Peace Journalism: Negotiating Global Media Ethics

By Majid Tehranian - 2008

The terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 demonstrated that we live in an interdependent, vulnerable, and fragile global village. This village, however, does not enjoy the intimacy of face-to-face communication among the villagers. We live in a largely mediated world ruled by government media monopolies or commercial media oligopolies that construct images of "the other." Promotion of particular commodities and identities are the main preoccupations of the two commercial and government systems. The two systems thus tend to exacerbate international tensions by dichotomizing, dramatizing, and demonizing "them" against "us." Is there an alternative media system to promote peace journalism for international and intercultural understanding?

This article argues that ethically responsible journalism is a sine qua non of peace journalism. The locus of most media ethics has hitherto been the individual journalist. But the individual journalist operates in the context of institutional, national, and international regimes. In a globalized world, media ethics must be negotiated not only professionally but also institutionally, nationally, and internationally. Such ethics must be based on international agreements that have already established the right to communicate as a human right. However, ethics without commensurate institutional frameworks and sanctions often translate into pious wishes. To obtain a pluralism of content to reflect the diversity and complexity of the world, this article calls for a pluralism of media structures at the local, national, and global levels. The article concludes with proposals to promote peace journalism through greater freedom, balance, and diversity in media representations.

The International Journal of Press/Politics,vol. 7 no. 258-83

By Majid Tehranian| 2008


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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