Aiming to generate academic insights on practicing journalism and communication in a conflict setting, the first international academic conference on conflict-sensitive journalism (CSJ) in Mindanao was held in Ateneo de Davao University last Feb 10-11.
The conference welcomed researchers, communication specialists, and media practitioners from Indonesia, Germany, and from all over the Philippines.
Among the specialists was Dr. Crispin Maslog, who stressed the importance of peace journalism and the age-long process to develop CSJ.
Maslog also stated how media significantly contributed to the solution of conflict, especially in the Christian-Moro Mindanao context.
“It is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed,” he said.
The mainstreaming of CSJ in Southeast Asia was also discussed by journalist Antonia Koop.
According to her, the credibility of CSJ is based on the credibility of those who promote it.
“CSJ requires collaboration — overcome media competition, build solidarity and peer support,” she said.
When it came to mainstream media, researcher Joshua Andres Bon Gilles explained that the Philippine media is biased towards the government and the military.
Gilles highlighted the parts of the article, which quotes, directly and indirectly, a certain actor.
According to him, data distribution in news stories is unequal, as 37 percent of news space is allotted to the government while none is allotted for the communist party.
As the bias is quite challenging to solve, Gilles hopes that practitioners and aspiring journalists will use his research as a catalyst for change.
“For the students, you see what we have now. It’s for you, and it’s for you and for your generation to improve on what we have existing,” he said.
The conference ended with recognition of the conference’s partners, committees and co-organizers, and reflections from the press team and mentors Derf Maiz and Ed Karlon Rama at the university’s Finster Auditorium.
It was held in partnership with ForumZFD, Media Educators of Mindanao, PECOJON, AMIC, and ASEAN Institute of Journalism and Communication.