Peace journalism is hardly a new concept, Galtung and Ruge having provided a key conceptual underpinning in 1965 and in later studies. However, while it flourished significantly in parts of the globe in the 1990s, notably the Philippines, albeit frequently referred to there as ‘conflict-sensitive journalism’, it has only relatively recently become an approach seriously considered as applicable in a South Pacific context, especially in the wake of the Bougainville civil war and the Solomon Islands ethnic conflict. With other political upheavals such as four coups d’état in Fiji in two decades, paramilitary revolts in Vanuatu, riots in Tahiti and Tonga, protracted conflict in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands, and the pro-independence insurrection in New Caledonia in the 1980s, conflict resolution poses challenges for the region’s journalists and their education and training. Peace journalism is one approach that can arguably make sense of a region that has become increasingly complex, politically strained and violent, yet the concept is generally eschewed by mainstream media as a threat to the core values of ‘traditional journalism’ itself. This article examines conflict trends in the South Pacific, discusses the concept of peace journalism and argues that journalists can take a more constructive approach to reporting conflict in the region.
Keywords: conflict reporting, conflict resolution, war reporting, peace journalism
Robie, David (2011). Conflict reporting in the South Pacific: Why peace journalism has a chance. The Journal of Pacific Studies, 31(2): 221-240. ISSN 1011 3029. Full text at: http://bit.ly/z4hTWL