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JOURNALISTS IN PEACE PROCESSES

Challenges of Integrating Peace Journalism into


Conventional Journalism Practice
Case Study of
LRA Peace Process in Uganda
______________________________

A Thesis
Submitted to
The Faculty of Peace and Conflict Studies
European University Center for Peace Studies

Stadtschlaining -Austria

By

Machrine Birungi
_______________________________________________________

In Partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirements for the Degree

Master of Arts Peace and Conflict Studies

_____________________________________________________

Dr. Jake Lynch, Thesis Supervisor


December 10th 2009

APPROVAL

The undersigned appointed by the Director of studies of the Graduate school,


have examined the thesis entitled
The Challenges of Integrating Peace Journalism into Conventional
Journalism Practice- a case study of the LRA Peace Process
Presented by
Machrine Birungi
And hereby certify that in their opinion, it is worthy of acceptance and has
been approved for meeting the requirements of the European University
Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, for the award of the Degree of
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Peace and Conflict Studies by:

Dr. Jake Lynch


First Supervisor

_____________________________

Dr Nadine Bilke
Second Supervisor

ENDORSED: ______________________________

Dr. Ronald H. Tuschl, Ph.D


Interim Academic Director

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DATE APPROVED: _________________________

DECLARATION

I, Machrine Birungi hereby declare that this submission is my own work and that, to the

best of my knowledge and belief, it contains no material previously published or written

by another person, nor material which to a substantial extent has been accepted for the

award of any other degree or diploma of the university or other institute of higher

learning, except where due acknowledgment has been made in the text.

Signature: ________________________

Machrine Birungi

Date: 10th December 2009

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Challenges of Integrating Peace Journalism into Conventional Journalism

Practice

Case Study of

LRA Peace Process in Uganda

By

Machrine Birungi

Abstract

In spite of the fact that there is vast research by Academicians on the Role of Journalists
in Conflict situations little is known about the Peace Journalism perspective by Journalists
in Developing countries. The overall image that emerges from the literature is negative:
they are incapable, corrupt, unpatriotic, apathetic Journalists with poor reporting
knowledge and Skills.

The thesis analyses the role and challenges of journalists in Peace making Processes. The
coverage of the LRA Peace process between 2006 and 2008 was selected as a case study
within the context of the Peace Journalism Model. This study analyzed factors that could
pave way for Conflict Sensitive Journalism within the context of a Peace Process. The
Researcher also identified the major constraints to Peace Journalism practice in emerging
democracies.

The researcher analyzed Peace Journalism Practice through the Peace Journalism Model,
the Hierarchy of Influences Model theorized by shoemaker and Reese (1996), the
Propaganda model theorized by Herman and Chomsky (1988:2) and Journalism as a field
model theorized by Pierre Bourdieu (1998). The study found out that he media was not
pro-active; hence journalists didn’t analyze the underlying forces that influenced the

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direction of the peace process. This study is part of a growing body of research on Peace
Journalism perspectives. By using a specific Peace process in Africa, this project will
contribute to future research on similar topics.

Dedication
To my Children
Altzwell
Amorita
Ingrid
&
Josephine
Jonah
Jerry

Who waited all too long! Without their Patience, Love, support
Understanding and above all Love, the completion of this work would have
not been possible.

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Acknowledgements
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my academic and research advisor Dr.
Jake Lynch for his guidance and constant support in helping me to conduct and complete
this work. His gentle and firm guidance is much appreciated. I would also like to thank
Dr. Nadine Bilke for her encouragement and her expertise in Conflict Sensitive
Journalism. Dr Jake and Dr Bilke provided me with the tools with which to explore the
past, present and future issues about Peace Journalism.

I am indebted to the Austrian Development Agency for funding my graduate studies at


the European University Center for Peace Studies in Austria. I also express my gratitude
to the entire EPU administration and Dr Lisa Fandhl, the chief Librarian at the Peace
Library, for providing the best research facilities. I must say that I found my studies at
EPU both stimulating and thought provoking.

Many thanks to all the people I have come to know at EPU especially Aloysius Nyanti,
whose friendship and companionship I will always enjoy.

I want to thank all the Ugandan Journalists and especially Sam Guma, for his active
participation in this research.

I owe my sincere appreciation to my Parents; Mr and Mrs Francis Kamara, who have
supported and encouraged me over the years. I especially want to thank my best friend,
Charles Mutegyeki for his inspiration. From the beginning, he had confidence in my
abilities to not only complete my graduate studies, but also complete with excellence.
Finally, I want to extend my profound appreciation to John and Sylvia Stirling family in
London for their love, affection, and invaluable support during my studies and career.

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Table of Contents
Abstract
Declaration
Acknowledgement
Dedication
Acronyms and Abbreviations
List of Figures
List of Tables

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Central Research Question…………………………………………………..
1.2 Objective and Justification ……………………………………………..........
1.3 Core Research Questions…………………………………………………….
1.4 Area covered for study…………………………………………………………
1.5 Need for Context Specific Research…………………………………………
1.6 Central Thesis………………………………………………………………….
1.7 Methodology and Research Approach……………………………………….
1.8 Sampling and Data sources……………………………………………………
1.9 Limitations of the Study ………………………………………………………
1.10 Scope and Relevance of study…………………………………………….
1.11 Organization of the Thesis………………………………………………………

Chapter 2: Media and Conflict History


2.1 History of the Media in Uganda
2.1.1The Press and Broadcast Media ……………………………………
2.1.2 Legal Framework and Code of Ethics………………………….
2.1.3 State Press Relations…………………………………………………
2.1.4 Media Censorship …………………………………………………….
2.1.5 News agencies………………………………………………………….
2.1.6 Media Training…………………………………………………………..
2.2 Background to LRA Conflict………………………………………………….

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2.2.1 The LRA Peace Process………………………………………………..
2.2.2 Chronology of Events………………………………………………
Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature
3.1The Peace Journalism Debate……………………………………………….
3.1.1 Differences between Peace Journalism and Conventional Journalism
3.2 Theoretical Approaches…………………………………………………….
3.2.1 Peace Journalism ………………………………………………….
3.2.2 Mass Communication Theory …………………………………….
3.2.3 Political Economy Theory of the Media……………………………
3.3 Theoretical Frameworks.
3.3.1 Propaganda Model…………..........................................................
3.3.2 Hierarchy of Influences Model……………………………………….
3.3.3 Journalism as a Field………………………………………………..
3.4 Previous Studies………………………………………………………………
3.4.1 Role of Media in Peace Processes……………………………….
3.4.2 Peace Journalism Practice………………………………………..
3.4.3 Media Coverage of the LRA Peace Process…………………….
3.5 Gaps to be filled……………………………………………………………….

Chapter 4: Research Methodology


4.1 Research Design …………………………………………………………………...
4.2 Description of Respondents of the study ………………………………………….
4.2.1 Questionnaire……………………………………………………………
4.2.2 Key Informant Interviews ………………………………………………
4.3 Research instrument……………………………………………………
4.4 Validity and Reliability of the study ………………………………………………….
4.5 Data Gathering procedure……………………………………………
4.5.1 The Questionnaire
4.5.2 Key Informant Interviews
4.6 Statistical Treatment of Data …………………………………………………….

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Chapter 5: Findings and Presentation of Data
5.1 Profile of Journalists who participated in the study
5.1.1 Questionnaire……………………………………………………………..
5.1.2 A Study of Media Coverage of Peace Process…………………………..
5.1.2.1 Knowledge about Conflict Sensitive Journalism
5.1.2.2 Motivation for Peace Journalism Practice
5.1.2.3 Journalists Opinions about Peace Journalism
5.1.3 Factors Influencing Coverage of Peace Process…………………………..
5.1.3.1 Editorial Influence
5.1.3.2 Journalists Training Background
5.1.3.3 Censorship and Propaganda
5.1.3.4 News Sources and Framing
5.1.3.5 Political influence
5.1.3.6 Economic Influence
5.1.3.7 Political-Media-Political Environment………………………
5.2 Disseminating the Peace Story; Peace Journalism Concept versus Media Reality in
Uganda…………………………………………………………………………
5.3 General Findings
5.4 Obstacles to Peace Journalism Practice…………………………………………
5.5 Discussion ……………………………………………..
Chapter 6
6.1 Conclusions
6.2 Lessons Learnt from Media Coverage of the LRA peace Process
6.3 Recommendations for Integrating Peace Journalism into Practice

References
Appendices
Questionnaire to Reporters
Questionnaire to Professionals
Glossary
Approval sheet

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Map of Uganda

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ILLUSTRATIONS

List of figures
1. Knowledge of Peace Journalism
2. Factors influencing Journalists in a Peace Process

List of Tables

1. Major Internal Conflicts in Uganda since 1986


2. Key Twists and Turns in the LRA Peace Process
3. Differences between Peace Journalism and Conventional Journalism
4. Peace Journalism Model
5. Profile of Journalists
6. Profile of Key Informant Interviewees
7. Factors motivating Journalists to Cover the LRA Peace Process
8. News Sources and Types of Stories Handed to Journalists
9. Recommendations for Peace Journalism Practice in Uganda

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Chapter 1
Introduction
1.1 Central Research Question
The central theme of this Thesis is an analysis of the role played by Journalists in a Peace

Process, specifically the LRA peace Process in Uganda. Are they often seen as peace

builders?, Or Peace spoilers? The researcher will also explain the challenges facing the

Media in Uganda in integrating Peace Journalism into practice.

In covering a peace process just like covering conflicts, the Media in Uganda operates in

line with Article 41 (1) of the constitution which states that: "Every citizen has a right of

access to information in the possession of the State or any other organ or agency of the

State except where the release of the information is likely to prejudice the security or

sovereignty of the State or interfere with the right to privacy of any other person." 1

The researcher will apply the Peace Journalism Model and the Hierarchy of influences

model, to analyze the factors and conditions that inhibit Peace Journalism in Uganda. The

Peace Journalism Model (Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005) originally formulated by Johan

Galtung, is a kind of journalism rooted in the choices made in editing and reporting, to

create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995. Kampala, Uganda: Reproduced by the Law Development Center, 1995.

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conflict.2 The study will seek to offer a qualitative analysis to the Peace Journalism

framework relative to a specific Peace Process-The LRA Peace Process in Uganda.

It's worthy noting that there is growing advocacy for Peace Journalism, but as Tehranian

(2002:74) rightly observes, peace journalism appears a difficult practice, because it lacks

case studies in domestic conflicts, in an area where journalism can play a role of conflict

transformation. In order to comprehend the practice of peace journalism in Uganda, one

ought to study the factors that inhibit the journalist's from integrating peace journalism

into practice.

In this study, the researcher will interview Journalists who covered the LRA peace

process, to examine the factors that influenced and motivated their coverage of the Peace

process, how information was gathered and what kind of decisions framed the stories that

were disseminated to the audiences. The purpose is to understand how reality in the

media is shaped and then passed on to the audience. Brand Jacobsen (2000), contends that

the way we understand Violence is instrumental to the way we think about peace and

peace building.3

Carruthers (2000), states that the news and the entire package of the media output, are

shaped by journalist's values as well as the ideological dispositions and institutional

norms of the structures through which their work is organized.4 This implies that the

strength of the journalist's ability to de-escalate conflicts, depends entirely on a more

responsive and a conducive environment and the some of the variable mentioned above
2
Lynch, Jake and McGoldrick, Annabel 2005: Peace Journalism. Stroud: Hawthorn Press
3
Brand Jacobsen, K F 2000 " Peace: The Goal and the Way" in searching for peace: The road to Transcend, eds J,Galtung, C.G
Jacobsen and K.F Brand Jacobsen pp 16-24 London, UK Photo press
4
Carruthers, S.L. (2000). The Media at war: Communication and Conflict in the twentieth Century. New York: St Martin's Press.

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could be seen as the roots that support the journalist. In this case the journalist can be

equated to a tree sprouting from the ground. The strength and beauty of that tree will

depend entirely on the roots that support its growth, strength and sense of direction.

