Modular Period IV - Seminar 1

Modular Period IV

The Role of the Media in Conflict Prevention and Peace Building
(Alvaro Sierra - invited)


The course discusses the complex role played by the media —and the problems they face— in conflict situations, whether before, during and after the actual conflict. It also addresses the clashing relationships that often occur among media and governments, the military, other armed players and NGOs, international agencies and humanitarian organizations in these circumstances. The course provides a broad understanding of the modern history of media in conflict and war situations, and draws the distinction between information and propaganda, while explaining the ways in which media work and produce information and discusses the different roles they actually play —and the possible ones they could play. The course is intended as a general introduction on these topics. It analyses dozens of examples and draws lessons from contemporary experience.

Can the media be a tool for peace in a broad sense? What kind of role can media play in an escalating conflict, in preventing any greater explosion, in helping in peacekeeping or peace building situations? Should media and journalists have a ‘peace agenda’ and try to save lives, or should they stick to the business of informing and doing it accurately and independently? What are the differences between covering a war in which their own country is involved and covering “other’s wars”, i.e., wars where media are just observers?


The Program reserves the right to changes in schedules.