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Conflict Sensitive Journalism
A handbook by Ross Howard
12 Apr. 2004

Good journalism is difficult work at the best of times. There is never enough information and not enough time. Reporters rely on their training and standards to overcome these difficulties and deliver news which is accurate and impartial. That is the traditional role of journalism — to enable the public to make well-informed decisions.

However, when a society is threatened by violent conflict, journalism faces greater difficulties. Opposing sides seek to control the media. Information can be unreliable or censored. There is personal risk. But this is also when good journalism is most important.

To provide reliable information to the public in a time of violent conflict requires additional journalism skills. Reporters need to understand more about what causes conflict, and how conflict develops and ends. Reporters need to know where to look for these causes and solutions. By providing this information, journalism makes the public far more well-informed about the conflict beneath the violence, and can assist in resolving it. Reporters need to be aware of this crucial role that journalism can play in a time of conflict.

This handbook offers journalists an introduction to these skills and understanding. It is based on workshops presented by International Media Support (IMS) and IMPACS for experienced reporters and editors in conflict-threatened societies. Its intended function is to be a reminder for the workshop participants later in their work. For other journalists, this handbook can provide a starting point for new skills and new knowledge for reporting on conflict. This knowledge — called conflict sensitive journalism — can make a difference in societies affected by conflict.

Other languages

“Conflict Sensitive Journalism” in Arabic
“Conflict Sensitive Journalism” en français

Other editions

“Conflict Sensitive Journalism” Special edition Myanmar (2014)
“Conflict Sensitive Journalism” Special edition Zimbabwe (2009)
“Conflict Sensitive Journalism” Special edition Kenya (2008)
“Conflict Sensitive Journalism” Special edition Rwanda (2008)