1.2 Objective and Justification

The objective then is to attempt to demonstrate the role of the media in Peace processes,

as a path to peace building. The thesis will look particularly at the LRA peace process and

analyze the specific roles played by the journalists in shaping the peace process and what

factors could have facilitated or riddled these roles.

Researchers who have looked at this subject are: Johan Galtung, Jake Lynch and

Annabell Mcgoldrick, Gadi Wolfsfeld, and Mannoff.

They argue that journalists don’t just observe conflict passively; they can have an

important influence over the way conflicts begin and end. Therefore, it is important that

journalists spend more time understanding, the peace process and the role of the media if

they are to fulfill an ethical responsibility to do no harm. In his alternative Paradigm,

Lynch (2008), argues that journalists undertake rigorous search for the concealed

underpinnings of conflict, recount the legitimate grievances of the adversary/enemy, as

well as set forth opportunities for solutions that are not dictated by war logic of win/lose,

but rather delineate possible win/win outcomes that would flow from the adoption of

peace logic that relies on a politics of reconciliation and an overt dedication to non violent

conflict resolution.5 This therefore implies that journalists can avoid harm if they avoid

portraying conflicts as stage for only two parties, but instead look for the many smaller

5
Lynch Jake, 2008, Debates in Peace Journalism, Sydney University Press 2008.

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groups, trace the links and consequences for people in other places and in the future and

ask questions that may reveal common ground.

Wolfsfeld (2005), argues that the media has a strong influence on the course of the peace

process and defines varieties of news media influence on peace process: defining the

political atmosphere or the debate; influencing the strategy and behavior of political

actors; and raising and lowering public standing and legitimacy of the various

antagonists. This is the initial argument advanced in two new books on peace and the

news media.6 These influences can be linked to journalists as the peace builders or

journalists as the peace spoilers.

Lynch and McGoldrick (2005), on the other hand argues that the idea behind peace

journalism is not only to present facts, but also look for underlying causes of violence and

a variety of perspectives from many sides of the conflict.7

The debate by the two authors, centers on the Journalists potential to impact positively on

any conflict and peace process. There is still however working to be done on the

contextual forces that tend to propel or inhibit the journalists' ability to practice peace

journalism. While other studies have looked at the role of the international Media, and the

role of journalists in broader Peace processes like the IRA, this thesis looks specifically at

the journalists' role in Peace processes in the context of the third world countries, where

the media is strikingly different.

Therefore, the study on the role of the Media in the LRA peace process was spurred by

the desire to understand the factors that underpin peace journalism practice in specific
6
Wolfsfeld Gadi, 2004 Media and the Path to Peace- communication, Society and Politics, Cambridge (u.a) Cambridge University
Press.
7
Lynch, Jake and McGoldrick, Annabel 2005. Peace Journalism. Stroud, UK: Hawthorn Press

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contexts. It is neither a comprehensive study, nor can it claim to be representative, rather

it could be described as a snapshot of attempts at understanding the role of the Media in a

Peace Process, the Strengths, Weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the journalists in

a developing country like Uganda. It is also hoped that the researcher will be able to

analyze whether the Journalists emerge as Peace Builders or Peace spoilers.

While most of the research related to the media and conflict, focuses on the media effect

and role in conflict, there is less research conducted on the role of the Media in Peace

Processes (Wolfsfeld et al 2001, 8 and 46).

My contribution then, compared to how others have treated media and conflict, is to

analyze whether in there attempt at Peace Journalism Practice, Journalists have a

conscious choice of either serving as Peace Builders or Spoilers. The study will highlight

the factors that guide the Media in the coverage of the peace process within a specific

context. It will be vital for the researcher to find out whether the models of coverage

would differ from one media house to another and whether or not the model of coverage

changes over time.

What I argue in this thesis, is that Peace Journalism practice would operate equally in

tandem with other factors, such as Non-restrictive media environment, free press, non –

censorship mechanisms and self regulating media environment among others that have

already been dealt with in other scholarly analysis. But I will also argue in tandem with

Howard (2000) that “The news media is also capable of causing considerable damage

when no-one is intentionally wielding it at all…But its culture of professional and

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financial instincts can drive the media to practices which obsess with violence and

influence opinion in socially destabilizing ways.”8

This thesis focuses on the LRA Peace process. I treat the LRA peace Process not as a

unique case, but rather as one of the outstanding cases for three reasons. The LRA

conflict itself has spanned across two decades, attracting the attention of both local and

international Media. Secondly, the LRA peace process raised several issues related to

Justice and human rights and thirdly the Peace Process which was expected to end the

two-old decade conflict in Northern Uganda hit various stalemates drawing criticism from

both the local, national and international community.

1.3 Core Research Questions

• How does the media coverage of the LRA peace process conform to the Peace

Journalism practice?

• How do Journalists see themselves in a peace process and how do the publics and

key actors in the conflict judge it?

• “Does the media’s involvement in a peace process have a significant role relative

to that process?

• What are the limitations to Peace Journalism practice within the context of a peace

process?

• What are the challenges faced by Journalists covering the Peace Process?

• What are the implications of the findings on the Peace Journalism Theory and its

implementation in the Ugandan Media environment?

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1.4 Area of Study

The research was carried out in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda where the major

media houses are located. Majority of the prominent Journalists that covered the LRA

peace process, work for bigger and prominent Media houses in the country, most of

which are located in the city. .

Kampala is also Home for the governments owned major media house the Uganda

Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, the city is where one of the country's major

Universities – Makerere University is located. Also worth mentioning are the various

institutions of journalism within the city.

1.5 The Need for Context Specific Research

The case of Uganda in the study of possibilities of integrating Peace Journalism into core

journalism practice is pertinent; most of the studies on Peace Journalism have been

pegged on international and global conflicts with few insights into peace processes in

emerging democracies. Uganda is one of the countries in the great lakes region that has

suffered a severe brunt of conflicts. Most of the conflicts are either internal involving

mainly disputes over land or external, involving disputes over border demarcations and

resources.

The table below shows some of the major conflicts that Uganda has been grappling with

over the past 20-years.

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Table 1. Major Internal Conflicts in Uganda since 1986

Region Conflict
Northern Uganda • LRA conflict spanning over a
period of more than 20-years
• Abductions, inhuman atrocities
stir instability in the region.
North Eastern Uganda • Inter-Ethnic conflicts between
Karimajongs and Neighbors over
pastures and water.
• Cattle rustling by Karamajong
Warriors fuels unrest.
Central Uganda • Several Land conflicts between
Bibanja owners and squatters.
• Land conflicts between investors
and squatters.
Western Uganda • Conflict Over Land Between
Bakiga and Banyoro in Kibaale
• Land conflict between Bakonzo
farmers and Basongora Herdsmen
in Kasese district.

The most complex conflict however, has been the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) conflict

in Northern Uganda spanning across two decades, living more than 80,000 people dead

and more than one million people condemned to internally displaced people's camps.

The year 2006 offered a ray of hope when the rebels fighting for power accepted to turn

up for peace talks. But the ray waned into oblivion, when in 2008 the rebels pulled out of

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the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement on grounds that the ICC Indictments

looming over their heads were a source of discomfort to them and an impediment to their

commitment for a peace deal.

The media's role to the events leading to and during the peace process was an issue of

debate, especially in relation to the role they could have played in the peace process.

Media professionals in Uganda raised an alarm on what has been described as "unethical

journalism practice"; characterized by sensational reporting, biased and sloppy sided and

sometimes Public Relations and Propaganda.

The alternative then could have been Peace Journalism Practice. Peleg (2006), defines

Peace Journalism as a bold attempt to redefine and reconstruct the role of journalists who

cover conflicts. In his article, Peace Journalism through the lenses of conflict theory:

analysis and Practice, Peleg states that Peace Journalism as a motivator of peace and as a

promoter of depolarization and de-escalation, (Galtung, in Hackett and Zhao, 2005) can

accomplish a significant role by inspiring journalists to portray disputes in a different

manner than to which they usually ascribe.9 This is what inspired the researcher to

explore the factors that could have influenced media coverage of the LRA peace process

in Uganda.

During Uganda's constitutional making process between 1988 and 2005, majority of the

people stated that they wanted a media, which tells the truth and not lies. They also

yearned for an independent and professional media capable of guiding their thinking and

reflections. They wanted a media that would promote peace and peace building,
9
Samuel Peleg, Peace Journalism through the Lense of Conflict Theory; Analysis and practice. In conflict and
communication online, Vol.5, No 2, 2006 Retrieved on June 23 2009, from www.cco.regener-online.de.

20
Democracy and human rights, development and a culture of constitutionalism. They

wanted a media that was responsible and ethical.10 Evidently covering a Peace Process

could be a litmus test for the parameters set by Ugandans in relation to what they desire to

hear.

The media in Uganda has been a major trumpet from which news about the conflicts is

blown and spread to the mass audiences. Gardner (2001) states "Radio is still the most

powerful mediums in countries where much of the population is illiterate or televisions

are rare, and it is the key means to reach the public with the news and information that

can influence people negatively or positively."11 Williams (1989) explains that people's

dependency on the media is bound to increase in a market oriented with urbanization and

industrialization.12 This notion is given credence by Severin & Tankard (1988) who says

that when there are many changes in society, there is much uncertainty amongst the

public and the public and the dependency on the media for information is high.13

Iyengar and Kinder (1988, 52, 84-85), assert that when citizens sample information about

government and listen to elites and News Junkies who sound alarms, those who are most

directly affected by an issue absorb the information first.14 This is indeed exemplified by

common scenarios in bars, salons or passenger service Taxi. Two men disagree over a

critical issue of national concern. At the height of the argument one of the men says" My

source is the journalist locally known as the "Munamawulire" who I heard say that on

Radio. Mutua (2001), asserts that every morning in Africa, millions of people wake up
10
John Mary Walligo, 2007, The Functions of The Media Council in Uganda in the Promotion and Protection of Professional,
Independent and Pluralistic Media, a paper discussed at a workshop organized by the ford foundation March 27th 2007.
11
Ellen Gardner, (2001) The role of the Media in Conflicts, in Luc Reychler $ Thania Paffenholz's Peace Building, USA, Lynne
Rienner Publishers, inc p 304
12
Williams F, (1989). The New Communications. Belmont California: Wadsworth
13
Severin, W.J & Tankard, J.W. (1988). Communication Theories, New York : Longman
14
Iyengar, Shanto and Donald R. Kinder . 1988. News that Matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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and tune in to government controlled radio stations and listen to the news…many believe

that the radio and Newspapers are never wrong, those who are skeptical of their local

sources tune in to the BBC, Voice of America.15

Media affect individuals and groups in a complex variety of ways. Media function to

establish the salience of issues and direct the agenda of public debate (Brewer and

McCombs, 1996; Cohen, 1963; Kiousis, 2004; McCombs and Shaw, 1972; Miller and

Krosnick, 2000; Nelson, Clawson, Testing a Political Economic Theory of the Media 813

and Oxley, 1997). (Cappella and Jamieson, 1997; Fiske and Taylor, 1984; Iyengar and

Kinder, 1987) also note that Media coverage also acts as a stimulus to prompt, or prime,

individuals to associate new information with preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and

opinions.16

However, although the media remains a strong pedestal from which information is

attained, news and information about conflicts, disputes and violence reflect the Knee-

jerk ‘reactive-the “Churn out the story” concept, which remains the hallmark of

traditional journalism practice in Uganda. Compared to the pro-active journalism, the

reactive oriented journalists are inclined towards the bad, lazy, non-analytical journalism,

which ignores any ability to pave an inroad into their own expectations about the peace

process they are covering. There are no pre-formed and pre-conceived expectations,

which could shape the trend of the peace process; instead the journalists will wait for the

outcome usually handed down to them by the sources. For the Reactive Oriented

Journalist, the peace process is seen as any event, it’s an object that can be described in
15
Mutua A. N. 2001, A study of Propaganda and the press In Africa. Retrieved on June 26, 2009 from http://
www.geosocieties.com/a-mutua/propaganda.html
16
Iyengar, Shanto and Donald R. Kinder . 1988. News that Matters . Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Public Policy: The
Essential Readings, 1987. pp. 295-305)

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terms of size, shape, activeness or passiveness to the environment around it. Reactive

Journalism lends itself to external criticism and pressure and internal turmoil and self-

doubt, among journalists themselves who have a growing pre-occupation with whether

what they do is ethical, fair and balanced.

