News Media and its role in conflict

2 credits / 6 weeks weeks
5 Nov 2018 - 14 Dec 2018

Professor Saumava Mitra

The course will provide an overview of the role news media plays – and those it fails to play – when it comes to reporting on conflicts. After exploring the main tenets, arguments, debates and practical and theoretical approaches through which news media and journalism’s role in representing conflicts is understood and studied, the course will introduce Peace Journalism – a supposed corrective to the failures of news media when it comes to reporting on conflicts. The course will provide a critical appraisal of Peace Journalism from theoretical and practical points of view. Finally, an alternative, holistic way of conceptualizing the role of media in conflict-affected contexts will be explored. This will be based on the emerging discussions among scholars surrounding news media’s ability, and ethical responsibility, to create compassion and empathy among audiences for conflict-affected societies. The course aims to provide participants knowledge of existing critical tools and concepts to evaluate news media’s role in upholding a mirror to conflicts, and to understand the many distortions inherent in the mirror that news media does uphold. The course will also expose the participants to new ways of thinking about what role media can play in representing conflicts, based on the recent discussions within media studies.

Saumava Mitra

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.
Prior to taking up his fellowship at UPEACE in Costa Rica, Saumava Mitra completed his PhD from University of Western Ontario, Canada. His abiding interest is in understanding the nuances of representations of conflicts and crises and he has explored this topic from various angles in his previous research publications. He is also interested in international journalism and communications and particularly the local-global exchanges that take place within their processes. Saumava’s doctoral research was on the working conditions and image production of Afghan photojournalists who cater to global audiences. Several research publications based on the findings of this doctoral research have been published or are under the peer review process. Saumava actively participates in international conferences on media and communications on an annual basis. Most recently, he successfully organized expert panels on the topic of the role of local news-staff who work for global news media at two international conferences on media and communications research. He is currently co-editing a special issue of the highly regarded peer-reviewed journal Journalism Studies on the same topic. He is also engaged in collaborative research aligned with the UNESCO 2011 agenda on safety of journalists. Saumava serves as a peer reviewer and reviews editor of a number of international academic journals. He was also the recipient of an Erasmus Mundus scholarship from the European Union during his Master’s studies, which he pursued in Denmark, Netherlands and the UK. Saumava has also worked in international journalism and international development in South Asia, Europe and East Africa.

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