Thirteen communication teachers from all over Mindanao met to explore how media practitioners can contribute to conflict transformation. Fun, personal sharings and insights on conflict and reporting were omnipresent during the training. The training is the component of the Conflict-Sensitive Journalism (CSJ) Certification Program for Teachers. The five-day training was held in partnership between the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network Philippines (PECOJON), the Media Educators of Mindanao (MEM), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and forumZFD.
The framework of CSJ has been developed to respond to the media's strong and often negative influence on conflict dynamics through its power to shape the public opinion and national decision making. Recalling the core values of good journalistic practice - accuracy, balance and impartiality - this approach employs tools of context analysis that help to understand conflict not just as a singular event, but as a social process. Aiming to present the broad picture by giving a voice and a rationale to the goals of different stakeholders, conflict-sensitive journalism is a constructive paradigm that creates space for the peaceful transformation of violent conflict instead of contributing to its escalation.
As part of the training, communication teachers from ten universities and one high school learned about the concept of CSJ and its connection with peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Additional to the technical knowledge on CSJ, the training provided spaces for participants to reflect on their role in conflict dynamics and identify themselves as advocates for peace through CSJ.
In order to receive their certificates, the participants will attend a second training in July and submit their own CSJ articles in this third round of certification hosted by forumZFD. The Conflict Sensitive Journalism Certification Program is part of the forumZFD project promoting the integration of conflict-sensitive journalism in communication curricula and is open to all media educators working at colleges and universities in Mindanao.