Journalism has enormously changed not only lives but entire countries and societies in general, just by making sure that people are informed and know the truth. Journalism is the process of gathering and presenting factual information to the public. Journalists carry out investigations by searching primary sources and other material involved in the story. But the confusion here occurs that how a journalist should present the news. So, the answer is peace journalism.
Peace journalism can be described as journalism that creates a balanced viewpoint of war and conflict than usual mainstream media broadcast. Often mainstream media focus on biased perspectives which only creates hatred and violence among public but peace journalism aims to find out realities from every angle and present fewer causes of war and conflict. It focuses more on solutions or ideas that balance the situations and try to end the conflict than to presenting what makes the conflict.
The concept of ‘Peace Journalism’ was introduced by ‘Johan Galtung’. Its history can be traced back to 1965 when Johan Galtung and Mari Ruge analysed what makes foreign news newsworthy and further developed the notion of peace journalism and argued that the media predominantly exhibit biases towards violence and rely on the conceptual belief that conflict equals to war. Peace journalism isn’t meant to be journalism where there wouldn’t be any conflict.
Peace journalism is considered as an opportunity to ascertain ideas that end the conflict between the parties involved, through a process that doesn’t need to necessarily develop into a war. Peace journalism attempts to modify the conflicts by showing the black and white of all sides. However, Dr. Johan Galtung has written extensively about positive and negative peace. In this regard, Galtung says ‘Negative peace is simply the absence of conflict, whereas positive peace consists of conditions where justice, equity, harmony and so on can flourish’. Galtung’s notion of positive peace is precisely applicable since peace journalists endeavour to spotlight individuals and initiatives that seek harmonious conditions and to lead constructive public dialogues about issues that concern to justice and equity.
Media has now become the fourth pillar of a country. Media can best be used as a catalyst for peace and can bring reforms and revolutions around the world. If we talk about Indo-Pak relations, unfortunately, we don’t even find a little bit of peace journalism in it. Newspapers and News channels have been used as an instrument for negative propaganda by the governments on both sides of the border.
As we look at the incident of Pulwama attack which happened on 14 Feb 2019 in Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). India has blamed Pakistan for the attack. Indian media particularly television news channels started war journalism. TV anchors were screaming how ‘Pakistan has to be taught a lesson’.
Pakistan condemned the attack and denied any connection to it. Due to the influence of media Indians become aggressive towards Pakistan. India constructs a biased perspective which makes the public to respond violently. Public of India demanded punitive action against Pakistan. Indian journalists neglected peace journalism and spread hatred among the public. Peace journalism seems to be the antidote that perhaps could cure the stressed relations between Pakistan and India.
Peace journalism is almost absent in Pakistan. The main intention of mainstream media is not to inform audiences but to keep them energized enough to carry on watching. Journalists are presenting content according to the ratings. They don’t care about the influence of their content. Peace journalism influence policymakers towards peace. Positive news media of any society enables the citizens to form their opinion impartially on current problems whether political or social and help the individuals in making decisions on societal issues that directly affect them. Therefore, every society must watch balanced news to respond non violently to any conflict.