanitzsch

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Peace journalism is defined as a special mode of socially responsible journalism which contributes to the peaceful settlement of conflicts. Although this concept has been widely discussed, there has been no assessment of its underlying philosophy from the perspective of mass communication theory. This paper argues that peace journalism draws epistemologically from a naive realism and is, according to mass communication theory, largely based on the assumption of powerful, causal and linear media effects. By contrast, the author theorizes journalism as a highly autonomous though not autarkic system whose function is to provide social co-orientation. If that is true, it cannot be the task of journalism to engage actively in the peaceful settlement of conflicts since this is the task of politics or the military. There is, however, no doubt that journalism can contribute to the peaceful settlement of conflicts, but its potential influence is limited. After discussing peace journalism for three decades many questions remain unanswered. This contribution will, therefore, identify some important issues for further research.

This article was published in Journalism Studies and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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