For Aspiring Journalists from Eastern Partnership and Central Europe
In Spring 2020, STRATPOL is organising a 10-day training in Contemporary Conflict and Peace Journalism Training for aspiring young journalists from Eastern Partnership and Central European countries. The training will take place in April-May 2020 in Slovakia.
Why are we doing this
Media is an important tool for shaping opinions about conflicts. In countries affected by conflict, media play a crucial role in promoting human rights, democratisation, and can facilitate conflict resolution and reconciliation by providing access to unbiased information. By shaping public attitudes, they can make societies ready for hostility or reconciliation.
In relation to conflict, societies often sacrifice access to information to a projected need for societal unity against the enemy, hampering reconciliation. In this context, media are often influenced by governments and other interest groups and are used for propaganda and misinformation. That is why good journalists aware of these pitfalls and independent media enabling societies to make good and well-informed decisions are especially necessary for countries affected by conflict.
But good journalism is a difficult task in all contexts. When a society is threatened by violent conflict, journalists face much greater obstacles. They operate in an environment of fear and threats and with opposing sides seeking to control them. Moreover, contemporary conflicts are increasing in complexity and tools used by a growing number of players. Information is often weaponised and some actors deliberately try to blur the line between truth and lies.
In this environment, media should use approaches and methods of conflict-sensitive journalism to provide the public with more comprehensive, neutral and accurate information on the conflicts. They should be able to put information into an appropriate context and effectively reach their audience.
This difficult task comes at a time when media and access to information about the world are fundamentally changing. The dynamic ascend of new technologies and the proliferation of social media has shaken the very foundations of journalism. On one hand, the availability of sophisticated content-production technologies and easy access to mass audiences opened the doors to exciting and innovative new formats. On the other hand, this development has shattered the financial and organisational basis that is essential for good journalism.
What are we doing about it
The complex position of today’s media in conflict-affected societies can be a unique opportunity for a new generation of journalists. Individuals that can take advantage of contemporary tools, new audiences and highlight stories of people affected by protracted conflicts are needed more than ever. To truly master good journalism in such context requires thorough knowledge of the mechanisms of conflict and the influence journalism has on it. Knowledge, bravery, and precaution are not enough. Basics in first aid, de-escalating potentially dangerous situations, cybersecurity and other skills are necessary for good journalists focusing on conflict.
We are gathering a group of young perspective journalists from Eastern Partnership countries affected by protracted conflicts and Central Europe to learn these skills. Over the course of ten days, they will take part in a host of exciting lectures, workshops, seminars and simulations run by top practitioners, experienced trainers, experts, and academics. All the aspects of conflict and peace journalism will be addressed with great emphasis on practical hands-on training, all in the beautiful area in the Slovak Little Carpathian mountains.
More information and call for applications will be available soon.
This training is supported by the International Visegrad Fund as part of a Strategic grant titled Conflict reconciliation in EaP through media development, education and access to information. This project was supported by the International Visegrad Fund and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
This training is also supported by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation – a Project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States as part of a project titled Conflict reconciliation through media development in the Eastern Partnership.