Pro-active journalism on the other hand, lends itself to analytical reporting of the peace

process, all told from the point of view of an investigative officer. Pro-active journalism

challenges the reporter to blend the story with the 3Fs and V- Focuss, Facts, Faces, and

voices from the communities affected by the conflict. These in turn give the Peace

process a human angle; explain why the peace process is important and crucial for the

people in the communities. Pro-active journalism is a consequential approach to the story,

it is not the normative, but rather issue focused.

There is a lot of non-analytical reporting of the conflict reporting; the winner versus

Looser approach and not the peace Journalism practice which according to Jake Lynch

(2005), peace journalism is when " Editors and Reporters make choices of what stories to

report and about how to report them – that create opportunities for society at large to

consider and value non violent responses to conflict".

Often times the media in Uganda has been blamed for lighting the spark of conflict by

taking sides, reporting by proxy and therefore failing to give the true picture on the

ground. But on the other hand are the social, political and economic inhibitors to peace

journalism practice in the country.

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This thesis is vital because most of the research on the Media and conflict in Uganda has

been inclined toward the Role of the media in War and conflict. Some occidental research

has shown that the media is unable; ill prepared; ill equipped and ill trained to play any

significant role in de-escalating conflicts. While general research into Media and conflict

is crucial in drawing general conclusions, a specific context research on Media and Peace

Journalism practice is vital in understanding the factors, reasons and explanations why

journalists behave differently in specific contexts.

1.6 Central Thesis

The role of the Journalists in a peace process could be viewed from the disconnect

between media functions and Media preference for war and violence, as opposed to Peace

stories.

Bob Hacket (2004), states that among the points of departure are that; the media should

be involved in the promotion of peace, that peace coverage is hindered by the absence of

the peace discourse in the professional Media repertoire and that the creation and

development of peace oriented Media discourse, can be assisted by three conceptual

elements namely; the existing strategies employed by the media to cover peace, the

competition in the Media among the dominant and alternative frames in which news

value, is the measure of success and the constitutive rhetoric.

But while the absence of the peace discourse in the mainstream inhibits journalists from

playing a positive role in peace building”, it is worthy to note that this factor alone works

within a framework of so many other factors such as; Historical influences, political

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influences, the media environment, training background and the economic factors. These

can be categorized as either the facilitators or precipitators of the journalist's role in a

peace process.

Historical, political and economic factors, intermingle to explain why when covering a

peace process, journalists would prefer to focus on the spoils, sharp differences, moments

of tension, disagreements or conflict between negotiating parties rather than focus on

moments of harmony, agreements and shaking of hands. Galtung and Ruge (1970) and

Bird and Dardene (1988) argue this out more appropriately. War, and disagreements

provide visuals and images of action, it is associated with heroism and conflict and

focuses on the emotional rather than on the rational and satisfies News Value demands:

the unusual, dramatic, action, simplicity and results.

This thesis therefore serves to show that the failure by journalists to play a conflict

sensitive role in the peace process, results from the journalist’s inability to marry these

factors with the Peace Journalism paradigm. For example government interference can be

seen as a precipitating route, through which the Media fails in its attempt to take a

different route in shaping the peace process. When a journalist is directed just like a blind

man on where to go or not to go, or who to talk and who not to talk during the peace

negotiations, it becomes apparent, that just like a sunflower which follows every

movement of the sun, the journalist becomes a follower and not a messenger of the peace

crusade.

25
1.7 Methodologies and Research Approach

The main method for data collection was the qualitative method. Chambliss and Schutt

(2003) state that the qualitative method has various advantages; it provides room for

flexibility, has a participatory element and has a human feel, the method deals with

perceptions, feelings and emotions. Two methods were applied in this thesis – In-depth

Phone interviews with Journalists who covered the LRA peace process, Reporters,

Editors, Media Trainers and Analysts and the questionnaires, which were intended to

provide an insight into the perceptions, norms, practices and routines of the media.

The second method was the Key interview informants targeting mainly the experts on

Uganda's media industry.

1.8 Sampling and Data Sources: Primary and Secondary


The researcher's interest was to get as many journalists, media Trainers and experts as she

could, in order to get a good overview of the media's role in the peace process context.

The researcher selected her interviewees based on their relevance and interest in the

research topic and their readiness to talk and participate. The researcher interviewed

mainly the journalists who were involved in covering and writing about the LRA peace

process. She also talked to a few editors to get their perceptions about peace Journalism.

1.9 Limitations of the Study


The research is intended to analyze the Peace Journalism principles and their applicability

to specific contexts. Using the LRA peace process, the researcher is bent on identifying

26
the challenges of integrating Peace Journalism practice into mainstream conventional or

traditional Journalism practice.

The main limitation for the researcher was lack of physical access to primary sources- the

public, local stringers and all parties involved in the peace process. Most of the interviews

were via the phone and this could have had an effect on the length of time dedicated for

each interview.

Additionally, results from the questionnaires may not be considered conclusive, because

of the small sample of respondents. The Researcher managed to get 20 respondents out

the 50 questionnaires sent out. The primary data came from the questionnaires and

interviews were being used to validate some of the responses and issues raised in the

study.

1.10 Scope and Relevance of the study


This study is expected to provide a significant insight into the Role of the media in Peace

Process. It will also provide findings on the major factors which influence the Peace

journalism practice within the context of emerging democracies. The study also spells out

recommendations for the media in Uganda, on how best they can integrate Peace

Journalism in mainstream Journalism practice. Overall the study will be vital for

Journalists, Trainers and the editors in trying to appreciate and apply the peace Journalism

concept into the curricular and training. Equally so, the study could provide a basis for

reviewing the possibilities of integrating peace journalism into mainstream journalism

practice.

27
1.11 Organization of the Thesis
This research project consists of five main chapters and a conclusion. Chapter One looks

at the background of the study spelling out the core research question and the significance

of the study.

Chapter Two looks at the History of the media in Uganda. The chapter essentially shows

that the media in Uganda is still in the traditional or conventional journalism stage, the

Media has emerged from a post colonial and post conflict environments, lacks proper

standards and professionalism remains elusive. This stage reflects partial control by the

state and narrow approach to the crucial issues in society. This chapter also gives the

background to the LRA conflict.

In Chapter Three, theoretical approaches to the study are spelt out and related previous

research will be reviewed. Chapter Four then explains the methodology and describes

how the study is conducted. In Chapter Five, the findings are analyzed and presented.

Results are discussed and concluded in Chapter six. Final recommendations for further

studies are then made.

28
Chapter 2

History of the Media and LRA Conflict


2.1 History of the Media in Uganda

2.1.1 The Press and Broadcast Media

The history of the press in Uganda can be traced right from 1900 when the first newsletter

was published by the Church Missionary society.17 This was followed by Ebifa mu

Uganda (News from Uganda) in 1907, Muno (My Friend) 1911, the Uganda Herald

(1912).

After almost a decade, New Newspapers started emerging, Mmatalisi (The messenger)

1923, Gambuze (What is the News) 1927, Mugobansonga (follower of reason) 1948 and

Ndimugezi (the wise) in 1951. Three newspapers emerged in 1953- Amut (News),

Mwebingwa and Uganda empya (New Uganda). Saben’s Commercial Digest, Uganda

Mail, and Uganda Post followed this all in 1954. The Uganda Argus was founded in 1955

followed by Ebifa Mu Uganda" (News from Uganda), a fortnightly missionary

Newspaper which was first published in 1956, Kitchen (1956).18 According to Wilcox

(1975) colonial powers had a strong influence on the development of the press in Africa

and Uganda. "They introduced a rather authoritarian press concept restricting the growth

of the indigenous press because they believed other papers did not carry information of

vital interest to them.19 Newspapers were subject to restrictions imposed by the colonial

authorities, including the Newspapers Surety Freedom of Ordinance No. 9 of 1910 and

17
Media Freedom in Uganda- A self Reflection Survey. East Africa Media Institute, Uganda Chapter. Retrieved on June 22 2009
from:www.fesuganda.or.ug/files/Media_Freedom_in_Ug.pdf
18
Kitchen. H 1956, the Press in Africa. Washington D.C: Ruth Sloan Association.
19
Wilcox, D.L. 1975, the Press in Black Africa: Philosophies and Control. New York: Praenger.

29
the Press Censorship Ordinance No. 4 of 1915, which penalized publication of

information regarding British military activity.20

Today, Uganda has four major national daily newspapers of which The New Vision, the

State-owned paper, has the largest circulation of about 35,000 copies. This paper has four

regional subsidiary papers in local languages. The Daily Monitor and The Observer are

the largest privately owned newspapers; the monitor has former a circulation of about

25,000 copies per day. Despite the strides in the print media, low levels of literacy and the

costs of newspapers restrict their impact. “”Even so, the print media have given a

significant voice to varying political views and the government has previously sought to

limit the free expression of opinion in newspapers through law suits, threats and

restrictions on publication and reporters. Even the State-owned The New Vision is neither

averse to criticizing the government nor immune from government criticism.21

The Broadcast Media

In 1954, Uganda got its first Radio station followed by a Television Station in the 1962.

These media was established by the then British Governor Sir Andrew Cohen who saw it

as a tool of information and education, hence spreading the colonialist propaganda. Until

recently, the media in Uganda was viewed from the colonialist point of view, a tool for

individualistic and elitist reporting, targeting mainly those who can read and write.

In the first twenty-five years of independence, mass media in Uganda largely echoed

Government interests and failed to provide the complete spectrum of information

necessary to generate public debate and encourage government accountability.22

20
ibid
21
Speaking Out for Free Expression, 2007, retrieved on June 27th 2009 from www.article19.org/speaking-out/uganda
22
Uganda Media Development Foundation, the State of Media Freedom in Uganda, 2006, pp. 2-3.

30
In 1993, the government liberalized the media, paving way for the emergence of private

radio stations, more Television stations and Newspapers. The main purpose for

Liberalization was to bring vital information closer to the people, who need it for

development purposes. For the first time in the history of the media in Uganda, the

citizens were able to actively participate in the media environment through talk shows,

open forum debates and phone INS. Through Radio, the people found a platform used to

transmit their views and opinions, about the programs and policies affecting the country.

This was in line with article 29 (1) of Uganda's constitution which states that: " Every

person shall have a right to: Freedom of speech and expression, which shall include

freedom of the press and other media."23

Media liberalization is a milestone in the history of Uganda's Media industry, because it

brought with it the positive possibilities and plausibility of a vibrant media. From the

positive point of view, the liberalized media has opened more media platforms for the

people both in the urban and rural parts of Uganda. Most notable among the media

platforms are the more than 100 radio stations operating across the country and the

newspapers published both in English and the local languages. In addition Uganda has

about 10 television stations, but statistics show that radio remains the most popular source

of news and information with over 64% listener ship. In contrast, 3% of Ugandans rely on

television while only 1% depends on newspapers.24

23
Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, retrieved on April 30th 2009 from: www.ugandaonlinelawlibrary.com
24
Osservatorio di Pavia, Report on the Uganda 2006 Elections Media Coverage, 2006, pp. 2.

31
A survey carried out by the Broadcasting council in 1996, however found out that the

Media bed was not as rosy as it appeared to be.25 There were Unequal opportunities for

ownership of media outlets; there was too much Focus on entertainment at the expense of

education and information programming, Prevalence of inappropriate programming and

the Absence of regulation to guide the local production sector. Though ideal, there is no

written code that demands of the journalist to stick to Educational and informative

programming.

