The Role of the Media in Conflict Management
Information is power and insight can impact on public discourse. This way, perceptions can be changed by access to media. Different types of media are utilised globally to distribute knowledge and idealistically, free mass media is a tool of and signpost for democracy. Freedom of expression is not only the core of a healthy media but also a fundamental human right and vital for a democratic structure. It stands for freedom of speech, the right to information and the representation of different opinions in a heterogeneous society. In any culture of prevention, effective and democratic media are an essential part and indispensable for societies trying to make a transition towards peace and democracy.
Today Zimbabwe online Content Creators (ZOCC) and The Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation today held a training section with content creators about how to manage Conflict.
The media plays a significant role in democratic societies, such as Zimbabwe. The media provides information to the public by its reporting of and commentary upon the proceedings within the Parliament, the operations of the Government, and the views and alternate policies of the Opposition. All of these activities rely on access to information.
The transmission of ideas is also not limited to conventional media such as newspapers, TV or radio. Arguably, the traditional media takes primacy in this, however, new technologies, the internet and digital content should also be considered in this context.
Speaking at the event ZOCC chairman, Tonderai Rutsito said “The first step is honing your sense of when a given piece of content is too good (or bad) to be true. Once you start looking, you’ll notice specific subtypes of this content — like Fakenews is designed to get traffic from people’s anger, hyperpartisan appeals that twist the facts, or outright scams. The techniques are relatively common across different types of story, and they’re not hard to recognize.”
Journalism does not need justification for its existence. Its service to society is justification in itself. Journalism can not only help to distribute information but also counter hate-speech and create an environment of balanced opinions, an information equilibrium.
If democracy is to work properly, society needs access to news and information; analysis of the status quo, debate, practical information and exchange as well as entertainment are needed and provided by the media. The definition of conflict and defining conflict areas is not easy and no two places are alike. Journalists need to know what they can expect on sight in order to define the objectives of their project.