Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On reporting about peace and calling for a classless society

I'm taking a hiatus from blogging -- and reading emails, reading RSS feeds, Googling, blog hopping -- for a week at least. Lucky me. I am attending the Peace Journalism Seminar of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility both as senior staffmember and participant.

CMFR holds Peace Journalism Seminar
Source: CMFR

The coverage and treatment of violent conflict and war, and peace negotiations have raised questions about the impact of media on these and other national crises. The news agenda should be an independent process, seeking out the facts without external influence. And yet, journalists will be the first to admit that reporting can be colored or biased, as well as sensationalized. Worse, media can submit to contending sides and conduct a war of words, the force of which can harden the will against agreements that lay the ground for permanent peace.

This November, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) has invited more than 20 Manila- and community-based journalists to its Peace Journalism Seminar. The program will provide a shared framework of understanding the issues, with background briefings on the government-initiated peace process, perspectives on insurgency, and the role of the media in these developments, including practical pointers for the media.

Read here for more or visit the CMFR website.

Actually, I have already taken up a short online certificate course on Peace Journalism from the Asian (Konrad Adenauer) Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University last year. But I really look forward to attending CMFR's Peace Journalism Seminar, because CMFR has always cited peace as a critical area of press coverage. Media and Peace, in fact, has been a major concern for CMFR even before it published Media and Peace Reporting in 2000 (For those covering conflict-related issues and peace negotiations between the government and rebel groups, I really suggest reading this comprehensive book). And even before the Philippine Journalism Review and later the PJR Reports have conducted content analyses and monitors on press coverage of Mindanao.

CMFR's Peace Journalism Seminar will tackle and discuss questions such as "Does practicing peace journalism make me more of an advocate than a journalist?" and "How should I report on conflict and peace issues?" plus more.

So here I am in the office spending an overnight trying to finish my stories and other items for the December issue of the PJR Reports. Sigh.

Not that bad though. Blog entries, like the one from Desi below, keep me amused and sane even though I practically live now in the office. Desi is a former election volunteer of CMFR.

My Treatise for a Classless Society

Students! Throw away your books! You can include your sputtering pens and unused notebooks! Just bring yourself and perhaps one of life's basic necessities: instant noodles. Or whatever. Heed my call! Together, we shall march our tattered Chuck Taylors and slippers to wherever our uncorrupted intellect may take us. For we are about to embark on this lifelong struggle for a society that our jovial, freedom-loving, and individualistic societal designation - the student body - has so badly longed for: a classless society.

Tama mga iskulmeyts, isang lipunang walang klase!

And in light of these pronouncements, let me present my treatises why we should skip classes altogether and frolic someplace else with the consenting members of the opposite sex. While the majority of it maybe personal, I do believe that many of you feel that same weight on my back that our older kindred has so unjustly derided as laziness. Injustice, my test cheatmates, injustice!

Read here for more.

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