The survey also found out that there was uneven access to television, particularly in rural

areas, inadequate local content, especially on television and Inadequate developmental

programming and children's programming. More so was the Failure to enforce minimum

broadcasting standards, Lack of a clear mandate for the different types of broadcasters,

Inadequate training facilities resulting into Low professional standards and Absence of

minimum technical standards?

2.1.2 The Legal Framework and Code of Ethics


The media in Uganda operates within a legal regulatory framework. Article 29 (1) of the

1995 constitution of Uganda states: "Every person shall have the right to freedom of

speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media." But

this freedom is contradicted and further restrained by Article 41 (1) of the constitution

which states that: "Every citizen has a right of access to information in the possession of

the State or any other organ or agency of the State except where the release of the

25
Analysis of the Present State of the Media, Challenges and the Way forward, retrieved on June 24th 2009, from
www.wougnet.org/ICTpolicy/ug/...RoleElectronicMedia Uganda.doc.

32
information is likely to prejudice the security or sovereignty of the State or interfere with

the right to privacy of any other person." 26

Media observers in Uganda have noted with concern that "this provision in the law makes

investigative journalism very difficult, because it raises numerous questions, which

remain unclear since there is no attempt to answer them. Some of the critical questions

raised are: Whose privacy is protected? Who decides when the invasion to privacy has

occurred? Such lack of clarity, media observer's note, directly impedes the fact-finding

and reporting capabilities of journalists. Finally, the ominous possibility that media

investigations might jeopardize the security of the state raises the bar and poses the ever-

present possibility that charges of treason, not merely privacy violations, could result".27

The other law though visibly obsolete is the penal code. Section 50 of the Penal Code

provides for the criminal prosecution of defamation and the threat or use of this

legislation was until 2004 used to deter critical reporting on the activities of government.

But with the review of the libel laws in 2004, section 50 of the penal code was declared

‘unconstitutional’. The Penal Code Act also provides prosecution for any media

practitioner found liable for sedition, public incitement, publication of false news and

criminal defamation.28

The Press and Journalists Statute 1995 provide for a disciplinary committee whose role is

to hear complaints, allegations of professional misconduct, and other inquiries. the Statute

spells out a nine-point code of conduct which among others addresses issues of disclosure
26
The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995. Kampala, Uganda: Reproduced by the Law Development Center, 1995.

27
Uganda Press, Media, TV, Radio Newspapers, retrieved on April 30th 2009 from www.pressreference.com /Sw-Ur/Uganda.html
28
Penal Code act 1953-1969, revised 1976, Sections 37 to 51, Retrieved on June 27, 2009 from
http://www.ugandaonlinelawlibrary.com/files/free/the-penal-code-act.pdf

33
of sources of information, bribery, denying a person a legitimate claim of right to reply to

a statement, separating opinion from factual news, correcting any damage done through

factual error and discouraging the dissemination of information designed to promote or

having the effect of promoting tribalism, racism or any other form of discrimination.29

The press and Journalists statute 1995 also created the National Institute of Journalists of

Uganda- NIJU to which all practicing journalists are required to belong. NIJU was

intended for establishing and maintaining professional standards; foster the spirit of

professional fellowship among journalists; encourage, train, equip and enable journalists

to play their part in society; and to establish and maintain mutual relationships with

international journalists' organizations.

The Press and Journalists statute even prescribes the type of education full members of

the institute should have. According to the statute, a full member is required to be a

holder of a university degree in journalism or mass communication. Alternatively a

person may be a full member if he or she has a university degree in any other field plus a

qualification in journalism or mass communication and has practiced journalism for at

least one year.30 The law stipulates that all who work in journalism, unless the worker

possesses the longer-term certificate, requires a practicing certificate valid for one year.

The penalty for noncompliance is a fine of US$170 or three months of imprisonment.

Nonetheless, many journalists practice without these certifications, and the law in not

normally enforced.

29
The Press and Journalist Statute, 1995. Kampala, Uganda: Reproduced by the Law Development Center, 1995.
30
ibid

34
The Electronic Media act31 passed in 1996, created the broadcasting council a body

charged with the licensing and regulation of radio and television stations and The

Electronic Media Act also tasks the Broadcasting Council with standardizing, planning,

managing, and allocating the frequency spectrum dedicated to any broadcasting station.

In 1997, Parliament passed the Uganda Communications Act32, establishing the Uganda

Communications Commission (UCC). By statute, the UCC regulates the national

communications sector, setting and ensuring compliance with national communication

standards, encouraging research, private investment and competition and promoting

consumer interests with regard to quality and equitable distribution of services. The UCC

is also responsible for licensing and regulating communication services and allocating

radio frequency spectrum. In this regard, broadcast media owners have voiced frustration

over the visible overlap in the roles of the UCC and the Broadcasting Council.

The Access to Information Act compels public institutions to publish information of

significant public interest. The act however bars sanctions for releasing in good faith

information on wrongdoing, or that, which would disclose a serious threat to health,

safety of the environment, except where the sanctions serve a legitimate interest and are

necessary in a democratic society.

Also worth mentioning is the Anti-Terrorism Law, which is intended to regulate the way

journalists report about the state institutions. The Anti-Terrorism Law was enacted in

2002. The law imposes the death sentence for journalists who air or publish information

deemed to promote terrorism. Media activists however maintain that the Anti-terrorism
31
Electronic Media Act, (Cap 104) 2000, retrieved on June 4th 2009 from www.amarc.org
32
Uganda Communications Act, 1997, Retrieved on June 4th 2009 from www.ucc.co.ug/ucaCap106LawsOfUganda.pdf

35
law was designed to block journalists from reporting on the war in the northern Uganda.

The law also makes it criminal for journalists to interview people the government

considers to be terrorists. Under the Anti-Terrorism law, journalists in Uganda are

compelled to reveal sources in court. In addition, police do not need warrants to seize

journalistic material. According to Andrew Mwenda a veteran Journalist and founder of

the Independent Magazine, "The law effectively blocks journalists from “arranging

interviews with people whom the government considers to be terrorists—an activity

essential to journalistic coverage of many conflicts within the state,”33

The media in Uganda is also guided by some non-statutory mechanisms, which include

the Broadcasting council, which was established in 1998 to regulate the media. The

Broadcasting Council is responsible for the licensing and operations of radio and

television; publishing a code of ethics for broadcasters in consultation with the Media

Council; and standardizing, planning and managing the frequency spectrum. The

Broadcasting Council is also charged with licensing and operations of cinematography

theatres and videotape libraries.

The media council on the other hand was created by the Press and Journalist Statute

(1995) as a relatively independent expert body for regulating the media. The functions of

the Media council are to regulate the conduct and promote good ethical standards among

journalists; to arbitrate disputes between the public and the state and the media; to

exercise disciplinary control over journalists, editors, and publishers; to promote the flow

of information; to censor films, video tapes, plays and other related media for public

33
Andrew Mwenda, 2008, Attacks on the Press,: retrieved on April 27th 2009 from http://cpj.org/2009/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-
2008

36
consumption; and to do for the press anything that may be authorized or required by any

other law.

2.1.3 State- Press Relations

Explanations about the relationship between the Press and the state differ from one

regime to another. During the Amini era, working as a journalist was described as one of

the most risky jobs. Many journalists were killed without having due legal opportunity to

defend their actions.

Museveni's regime traced from 1986, ushered in a new era of press freedom, which until

recently, flourished with less interference. The media has been seen as a partner in many

of the government programs and this is evident in how president Museveni tends to react

when he feels the media has crossed his defined boundaries.

Although journalists in Uganda enjoy a relative Liberal media environment, the

independent Media has come under increasing attack from a variety of sources.

Journalists have at times been threatened, intimidated and harassed. In 2008, the media

was bombarded by the president's wrath for making critical comments on; Government’s

failure to end the War in Northern Uganda, Government's involvement in the conflict in

the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Weak political and economic policies.

In this thesis, the author cites some of the striking incidents, which show how the long

arm of the Government has threatened to drain out the ink from the journalist's pen and to

trash the scripts. In June 2008, during the official opening of the Parliamentary Session in

June 2008, President Museveni was quoted saying that; “A newspaper has no right to

damage our future; you publish one false story, immediately it is on the Internet and all

37
over the world. You have no right.”34 Such a statement only serves to intimidate the

journalists and subjugate them into a level of tepidness.

In another lash at the press, president Museveni was in July 2008 quoted by the Daily

Monitor Publication saying that;

“People are talking a lot of rubbish on these radios. They are very poisonous and

this is unacceptable. Do they think we fought in the bush to come here and play?

We, the liberators of this country are still around. Where do they think our

strength went? They are telling lies and lies are unacceptable. They will be

stopped. They will stop!”35

This statement was in response to the criticisms against the government and the president

aired on the local talk shows popularly known as "Ebimeza" (Roundtable Talk show)

In 2003, The Monitor, Uganda's largest independent newspaper, was put under a gag after

the paper published reports indicating that a Constitutional Review Commission rejected

a Cabinet proposal to lift the two-term limit on the presidency. In retaliation, government

sought a court injunction banning the paper from publishing details of the leaked report.

Court ruled that The Monitor should wait for the CRC to submit its final report to the

government before publishing its details.

In May 2003, three journalists from the monitor Newspaper publication were charged in

court for publishing false news and information prejudicial to the National Security. The

charges against the journalist stem from an article that was published in the paper alleging

that the Lords Resistance Army –LRA rebels had shot down a Uganda Peoples Defense
34
Attacks on the press in 2008: Uganda, retrieved on June 27, 2009 from www.cpj.org/2009/02/attacks-on.the-press-in -2008-uganda
35
Museveni Attacks Stupid FM Radios: July 24 2008, Retrieved on June 27th 2009 from
www.monitor.co.ug/artmen/publish/news/Museveni-attacks-stupid FM-Radios-68715.shtml.

38
Forces (UPDF) army helicopter. Police also raided the monitor offices and several

computers were seized.36

In response, police raided The Monitor's offices, seized equipment, and closed the paper

for one week in October 2002.37

In June 2003, the Catholic church-owned Radio Kyoga Veritas in Soroti, northeastern

Uganda, was ordered to close business after the radio station aired interviews with people

fleeing LRA attacks.38 Father Athanasius Mubiru, the Station manager said his station

was accused of subversion and of promoting the rebel cause because the interviewees said

they had not been mistreated.

The state press relations in Uganda can be best summarized by a statement made by

Nabusayi Linda Wamboka, former president of the National Institute of Journalists in

Uganda, who in 2003 told Committee for Protection of Journalists that;

"The main problem facing the press is "working under insecure conditions,"

including threats of persecution and beatings, especially when dealing with

politically sensitive issues". 39

2.1.4 Media Censorship


Kean (1991) states that "Censorship can take up residence within ourselves, spying on us,

a private amanusuensis who reminds us never to go too far”40 in his book The Media and

Democracy (1991), Kean regards state censorship as a phenomenon which continues in

36
"Army Denies Losing Chopper", The New Vision, October 11, 2002 retrieved on May 5th from the New Vision Newspaper
Archives.
37
Police Raid Ugandan Paper”, Friday, 11 October, 2002, Retrieved on June 27, 2009, from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2319679.stm
38
Museveni Closed Soroti FM Radio- July 20,2003; Retrieved on May 2nd 2009 from The Monitor Newspaper archives,
39
Attacks on the Press-Uganda: Retrived on May 2nd 2009 from http://cpj.org/2004/03/attacks-on-the-press-2003-uganda.php
40
Kean, John. Media and Democracy. Polity Press. Cambridge 1991

39
modern democracies. He identifies a tendency toward the creation of mutually protecting

undemocratic processes within and between modern capitalistic societies.

According to Keane, Governments use a number of mechanisms to regulate and distort

the exchange of information and opinions between their citizens. These can include legal

tools, such as secret services declaring 'emergency situations' or initiating pre- or post-

censorship of publications for state security reasons, or simply lying to the public about

governmental actions or positions.

