International Media and Conflict Resolution: Making the Connection
For generations, Western political systems have valued the open exchange of ideas in the media. Whether the public discourse occurs in the press, radio, or television, the livelier it is, the better. Persons affiliated by ethnicity, class, or ideology align with press coverage that gives voice to their passionate sense of place—or displacement—in a changing society. When violence is a foreseeable, reasonable outgrowth of the media’s passionate discourse, should the media shoulder partial responsibility? Short of litigation or censorship, can less formal methods of conflict prevention strike an acceptable balance between freedom of political expression and incitement to violence? Examples from Nigeria and Rwanda will be presented in an effort to inquire whether these experiences may contain lessons for America.