How journalists get together for freedom of media and peace journalism
To respond to such challenge and turn it into an opportunity, journalists around the world with an international NGO have been seeking ways to enhance press freedom through the international media network and peace journalism in relation to rethinking their role in contribution to building a peaceful, democratic society.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC formed a series of HWPL Media Forums throughout the year 2017 to establish a working group of journalists around the world to examine the phenomena of journalism around the world and empower the right and duty of journalism pertaining to peace and media freedom.
According to some journalists, the current crisis of journalism is due in part to journalism itself. In the HWPL International Media Forum held on July 7, K. M. Harun, Senior Television and Media Consultant in Bangladesh, said, “Ethics of Journalism changed due to commercialism, when media lack ethics then it threatens the peace and harmony rather than promoting it. Media has lost its credibility due to the dissemination of a lot of negative news in an irresponsible manner. Print and broadcast media can only promote peace and harmony when responsible journalism is practiced.”
Another problem pointed out by journalists is the trend of media coverage concentrating on war, conflict, violence, crime, and hatred that instill negative influence to society. In the HWPL Media Forum held on January 15th, Ali Alabdallah, the journalist from Sweden said, “Recently, the European media focus on the war and the plot of how a number of refugees came to the region. They failed to focus on humanity, culture, and civilization to understand the human nature, which provides ideas of peace and coexistence.”
State and media freedom
Media freedom especially information sharing through news reports has been challenged by government censorship in countries with a low level of the democratic system. “Freedom of speech in most of the African countries is still a myth, an ideal. If you do not learn how to write or tell your story intelligently, the chances of survival are minimal,” said Jean de Dieu Munyembabazi, chief editor of IGIHE in Burundi.
“The media have their own observations that should not be controlled by others. It is important to preserve the independence of the media and obtaining objectivity of news is the responsibility given to journalists,” added President Xinzheng Zhou from Macau Rule of Law Newspaper at the HWPL Media Forum held on December 2, in Tsinghua University, China.
Peace and international cooperation – construction of media network
Many journalists say that building an international media network focusing on the issues of peacebuilding can bring out solutions to the current challenge.
“Media freedom plays an important role in guaranteeing social stability, and in that sense constructing new ways to collect information across national borders will assure the right of each individual to present ideas,” said Fedorov Petr, the director of international affairs at All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company when he spoke in the HWPL Media Forum – Voice of Press in CIS back in May.