The history of the media in Uganda can't be complete without an insight into Media

censorship.

Ellen Gardner (2001), states that in many countries the governments controls the media,

therefore journalists have to "toe the government line".41 In the case of Uganda, the

government controls the New Vision newspaper, right from the content, to the circulation

of the paper. In September 2002, the New Vision Newspaper published a story titled

"Government Appeals to Italy over Kony".42 The government used its own paper to launch

an appeal to Italy to use its long established contacts in Northern Uganda to help

negotiate Peace with the LRA leader, Joseph Kony.

Privately owned Newspapers like the Independent Monitor Newspaper, have often times

come under censorship often for publishing what are considered controversial stories

about the LRA conflict. The Newspaper was in 2002 ordered to close, after the editors

41
Ellen Gardner, 2001, the role of the Media in Conflicts, in Luc Reychler $ Thania Paffenholz's Peace Building, USA, Lynne Rienner
Publishers, Inc p 303.
42
Government Appeals to Italy Over Kony, The New Vision, Friday, September 2002.retrieved from New Vision Archives on May
3rd 2009

40
published a story considered by the government as misleading and a threat to National

Security. The story that the Army helicopter had been shot down by the LRA rebels.

In their study of media systems in Africa, De Beer et-al noted that press freedom does not

only refer to the right of journalists to publish news without interference, but it also

means the right of the people to express themselves in the media of public communication

without being curtailed by those who wield political, economic or other powers. We

know that the press does not operate in a vacuum, so it is difficult to run away from the

influence of the existing political-socio-economic structures. What should be put in place

are safeguards to ensure minimum influence.43

One of the official functions of the media council is to censure offensive materials,

mainly pornography and any such materials considered racist, sectarian or tribalistic. But

the police who crack down on the promoters of pornography and also take time to

interrogate the journalists suspected of publishing seditious materials has often times

usurped the powers of the media council.

In commemoration of the 2008 World Press Day, The Uganda Parliamentary Press

Association issued a statement denouncing what they described as the archaic and

Repressive laws being used by the state to trample on the rights of the press. “Using such

archaic and repressive laws, the executive has often trampled upon the rights of

journalists,” The Journalists also noted that “Even while many of the cases have been

won in our favor, the end result of police interrogation and detention over stories we

publish has been self-censorship, a worse crime.”44

43
De Beer A.S., Merrill J. Global journalism: Topical issues and media systems. Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, Boston, USA 2004:474 pp.

44
Attacks on the Press, 2009, retrieved on May 5th 2009 from http://cpj.org/2009/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-2008-uganda.php

41
Rachel Mugarura Mutana, editor-in-chief of the Uganda Radio Network best summarizes

the media censorship in this statement she made to CPJ in 2008: "Government

intimidation tactics encouraged self-censorship among many rural radio stations, There is

a feeling of powerlessness for many rural stations,” Mutana said. “A radio station [that]

operates on $100, $200 a month wouldn’t even think of hiring a lawyer. So when they see

a giant like the Monitor being harassed by the state, they cower.”45

2.1.5 News Agencies

The Uganda News Agency (UNA) was until recently the major National News agency in

Uganda. But with the Liberalization of the media other private news agencies in Uganda

have sprung up supplying news mainly to the ever growing print and electronic industry.

One of the outstanding private News Agencies is the Uganda Radio Network –URN.

Established in 2005, Uganda Radio Network hit the Media scene with a major aim of

gathering, processing and syndicating News that affects the people and impact news.

Today, URN is the main source of information for more than 100 private, commercial,

religious and community radio stations in Uganda.

Another News agency is the Ultimate Media, which provides more of Print news stories

to some Radio stations and TV stations. In addition to the private News agencies is the

international News agency whose presence is felt through the international Journalists

resident and executing their duties in Uganda. Some of the international News agencies

are Reuters, Agency France Press, Associated Press, and the Chinese News Agency –

Xhinua.

45
Attacks on the Press, 2008, Retrieved on May 5th 2009 from http://cpj.org/2009/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-2008-uganda.php

42
2.1.6 Media Training

The First Journalism Degree training program was introduced in 1988 by The Mass

Communication department at Makerere University. But the liberalization of the

education sector has witnessed a number of private universities like Kampala

International University, Uganda Christian University, Nkumba University, Ndejje and

Islamic University Uganda offering various degree programs in Journalism.

In her Research paper; "Reshaping the Agenda for Media Training and Research'',

Nassanga Gorreti (2007), found out that the Journalism training curricular is mainly

oriented towards Communication and Journalism skills. " it was found out that most

training aims at equipping journalists with Knowledge and skills in News reporting under

"Normal times".46

In addition to the Universities, there are more than 15 private journalism-training

institutions that provide diploma and certificate training programs in Journalism. In 2004,

with funding from the Friedrich Ebert foundation, a team from the Private journalism

training institutions came together and developed the First ever National Syllabus for

Journalism Training. The syllabus now in its fifth year of implementation was an attempt

by the training institutions to harmonize journalism training. The syllabus features mainly

conventional journalism training specifically on core journalism skills like News Writing

and Reporting, Newspaper and Magazine Production, Public Relations, and Radio

Production. The Journalists are also expected to study support subjects like political

science, research methods, sociology and Computer science. Upon completion of their

46
Nassanga, G.L.2007. Twenty Years of Conflict in Northern Uganda: Reshaping the Agenda for Media
Training and Research, in GMJ: Mediterranean Edition 3(2) Fall 2008

43
course units, the journalist trainees are examined by the Uganda National Examinations

Board- (UNEB), which awards the diplomas.

In addition to the core Journalism Training institutions, are the Journalism Associations

whose responsibility is to monitor journalism professionalism and continuous training

opportunities to practicing journalists. Such institutions include the Uganda Journalists

Association, National Institute of Journalists of Uganda, the, the Uganda Sports Press

Association -USPA, and the Uganda Media Women's Association-UMWA and The East

Africa Media Institute.

In a nutshell, it's also worthy to note that in 1995, Uganda ratified the international

covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR). This covenant in part states that "

everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression: this right shall include freedom to

seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers either

orally, in writing or in print."

Uganda is obliged to abide by article 19 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights

which states: " Everyone has a right that includes freedom to hold opinion and

expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,

receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”.47

In May 1986, Uganda ratified the African charter on Human and people's rights, which

provides general protection of freedom of expression. Uganda is therefore obliged to

abide by the declarations of the principles on freedom of expression in Africa passed by

the African Commission on Human and People's rights in October 2002. As a member,

Uganda is expected to guarantee freedom of expression, promote media diversity, allow

47
Universal Declaration of Human Rights; retrieved on June 20th 2009 from www.un.org/en/documents/udhr

44
access to public information create independent regulatory bodies for broadcast and

telecommunications and to encourage editorial independence.

Uganda is also expected to promote an economic environment in which media can

flourish, prevent attacks on the media and to ensure that Laws on defamation follow the

agreed standards not to restrict freedom of expression on public order or National

security.

2.2 Background to the LRA Conflict

The LRA has for more than two decades stood on the stage of conflict. The conflict,

which sparked off shortly after the National Resistance Movement-NRM Liberation war

in 1986, was born out of mistrust by the Northerners in the ruling National Resistance

Movement regime. Museveni (1997) states "it was purely tribal opportunism, the reason

why those rebels in the north, organized on a tribal basis, were fighting to control the

national government which had stopped them from looting".48

But in an 1986 interview published in The Democratic Uganda Coalition newsletter, the

LRA spokesperson at the time described the reasons for the conflict as "a Rejection of

President Museveni who they described as a self-imposed dictator, denying Ugandans

their Human rights, selling Uganda to foreigners and turning Uganda into a terrorist camp

where he trains and supports guerilla forces against neighboring countries."49

The Lords Resistance Army- LRA rebel Leader, Joseph Kony, quickly emerged as the

major opponent to President Museveni's regime. He contended that his sole aim was to

overthrow the government of Uganda and pronounced that he intended to rule the country
48
Museveni Y.K. 1997. Sowing the Mustard seed. New York: Macmillan Publishers.
49
Museveni's Regime Comes Under Attack: Retrieved on May 3rd 2009 from UDC newsletter 5(3) available at
http://www.africa2000.com/UGANDA/udco711.html.

45
on the basis of the ten commandments of the bible, quite contrary to the actions of the

rebel group, which has been found liable for several atrocious activities.

The LRA are believed to have abducted more than 20,000 people many of who remains

unaccounted for. The rebel force is also accused of rape, conscription of children into

rebel ranks with 85% of the LRA ranks consisting of the children.50

According to Resolve Uganda a local NGO, " Behind the brutality of the LRA leader

Joseph Kony, and his top commanders lies a deeper story- a history of division and

discord in Uganda that gave rise to the rebellion and that still casts a storm cloud over the

country's future".51 This is credited further by Human Rights Watch (1997) which asserts

that despite efforts by government to stamp out this conflict, the LRA have also persisted,

never strong enough to seriously destabilize the government, but never weak enough to

die out completely.52

2.2.1 The LRA Peace Process

Although the LRA peace process was initiated in 2004, this study covers the period

between 2006 and 2008, when another stage which was expected to bring the more than

two decade old war to an end. The Peace process between the government of Ugandan

and the insurgent Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began in July 2006 in Juba, southern

Sudan, when Joseph Kony, the LRA's leader and self-proclaimed mystic, announced that

he wanted to negotiate a peace deal with the government of Uganda. The talks focused

mainly on three core issues; justice, security and livelihoods.

50
Background on the Conflict in Northern Uganda: retrieved from http://www.humanrightsfirst.org on June 25, 2009.
51
Conflict Background: retrieved on June 16 2009 from http://www.resolveuganda.org/conflict background.
52
Human Rights Watch/Africa1997 retrieved on June 26, 2009 fromhttp://www.hrw.org97/uganda/#N-1-/

46
On November 1st 2006, the parties signed an addendum to the Cessation of Hostilities

Agreement. It provided that the rebels would re-assemble in one week at Owiny-Ki-Bul

and in four weeks at Ri-Kwangba, with security, food and water to be provided by

the Government of South Sudan (with UN support) only at those sites. Ugandan forces

were not to be deployed within a fifteen-kilometer radius of Owiny-Ki-Bul. But, just as

the peace talks were gaining momentum, the LRA withdrew, accusing Dr Riek Machar,

the chief mediator at the talks, and the Vice-President of Southern Sudan, of being biased.

Pressure was mounted on the rebel team, and they returned to the negotiating table.

It was then decided that, in order to find a framework for the talks, the two parties should

consult the people about the way forward. The government of Uganda’s team, led by the

Minister of Internal Affairs, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, traversed the countryside collecting

views from Ugandans; and, on 31 October 2007, the LRA team made a historic visit to

Uganda.

The LRA delegation — the first in more than 20 years — raised hopes among Ugandans

that peace was around the corner. Top members from the rebel command were absent at

the talks, but a key person in the negotiation process was the LRA second-in-command,

Vincent Otti. Although wanted by the ICC for 32 crimes, Otti was considered as

moderate, and committed to peace. Sadly, however, after the arrival of the LRA

delegation in Uganda, the news broke that Otti had been arrested by his own LRA leader,

and was dead.

On May 2nd 2007, an agreement on comprehensive solutions to the conflict was signed

and the June 29th 2007agreement on reconciliation and accountability revived momentum

47
for the year-old talks in the southern Sudan town of Juba. The pact, which was signed late

on June 29, addressed the troublesome issue of accountability and reconciliation for war

crimes committed during the country's conflict. Captain Barigye Bahoku, the Ugandan

Delegation spokesperson was quoted by the Integrated Regional Information Network –

IRIN saying that " this development is the third topic on a five-point agenda and

considered to be the "make or break point," of the peace process".53

Rebel elements in southern Sudan moved to the LRA’s jungle hideout near Garamba

National Park in Congo, expanding the peace process’ major achievement: more security

for millions of civilians in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. Yet both recent

agreements appeared incomplete and devoid of specifics. Both parties’ commitment to

sign a deal were a little shady, as the international community tried to help the mediators

by creating more leverage to push the peace process forward.

