There are many traps for journalists reporting from conflict areas. Next to security risks, they have to constantly ask themselves how to sensibly report on rapidly changing situations, they have to be extra careful about the sources they work with and have to make sure not to worsen possible traumas. Information is key in war situations, but it can easily spark irritation, put new fuel in open wounds, and reproduce stigmatization.
The same counts for reporting on peace processes and transitional justice. For example, in Colombia, journalists are learning little by little how to cover the current developments, and how to responsibly cover processes with specific political and social complex contexts, often faced with threats against the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Meanwhile in Syria, independent and local media are trying to build trust with the audience, far apart from the regime's propaganda and after nine years of war. In this country that is facing a transitional period from an autocratic regime to a democracy, journalists need more expertise and skills for informing the audience independently. And what does this mean for freelancers, who might move in and out of different contexts, and who carefully need to reflect which risks their reporting might bring - especially to their local colleagues and sources. Which kinds of ethical rules apply across different contexts?
Bringing together experiences from journalists with very different backgrounds, we want to discuss the commonalities that we find in our work and exchange best practice experiences. We also want to discuss how we cover conflict and how we cover peace with particular examples that we have faced in our professional experience as journalists covering conflict/peace processes.