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International Day of Peace Event Examines Media Bias

Germany-2019-09-22-International Day of Peace Event Examines Media Bias

Bonn, Germany—The UPF commemoration of the International Day of Peace started by examining the influence of the media and continued by discussing the 2019 motto of “Climate Action for Peace.”

The first part of the September 22 event dealt with the significance and influence of media reports and the development of conflicts and wars

Rémy Mallet, a young blogger and journalist from Côte d'Ivoire who has a master’s degree in international media studies from the Deutsche Welle Akademie (media training academy in cooperation with the Universities of Bonn and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg), gave a presentation titled “Peace or War Journalism?”

He listed points representing peace journalism—oriented toward peace, truth, and humane solutions—and contrasted them with characteristics of war journalism—oriented toward violence, propaganda and elite victories.

Mr. Mallet showed a short video that clearly illustrated these points. He then presented the results of an analysis he had made of Twitter reports written by various international sources about the Boko Haram organization, which is regularly labeled as an Islamic terrorist group. Almost 60 percent of the tweets that he analyzed fell into the category of “war journalism,” in that their focus was on violence and its consequences, did not mention the background and development of conflict, and described winner-loser scenarios rather than considering the possibility of peaceful “win-win” strategies for all concerned. Only 6 percent of the tweets that he analyzed could be seen as reports in the spirit of peace journalism.

The interest of the audience clearly was stimulated by this topic, which provoked numerous questions and comments. In the ensuing guided discussion the financial and economic aspects of media organizations were considered, as well as the enormous changes brought about by social media, which are expected to increase greatly in the future.

The second part of the UPF event considered the motto given by the United Nations to the 2019 International Day of Peace: “Climate Action for Peace.”

The origins of the International Day of Peace were discussed, as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and the “Climate Action for Peace” motto, which is integral to Sustainable Development Goal 13.

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