But the outstanding International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants for the LRA's leadership

were seen as a major hindrance to the progress of the talks in Juba, with the LRA quitting

the talks several times. The ICC indictments and their repercussion on the peace process

hit the headlines in major publications and several editorials were also inclined towards

criticizing the ICC.

Hopes for the final peace deal expected were finally shattered on November 30th 2008

when the LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to append his signature to the final deal

demanding the deferral of the ICC arrest warrants. The LRA leaders seem content to face

justice in Uganda, but remain suspicious and fearful that with the ICC warrants in place,

they might be transferred for trial in The Hague.

53
Talks Delayed Over Accountability Questions; Retrieved on June 20th 2009 from www.irinnews.org

48
2.2.2 Chronology of Events
Table 2. Key Twists and Turns in the LRA Peace Process

Year Key Event


1986 • President Museveni Takes Power Declares One
Party state

• LRA begin fighting

1987 • LRA insurgency in Northern Uganda Begins

Dec 2003 • Museveni refers the LRA to the International


Criminal Court –ICC

2004 • Attempts at Peace Talks chaired by Betty


Bigombe begin but stall by end of year.

July 2005 • The ICC Issues warrant of Arrest to LRA's top


five commanders

• President Museveni Threatens to send Troops


Sept 2005 into DRC to pursue the LRA rebels.

• LRA commander Vincent Otti says LRA willing


to restart Peace Talks and to cooperate with the
November 2005 ICC

13 May 2006 • Uganda announces 2-month Ultimatum for the


LRA to surrender.

• LRA offered Amnesty on condition of a Peace


4 July 2006 Agreement

• Peace Talks Resume


14 July 2006
• LRA announces Unilateral Ceasefire
4 Aug 2006
• Government and LRA agree to Truce through
the cessation of Hostilities agreement
26.August 2006
• Joachim Chissano appointed special envoy of

49
the UN Secretary General and given a mandate
to search for Comprehensive solution to the
30 Nov 2006
LRA conflict

Jan 2007 • Peace Talks stall over Security concerns by the


LRA who demand for new venue and Mediation
Team

March 2007 • New Agreement reached to resume talks in


SOUTHEN Sudan

Feb 2008 • Government and LRA sign significant


agreement on accountability and Reconciliation

March 2008 • Signing of Final Peace agreement to end 22-


year-old conflict between LRA and government
scheduled for April 3 postponed

• LRA leader Refuses to Appear for signing of


Permanent truce in Ri-kwangba. Demands
10 April 2008 removal of ICC Indictments.

May 2008 • Government sets up Special division in the high


court to try LRA leaders

October 2008 • ICC prosecutor Moreno Ocampo calls for


renewed efforts to arrest LRA rebel leader and
his top commanders.

November 2008 • Peace Process stakeholders meet and call on


Kony to sign agreement by November 29th 2008.

• DRC President says his forces will cease


military operations against LRA on condition
30 November 2008 that Kony signs Peace Agreement.

• Kony Fails to sign Final Peace Agreement


demanding g the deferral of the ICC arrest
warrants.

50
14 December 2008 • Uganda, DRC and Southern Sudan Launch
Military offensive against LRA bases in
Garamba

16 December 2008 • Joachim Chissano informs UN Security council


that LRA leader refused to sign Peace agreement
for a 7th time and continued attacks against
civilians in the DRC and Southern Sudan.

• UN Security Council issues Presidential


statement condemning Kony and recalling
22 December 2008 outstanding ICC arrest warrants for LRA
leaders.

23 December 2008 • Kony reportedly says ready to resume peace


talks but in a neutral venue or under a new
mediator.

• LRA continue to attack civilians in DRC


January 2009 • Government dismisses demand by LRA for an
immediate ceasefire.

March 2009 • Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC ruled that the case
of the situation in Uganda was admissible.

16 March 2009 • UN Special envoy calls for resumption of Peace


talks.

• UN Secretary General writes to President of the


Security Council announcing his decision to
suspend Joachim Chissano's assignment

Source: Northern Uganda / LRA Historical Chronology-Security Council Report; Retrieved On June 25,
2009 from http://www.securitycouncilreport.org.

Chapter 3
Review of Related Literature

51
"While Journalism operates within a nexus of sometimes contradictory forces that may allow scope for agency
and alternative practices …those spaces are limited, constrained by powerful forces both within and outside the
media field" (Robert Hackett: 2007)54

This chapter contains five sections. Section one highlights the peace journalism debate as
seen through the lenses of several scholars. This is followed by Section two which looks
at the theoretical approaches and theoretical frameworks. Section three looks at the
previous studies on the role of the media in peace process and media coverage of the LRA
peace process, the chapter concludes with gaps which the writer feels will be filled in this
study.

3.1 The Peace Journalism Debate


Peace Journalism is a rather new concept as will be manifested through the responses

from the journalists in Uganda. And it's therefore important to note that the integration of

global approaches to Peace Journalism, into Local media Journalism practice may prove

rather a challenge for various reasons.

This section outlines some of the critical issues that pervade the peace Journalism debate.

The debate revolves around the media Ethics and effects of Peace Journalism. From the

theoretical point of view, opponents question the validity of Peace Journalism Practice,

while from the practical point of view; Peace Journalism opponents question the

applicability and Validity of Peace Journalism under different contexts. Hence the linkage

between Peace Journalism and the factors that propel or inhibit Peace Journalism is

visible enough.

54
Hackett, R (2007) Journalism Versus Peace? Notes on a Problematic Relationship- Presentation for Union of Democratic
Communications Conference in October 2007.

52
Scholars of peace journalism agree that there is little consensus on the definition of Peace

Journalism, mainly because Peace journalism as explicated by Johan Galtung

(1986,1998), and Jake Lynch (2005) is not simply the “Do no Harm “approach to a

conflict or peace process, but Jake Lynch adds that Peace journalism advocates for

conflict transformation through constructive discourse. The aim is not to eliminate the

conflict but to avoid the stage in which the conflict transforms into violence.55

Galtung argues that; "Peace Journalism is based on Humanity, truth and solutions;

considers balance and hands off attitude in the selection of news, and use of language;

makes the reasons of the problem transparent, establishes empathy with others rather than

antagonizing as you and us; tries to prevent violence before it occurs, puts emphasis on

the foundations of violence that are not apparent".56 This argument prepares the journalist

to see himself as a peace builder.

While article (2) UNESCO's Universal Journalism Principles states that "Journalist is

opposite to war"57 conventional journalism practice still shows that War makes conflict

because Newspaper sales and circulation increase by the bounds, not because of Peace

stories but because of conflict and cohesion.

Proponents of peace journalism argue that the existing media environment and its

practices, which stress sensationalism, immediacy and in some cases promote propaganda

and misinformation, tend to exacerbate conflict rather than contribute to its resolution.

The Peace Journalism proponents Lynch and McGoldrick (2005) attest to the fact that

while war journalism presents conflict as a tug of war between two parties in which one

55
Galtung J. 1986. The Role of the Media in Worldwide Security and Peace. In T. Varis (ed) Peace and Communication (pp 249-
66).San Jose, Costa Rica: Universiband Para La Paz.
56
ibid
57
Article (2)of the Report of UNESCO on communication tools states; " communication tools should be in favor of peace and should
be used with mentality for strengthening peace (Tilic 2000); P. 196"

53
side's gain is another side's loss, Peace Journalism challenges journalists to re-frame

conflict as a cat's cradle of relationships between various stakeholders,58Hence the Peace

Maker Versus Peace spoiler perspective.

So when do journalists become spoilers in a peace process? From the Peace Journalism

proponents' point of view, most conflict coverage, thinking itself neutral and 'objective', is

actually war journalism. It is violence and victory orientated, dehumanizing the 'enemy',

focusing on 'our' suffering, prioritizing official sources and highlighting only the visible

effects of violence (those killed and wounded and the material damage).59

But Journalists can also be Peace Builders in a Peace process. According to Hacket

(2006), the alternative to Journalists as Peace Spoilers is for them to distinguish between

stated demands and underlying needs and objectives; to identify and attend to voices

working for creative and non violent solutions; to keep eyes open for ways of

transforming and transcending the hardened lines of conflict, and it calls attention to

expanding our understanding of conflict beyond the direct physical violence which is the

focus of war journalism, to include the structural and cultural violence that may underlie

conflict situations.60

Several peace journalism scholars have noted that peace journalism requires a more

proactive journalistic role that goes beyond war journalism’s commitment to detached

observation and distribution of information Hamdoft, (2000); Hanitzsch, 2004; Howard,

(2002); Lynch, (2002), Lynch & McGoldrick, (2005). The journalists pro-active role does

not require peace journalists to reject objectivity but rather a perspective which embraces

58
Lynch, Jake and McGoldrick, Annabel 2005. Peace Journalism. Stroud, UK: Hawthorn Press
59
ibid
60
Robert A. Hackett and William K, Carroll, Remaking Media: The Struggle to Democratize Public Communication (London and
New York: Routledge, 2006 pp32-35.

54
an objectivity of peace journalism that abandons the belief that journalism’s

“representation of reality is objective in the sense of being identical with the reality.61

Hanitzsch (2004) Instead, argues that peace journalism’s objectivity is a “methodological

objectivity, which requires journalists to subject their reports to objective controls such as

the careful presentation of facts, dependency on reliable and varied sources, the quest for

expert opinion, search for supporting documentation, an ear for accurate quotations, and a

fair representation of major viewpoints. According to this argument, the objectivity in

peace journalism practice is obtained when all parties share the right to communicate

their views and information from all sides is shared broadly.62

But conventional journalism practice tends towards what such scholars as Altheide &

Snow, (1979) p. 89; Ettema & Glasser, (1988); Fawcett, (2002); Lipari, (1994); and

Olson (1995) have observed that journalists are trained to construct news within a “story”

or narrative form that employs an antagonist facing off against a protagonist, engaged in

dramatic tension, within a plot with “a beginning, middle and end.63 This according to

Fawcet shapes news “in a predictable way that taps into the expectations and cultural

values of the audience or readers.64”

Wolfsfeld on the other hand argues that Dominant cultural narratives reinforce the

essentialist idea of a just or clean war against evil enemies and encourage opponents to

press perceived advantages, however small or illusory. Media representations of conflict


61
Hamdorf, D. (2000). Reduced view of a multidimensional reality: The Northern Ireland peace treaty in Berliner Zeitung – an
example of peace journalism?
62
Hanitzsch, T. (2004). Journalists as Peacekeeping Force? Peace Journalism and Mass Communication Theory. Journalism Studies,
5(4), pp. 483-495.

63
Ettema, J. S & Glasser, T. L. (1988). Narrative Form and Moral Force: the realization of guilt and innocence through investigative
journalism. Journal of Communication, 38(3), pp. 8-26.

64
Fawcett, L. (2002). Why Peace Journalism Isn't News, Journalism Studies, 3(2), pp. 213-223.

55
as a clear-cut, zero-sum game, construct government compromises and concessions as

weakness or failure, prompting escalating demands.65

In one of the Critical debates cited in the journal “conflict & communication online”

dedicated to the debate over peace journalism, Jake Lynch, David Loyn, Thomas

Hanitzsch, and Samuel Peleg showed how the debate on Peace Journalism is steadily

gaining momentum and entering emotional indulgence.

