Articles, manuals, books and training courses on peace journalism now abound internationally, but after journalists are trained—then, what?
Since peace journalism as a discipline essentially challenges the main assumptions, paradigms and practices of traditional journalism, many of those who attempt to practice peace journalism in their field are met with opposition, not just from individuals and groups but from the entire media system itself.
For peace journalism to be sustainable, those who have been trained in the field need to band together for support in furthering their professional growth, engaging in mutually helpful exchanges and building solidarity as they jointly work towards implementing peace journalism in the mainstream.
This was the driving force that motivated a motley group of journalists and communications educators and professionals who were trained in basic peace journalism in Bacolod City, Philippines in late 2004, to form The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON). Today, the Network has grown into a number of national and international networks, with around 250 members in the Philippines, and 165 members from 15 countries worldwide.
This paper details the growth and development of this Network, with emphasis on the real-life challenges faced in the struggle to practice and mainstream peace journalism on the ground, and the subsequent lessons learned and improvements made. This paper also discusses reflections on the PECOJON experience and its implications to the bigger challenge of sustainability for peace journalism in the world, in the context of this Conference’s theme.
This is the introduction to a paper presented at the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) Conference in Leuven, Belgium, on July 17, 2008. You may download the full paper here.