The common definition of peace journalism is to promote and practice forms of Journalism that incline towards peace and reconciliation among any two rivals. Reporting the atrocity in such ways that it does not sound like a duel from the 1800s. Shaping your news and content you show, publish or broadcast in a way that has a sense of calm and peace-mongering attitude in it. So that is the textbook definition of Peace Journalism, but here we will discuss if Peace Journalism is possible to practice in countries like Pakistan and with the current political and economic scenario of Pakistan.
Electronic media since its dawn In the early 2000s was thought to be a revolutionary force and was seen as a watchdog of people rights. People could suddenly see big politicians and celebrities brought under the light and asked tough questions. Even the Dictator and Martial law administrator Pervaiz Musharraf gave some interviews with the live public. So it was thought of as a revolution. But soon the charm was gone and people started to see that the media was under the grasp of the forces that have their grasp on all the other matters of the state of Pakistan.
Firstly, there were only a few channels but nowadays every influential person has a news channel which he can use to promote his ideology, agenda or to use it as a blackmail force against his rivals. Media channels, newspapers and other forms of media have become touts of status quo and dance at their whip. Some do it happily because obeying the supreme masters can bring them loads of cash and luxuries and some are forced to do it by unknown calls and other methods of Blackmail.
Media can only be capable of bringing about a change when it is free of all external pressures and can write and broadcast about real public issues rather than working as propaganda agencies for certain political parties or other undemocratic forces. When a news channel or media is used as a propaganda machine then it can never work as a peace-mongering institution. It will always use hate, ridicule and defaming tactics to undermine their ideological rivals. This is quite evident in Pakistani Print and electronic media, we know which channel supports which party can almost predict what a channel would show or say about a certain issue. So in this situation of mayhem and chaos, how can we expect from a journalist to uphold the standards of Peace journalism.
The audience as well as used news channels as sources of entertainment rather than information; they have also become addicted to rivalries and breaking news and bashing of political leaders and parties. The channels that don’t show this kind of stuff do not get any viewers and in this economy, if your practices are bringing money in the table then it’s not worth it. A journalist who is not someone’s tout gets harassed, blackmailed jobless or killed in certain scenarios. Besides many of the grassroots journalists are not even paid well enough and in many cases not paid at all.
All these elements combined ensure that the media industry cannot function freely and thus cannot work towards any Journalistic virtue.