Hanitzsch (2007a) describes peace journalism as the “journalism of attachment,” and

Loyn (2007a) declares, “The opposite of peace journalism is good journalism”. Hanitzsch

counters an argument by Peleg (2007a) who asserts that peace journalism seeks to

acknowledge the power journalism wields in contemporary society and to advance “a

unique and innovative premise that conflicts can be avoided, de-escalated and even

resolved by a prudent, profoundly analyzed and fairly written journalistic coverage” 66

Wilhelm Kempf (2007) another proponent of Peace Journalism defends peace journalism

not as an "antipode of good journalism" but as a necessary prerequisite . . . A peace

journalism that deserves the name is only conceivable as good journalism. He asserts that

good journalism “requires more than just good will and a moral impetus.” Peace

journalism can and should “contribute to making media discourse on conflicts more

transparent and balanced” and to advancing the “urgently necessary” task of revising “the

usual understanding of objectivity in journalism.”67And Jake Lynch (2007a) maintains

65
Wolfsfeld, G. (1997b). Media and political conflict: news from the Middle East. New York: Cambridge University Press.

66

Peleg, S. (2007a). In defense of peace journalism: A rejoinder. Conflict & communication, 6:2.
67
Kempf, W. (2007). Peace journalism: Tightropes walk between advocacy and constructive conflict coverage. Conflict &
communication, 6:2.

56
that peace journalism is an intentionally self-reflexive practice driven by the profound

understanding that “when we (journalists) observe and represent the outside world,

Mcgoldrick and Lynch (2000) argue that the peace journalism approach provides a new

roadmap tracing the connections between Journalists, their sources, the stories they cover

and the consequences of their reporting- the ethics of journalistic intervention.68

Hanitzsch (2004a: 2004b), argues that Peace Journalism is an unwelcome departure from

objectivity and towards a journalism of attachment.69 According to Harnitzsch, Peace

Journalism assumes powerful and linear media effects; it is normative model, rooted in

the discipline of peace research that fails sufficiently to take into account the constraints

imposed by the actual dynamics of news production…and may have little to offer

Journalists in practice.70

Hanitzsch disputes the notion by Lynch and McGoldrick (2005) that War journalism

reports focus exclusively on scenes of violence and the visible danger to the population.

Violence is thus represented as the natural consequence of insurmountable cultural

differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’ The cause of war is represented as a simple, linear

cause-and-effect process: the problem is located on the side of the initiator, the

perpetrator of violence - with the innocent victim, forced to defend himself, on the other

side.But L. Dogan Tilic (2001) argues that the period of war offers journalists a fertile

ground for disinformation. He however states that journalists must be for peace and not

war.71
68
McGoldrick, A., and Lynch, J Peace Journalism: How to do it? 2000 retrieved from http://www . transcend.org/pjmanual.
69
Hanitzsch, Thomas. 2004a “Journalists as Peace Keeping Force? Peace Journalism and Mass Communication Theory." Journalism
Studies 5 (4): 483-95

70
Hanitzsch, Thomas. 2004b " The Peace Journalism Problem: Failure of News People…or failure on Analysis?" in T.Hanitzsch et al.
eds, Public communication and conflict resolution in Asian setting. (Jakarta: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), pp 185-209

71
Tilic, L.D., Understanding Media and Journalism in 2000's Turkey, SU Publications. 2000

57
While the debate on Peace Journalism rages on, its proponents state that peace journalism

is an ongoing effort to transcend the bounds of reified practice, to open our public

mediated discourse to a more inclusive range of peoples, ideas, and visions that includes

space for voices of peace.72 The researcher believes just like Bennett (2007) noted that;

“now is the time … for hallowed standards … to be revisited and refashioned to suit

present-day political and journalistic realities”73.

The peace journalism debate does not therefore set a stage for competition between the

proponents and opponents. In my view, both the proponents and opponents bear

something significant to the application of the Peace Journalism in specific contexts. Both

provide paradigms to the understanding of the peace journalism practice. The critical

point however, is the need for a review on the theoretical focus of Peace Journalism as

Hackett (2006) rightly says "Peace Journalism proponents need to construct a purposeful

review of what media scholarship tells us about the determinants of News Production.

Such a review he adds could help us identify the barriers and opportunities for the

practice of Peace Journalism.74

3.1.1 Differences between Peace Journalism and Conventional


Journalism
A proper analysis of the challenges of integrating Peace Journalism into conventional

Journalism practice in Uganda, calls for an understanding of the differences between the

72
Dente R, Susan. Peace Journalism: Constructive Media in a Global Community, GMJ: Mediterranean Edition 2(2) Fall 2007

73
Bennett, W.L., Lawrence R.G., & Livingston S. (2007). When the press fails: Political power and the news media from Iraq to
Katrina. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. P 1.

74
Robert A. Hackett, Is Peace Journalism Possible? Three Frameworks for Assessing Structure and Agency in News Media. Retrieved
on May 30 2009 from Conflict and Communication online, Vol. 5, No 2, 2006, www.cco.regener-online.de

58
two forms of practices. Lesley Fordred explained the differences between Peace

Journalism and Conventional Journalism under four categories-The role of the journalist,

style of journalism, approach to journalism and approach to audiences.

Table 3. Differences between Peace Journalism and Conventional Journalism

Categories Peace Journalism Conventional Journalism


Role of the • Enablers • Watchdogs
communicators
Journalist ,
• Involved in • Commenta
issue
tors,
• Participate • Detached
in seeking
from issues
solutions
covered,
• Spectators
and observers
Style of • Focus on • Focus on
establishing
Journalism debate, polemics
dialogue between
parties. and difference

• Accentuate
common ground to
highlight possible
solutions.

• Participate
in construction of
discussion
platforms.

59
Approach to • Explore • Search for
complexity of the simplicity in news.
Journalism
news. • Reactive to
violent events
• Process
based reporting • Produce
within the conflict event based
frame. reporting.

• Follow-ups • Accentuate
vital to assess how value of
events affect the objectivity.
people.
• Balanced
• Balanced reporting based on
reporting based on quantity of both
quality of both sides.
sides.
Approach to • Peace Genre • Violence/c
news is of interest onflict genre news
Audiences
to the audience. is of interest to the
audience.
• Views
Audience as public • Newsroom
participants in s set agendas and
problem solving accentuate the
and peace building. knowledge of
experts and
leaders as major
sources.

Adopted from Lesley Fordred 75

The table above reflects the fact that peace journalism is directly at parallels with

conventional journalism. Peter du Toit (2000), argues that we are not talking about

"sunshine journalism" which avoids asking the difficult statements, instead we are talking

about a journalism that is oriented towards understanding conflict; a journalism that is

conscious of our ability to promoting peace.76

75
Dr Lesley Fordred, Department of Anthropology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
76
Toit, Du P, Reporting for Peace Book 1, 2000 P 52

60
Howard (2002), also states that journalists should seek out other parties and other points

of views. They should not only repeat old grievances by the old elites. Journalists should

examine what the parties are seeking and the possibility for withdrawal, compromise and

transcendence. Journalists should write about these possibilities. With conflict analysis,

journalists can understand what diplomats and negotiators are trying to do, and can report

it more reliably. With conflict analysis, journalists can identify more sources to go to for

information.77

3.2 Theoretical Approaches

3.2.1 Peace Journalism Model

The Peace journalism model advocates for conflict transformation through constructive

discourse. Proposed by Johan Gultung (1970), Peace Journalism is seen as a tool for self-

conscious and a working concept for the media to play a social responsibility in conflict

transformation. Galtung (1986, 1998) identified four broad practice and linguistic

orientations on which Peace Journalism revolves. These are Peace/conflict, Truth, People

and Solutions. He contrasted this to War Journalism, which he said revolved around

War/Violence, Propaganda, elites and Victory.78

Table 4. Peace Journalism Model

77
Howard, R. An Operational Framework for Media and Peace Building, institute for Media, Policy and civil society (IMPACS),
Canada, 2002.
78
Galtung J. 1986, Peace Journalism: what, why, who how, when, where, Paper presented at a workshop: What are Journalists for?
Transcend, Taplow court, UK.

61
Peace/ Conflict Journalism War/Violence Journalism
• Peace/Conflict-Orientated • War/Violence Orientated
• Explore conflict formation, x parties, • Focus on conflict arena, 2 parties, 1
y goals, z issues general “win, win” goal (win), war general zero-sum
orientation orientation

• Open space, open time; causes and • Closed space, closed time; causes and
outcomes anywhere, also in exits in arena, who threw the first stone
history/culture making wars opaque/secret

• Making conflicts transparent.


• “us-them” journalism, propaganda,
• Giving voice to all parties; empathy,
voice, for “us” see “them” as the
understanding see conflict/war as problem, focus on who prevails in war
problem, focus on conflict creativity.

• Dehumanization of “them”; more so


• Humanization of all sides; more so
the worse the weapon
the worse the weapons
• Reactive: waiting for violence before
• Proactive: prevention before any
reporting
violence/war occurs.
• Focus only on visible effect of violence
• Focus on invisible effects of violence
(killed, wounded and material damage)
(trauma and glory, damage to
structure/culture)

II. Truth-Orientated II. Propaganda-Orientated

• Expose untruths on all sides / • Expose “their” untruths / help


uncover all cover-ups “our” cover-ups/lies

• III People-Orientated • III Elite Orientated

• Focus on suffering all over; on • Focus on “our” suffering; on able-


women, aged children, giving bodied elite males, being their
voice to voiceless mouth-piece

• Give name to all evil-doers • Give name to their evil-doers

• Focus on people peace-makers • Focus on elite peace-makers

IV Solution Orientated IV Victory Orientated


• Peace = non-violence + creativity • Peace = victory + ceasefire

• Highlight peace initiatives, also to • Conceal peace-initiative, before

62
prevent more war victory is at hand

• Focus on structure, culture, the • Focus on treaty, institution, the


peaceful society controlled society

• Aftermath: resolution, • Leaving for another war, return if


reconstruction, reconciliation the old flares up

Source: War Journalism Vs Peace Journalism (Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005:6)

The most important bits of Peace Journalism relevant for this research, in the Ugandan

Context are spelt out by Galtung (1986,1998); "by taking an advocacy, interpretative

approach, the peace journalist concentrates on stories that highlight peace initiatives, tone

down ethnic and religious differences, prevent further conflicts, Focus on the structure of

society and promote conflict resolution, reconstruction and reconciliation". This model is

particularly important because it articulates the need for the journalist to be responsible

and rather than detach themselves from the conflicts they cover, empathize with the

players and the audience.

This role is amplified by the Quality in Crisis and War reporting theorized by Nadine

Bilke (2006). At the core of the role of Journalists in the Peace Process is Gadi

Wolfsfelds (2004) argument that Peace Process coverage depends on specific news values

such as immediacy, Drama, simplicity and Ethnocentrism. 79 Wolfsfeld suggests that the

Journalistic norms and routines which dictate the selection of sources and the construction

of the story lines can have a significant effect on which interpretation appears to make the

most sense.80

79
Wolfsfeld Gadi, 2004 Media and the Path to Peace- communication, Society and Politics, Cambridge (u.a) Cambridge University
Press. P 16
80
Ibid p.12

63
To augment this theory, are four critical questions advanced by Lynch and McGoldrick

(2006); what is the shape of the conflict? According to Lynch, when a conflict is

presented as a two-party team, -win-lose, the media coverage is bound to flame tension,

enforce partisan participation and pave way for a competitive approach by the antagonists

and protagonists to the conflict. According to Lynch, this increases the capacities for

violence and reduces the chances for collaboration by the parties and block chances for a

mutual satisfactory solution to the conflict.81

Secondly, how is violence explained? Lynch argues that when the media focuses on the

violent events, chances are high that parties to the conflict are demonized and this in turn

results into the escalation of the conflict. Both Lynch and McGoldrick (2001) argue that a

journalists understanding of the opponents actions, humanizes the conflict's parties and

creates an opportunity for the journalists to discover the underlying causes of the conflict

and increase the chances for conflict de-escalation.82

The third question, revolves on whether or not there is any news about the efforts or ideas

to resolve the conflict? Peace journalism offers journalists an opportunity to seek for

stories that open communication between the parties. Lynch & McGoldrick (2001) argue

that beyond the traditional news factors that define news values, and of which negative

stories are part, Peace Journalists pick up stories of peace initiatives and Peace

developments.83

And the final question is; what is the role of the Journalist in the conflict? According to

Lynch, this question is expanded to establish whether or not the journalist is part of the

81
Lynch, J. & McGoldrick, A. (2006) Peace Journalism. Hawthorn Press Ltd.
82
Lynch, J. & McGoldrick , A. (2001) Reporting the World: The findings; Retrieved on June 23 2009 from
www.reportingtheworld.org.uk
83
Ibid

64
propaganda strategy, and whether or not the stories disseminated to the public are

intended for a specific effect.

