Disseminating information or advocating peace? Journalists’ role perceptions in the face of conflict 

SAGE Journalism, 13 August 2018

Abstract

Journalists play an important role in the formation of public opinion and can therefore be regarded as influential actors in conflict resolution. In Colombia, where the peace process remains a highly debated issue, the media are assumed to fuel polarization instead of dialogue. Indeed, deep societal divisions have been unveiled during last year’s plebiscite. In this environment, the concept of Peace Journalism has gained popularity among journalists, as it may promote a more nuanced debate. Against this backdrop, this study explores the role perceptions of Colombian journalists and their compatibility with the premises of Peace Journalism. To provide in-depth insights into journalists’ role conceptions, 16 semi-structured interviews with Colombian journalists were conducted. The results indicate that journalists hold a very active stance and want to influence and engage the public with their work, closely identifying with the role of the public mobilizer.

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