February 2010 – Suva, Fiji
Organized by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the financial support of UNESCO.
By Shereel Patel, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation
Reporting and broadcasting in a country that has had endured four coups and various periods of instability over the last 20 years has made media workers in Fiji appreciate the concept of peace journalism – and how they can do their work better when reporting on conflicts within their communities.
From the 7th to the 11th of February senior journalists and programme directors of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation attended an in-country workshop on ‘Conflict-Sensitive Reporting’ – an exercise that was described as ‘revealing’ and an ‘eye opener.’ The programme was made possible with the support of the Asia-Pacific Broadcast Union and UNESCO – and was facilitated by Bettina Ambach, Director of Wayamo Communication Foundation.
Over the five days Bettina Ambach and the 12 FBC journalists and broadcasters analysed and assessed various areas of reporting in a conflict situation, and opened various layers where broadcasters can use their influence to achieve positive outcomes.
The workshop helped the journalist realise that they play an important role in reconciliation and peace building in times of crisis and conflict. By de-emphasising the two opposing sides, reporting more on common ground than division, and by referring to root causes instead of only covering consequences, journalists can have a positive impact on a peace-building process.
Many skills and insights were gained during the workshop, with the use of examples such as Kenya and Ruanda, identifying how media can either create a conflict or help resolving it.
The workshop helped inspire the journalist to become better citizens in the process of becoming better journalists. It helped journalist realise that they are vulnerable to outside influences but they must always strive to provide quality, up to date and consistent news no matter what the situation.