Therefore the Peace Journalism Theory by Galtung, Lynch, and McGoldrick represent the

peace Journalism Framework- a basis for this study.

3.2.2 Mass Communication Theory-Social Responsibility

The social responsibility theory of the media is derived from McQuail (2005) who views

media ownership as a form of public trust and not an unlimited franchise.84 The core

concerns of the social responsibility theory are media's obligations to society, and Media

ownership as a public trust. The theory is crucial in assessing the role that journalists take

on when covering a Peace process. Is it possible that the media's responsibility to truth,

accuracy, fairness, objectiveness and Relevance as theorized by McQuail can prevail even

when the contexts dictate otherwise?

According to McQuail, the Media should be free but self-regulated and it should follow

agreed codes of ethics and professional conduct. But he also notes that under some

circumstances, the government may need to intervene to safeguard the public interest.

Mcquail (2005), states that the theory of social responsibility involves a view of media

ownership as a form of public trust or stewardship, rather than as an unlimited private

franchise.85 The theories main principles are; the media have obligations to society and

media ownership is a public trust, News media should be truthful, accurate, fair, objective

and relevant, the Media should be free, but self-regulated, the media should follow agreed

84
McQuail, D. (2002) McQuail's Mass Communication Theory. London: Sage
85
Ibid pg 171

65
codes of ethics and professional conduct and that under some circumstances, the

government may need to intervene to safeguard the public interest..

The Mass communication theory is one of the media theories that is inclined towards the

Marxist description of the relationship between economic, political and cultural power

and the ruling class;

"The class which has the material production has control at the same time over the

means of mental production so that, thereby generally speaking, the ideas of those

who lack the means of mental production are subject to it…as they rule as a class,

and determine the extent and the compass of an epoch, it is self evident that they

among other things regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their

age; thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch."86

The quote above, shows that when the economic system is directly linked with the

political system, then the media will be compelled to produce content under pressure of

the media owners and the decision makers. 87

3.2.3 Political Economy in Mass Media Theory

The political economy in Mass Media Theory, is derived from the Marxist perspective

and argues that the structure of the industry influences content. Anderejevic M (2007).
86
Murdoch G & Golding, P. (1977). Capitalism, communication and class Relations, in J, Curren, M. Gurevitch & J. Woolacott (eds).
Mass communication and Society, London: Edward Arnold P 22-23
87
Garnham, N. (1979). Contribution to a political economy of Mass Communication in Media, Culture and Society, Vol.1, No. 2

66
The theory therefore presupposes that media content is influenced by a combination of

the media owners, advertisers, government regulations and the audience. The theory

emphasizes the relationship between economic structure, media industries and the

ideological content in the media.

Garnham (1979) in McQuail states that media content is determined by the economic

system to make a profit for the owners or investors. This implies that media content is

largely influenced by profit maximization hence the phrase – "if it bleeds it sells".

Media organizations can be categorized into two groups: private firms and public

agencies. The goals of these groups may differ. Private entities have their own profit-

maximizing and ideological objectives. In contrast, public agencies may have the formal

goal of providing objective information, but administrators and governments may have

their own (private) incentives to bias the information (Swinnen, McCluskey, and

Francken, 2004).88

According to Andrejevic (2007) Private individuals decide what information should be

provided to the public based on what earns them the most money.

Uganda Radio Network and the New Vision Newspaper will demonstrate this theory

through content analysis on a sample of five News articles Published during the LRA

peace Process.

3.3 Theoretical Frameworks

88
Swinnen, Johan F. M., Jill J. McCluskey and Nathalie Francken. 2004. ‘‘Food Safety, the Media, and the Information Market.’’ Pp.
175–88 in Reshaping Agriculture’s Contribution to Society, Proceedings of the 25th International Conference of Agricultural
Economists. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

67
3.3.1 Propaganda Model

The propaganda model as theorized by Herman and Chomsky (1988:2) in their book

manufacturing Consent: The political Economy of the Mass Media, looks at the private

media as businesses selling a product — readers and audiences (rather than news) — to

other businesses (advertisers). Describing the media's "societal purpose".89 the theory

highlights five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented

in news media. the filters according to Chomsky are: the corporate and commercial nature

of the media, size and concentrated nature of media Ownership, secondly Media

dependency on corporate advertising revenue, thirdly Media reliance on information from

government, business and associated "expert" sources, fourthly the right wing flak in the

form of sustained criticism and pressure from conservative media monitoring and policy

institutes and the ideological environment of anti-communist ideology.90 Although the

Model was based on media characterization in the USA, I do agree with Chomsky and

Herman that the theory applies to a country like Uganda where the media's structured

subordination to the interests of political and economic elites.91 Journalists find

themselves trapped in a web of biases, because of the economic and ownership pressures.

3.3.2 Hierarchy of Influences Model

To a remarkable extent, the hierarchy of influences model as theorized by shoemaker and

Reese (1996), attempts to analyze the influences on the news content.

89
Chomsky, Noam (1989). Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. Pantheon
90
Ibid

91
Robert A. Hackett, Is Peace Journalism Possible? Three Frameworks for assessing Structure and Agency in News Media, retrieved
from conflict and Communication online, Vol.5, No 2, 2006 www.cco.regener-online.de. Accessed on July 18, 2009

68
According to Hackett and Uzelman (2003) the first level state that the first According to

Shoemaker and Reese, there are five levels of influences of the hierarchy of influences

model; the media workers who according to Reese have professionally related roles and

ethics that appear to directly influence the content. Reese (1996) adds that the media

workers are also influenced by their demographic backgrounds and personal and political

beliefs that shape the news indirectly especially when individuals are in position to

override institutional pressures or organizational routines.92

The second level of influence focuses on the daily routines within the newsrooms,

routines that structure journalist’s output independently of their personal backgrounds and

values. Reese contends that converting the information gathered from sources and

disseminating it to the audience’s results in standardized and recurring patterns of

content.93

The third layer of influences focuses on the broader organizational imperatives of media

institutions. Reese argues that the profit orientation by private media companies

combined with their hierarchical structure, in general shape content in accordance with

ownership interests. The fourth level of influence revolves around extra media influences

like sources, advertisers, and the political power of governments, market structures and

technologies. The final level of influence is ideology. According to Reese, these are the

values and beliefs that govern what audiences, journalists and other players in the news

system see as natural or obvious and that serve to maintain the prevailing relations of

power.94

92
Reese, Stephen D. 2001. Understanding the global Journalist; a Hierarchy-of-influences approach," Journalism studies
2(2) May: 173-87
93
Ibid p 109
94
Ibid pp 221-224

69
This model as stated by Hackett (2006) useful to identify specific influences on the news

and to explore the relationships between the journalists and the content they generate for

the mass audience. Hackett adds that compared to the Propaganda model, the hierarchy of

influences model calls attention to the broader range of factors and to their often

contradictory nature. In this thesis will be analyzed through the questionnaires and

interviews related to the factors that could have influenced the media coverage of the

LRA peace process.

3.3.3 Journalism as a Field

Theorized by Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdiue, The Journalism as a field model

outlines the limitations and conventions of newsgathering. Bourdiue describes the

journalistic field as a space of cultural production, which is created and sustained by the

constraints, priorities and occupational routines of the journalistic practices.95 He analyses

the media as a field which offers a framework by which to interrogate reporting as a

specific form of practice which relies on organizational procedures, that impact on the

development and flow of public information and communication.96 He adds that the

Journalism field is a relatively autonomous institutional sphere; one, which articulates

with relations of power, knowledge and production more broadly, but which also, has

certain logic of its own.97

Foucault talks of "discursive regimes" – showing how power is imbricate with

knowledge, not by directly imposing censorship or coercion from outside, but indirectly

95
Bourdieu, P. on Television and Journalism (London: Pluto Press: 1998)
96
Spencer, Graham. (2005) The Media and Peace; From Vietnam to the war on terror, Palgrave Macmillan.
97
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. On Television. Trans.P.P. Ferguson. New York : New Press

70
and internally, through the criteria and practices that "govern" the production of

statements (Foucault 1984: 54-5; Hackett and Zhao 1998: 6).98

According to Bourdiue, journalism is more inclined towards confrontations between

individuals and tactics of politicians, than in the substance adding that journalists are

more interested with the political effect of speeches and politicians and the maneuverings

within the political field.99

Bourdieu (1998), in his critique of television journalism, written for a French readership

in the 1990s, noted that TV journalism has developed a number of destructive

characteristics. It privileges entertainment over real information, confrontations over

reasoned arguments, and political tactics over substance, individuals, anecdotes and

scandals over the analysis of structures or processes.100 TV news has created a new

category of journalist/intellectuals, fast-food thinkers who promote cynicism and

simplification.101 Worse, it stimulates xenophobic fears, excessive concerns about crime

and safety, and the "primal passions" of nationalism and it over accesses ethnocentric and

racist demagogues.102 In offering fragmented, de-contextualized images of events, and in

portraying politics as a game for professionals, TV dis-empowers audiences as citizens,

giving them nothing to stimulate cohesive or oppositional interpretations. TV breaks the

ties between politicians and publics,103 undermining intermediary institutions like unions

98
Robert A. Hackett, Is Peace Journalism Possible? Three Frameworks for Assessing Structure and Agency in News Media. Retrieved
on May 30 2009 from Conflict and Communication online, Vol. 5, No 2, 2006, www.cco.regener-online.de
99
Johnson, R. 1993. "Editor's introduction: Pierre Bourdieu on art, literature and culture," in P. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural
Production: Essays on Art and Literature, ed. and intro. R. Johnson, Cambridge: Polity Press.

100
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998 [orig. 1996]. On Television. Trans. P.P. Ferguson. New York: New Press.
101
(ibid: 3, 29).
102
(ibid: 8-11).
103
(ibid 5)

71
and parties which have a mandate as guardians of collective values, to elaborate

"considered solutions to social questions"104

Bourdieu argues that all these factors bear ominously against the kind of discourse that

Peace Journalism asks news media to generate. At their root, Bourdieu points to the

subordination of journalism to market logic through the mechanism of audience ratings,

although he acknowledges other factors, such as journalists' training and their long-

standing tradition of competing for "scoops" and exclusives.105

3.4 Previous Studies

3.4.1 Role of Media in Peace Processes

The media in any peace process, can be described as a mirror reflecting the views,

arguments and counter arguments between the antagonists and the protagonists. The

reflection in the media mirror changes with the action between the actors. But several

researches carried out to analyze the role of the media in peace building processes look at

the role of the media from various facets. There are three facets to the media that bear

special mention in times of conflict and conflict transformation. The first is that due to a

fundamental contradiction between the nature of a peace process and the media, the

media will often play a destructive role either consciously or unconsciously through the

issues of focus and nature of stories generated for publication or broadcast.

The second is that the greater the public confidence and level of political consensus in

support of a peace process, the more likely the news media will play a positive role in that

104
(ibid: 77).
105
Robert A. Hackett, Is Peace Journalism Possible? Three Frameworks for Assessing Structure and Agency in News Media.
Retrieved on May 30 2009 from Conflict and Communication online, Vol. 5, No 2, 2006, www.cco.regener-online.de

72
process, because then the public helps shapes the agenda according to what they want to

hear and read.

Finally, the greater the amount and severity of crises associated with the peace process, as

was the case with the LRA conflict, the more likely the news media are to play a negative

role in the process. Media behavior in protracted ethno-political conflict in many regions

around the world has amply demonstrated these tendencies.106

Howard (2004) argues that the media is a double-edged sword. It can be a frightful

weapon of violence when it propagates messages of intolerance and disinformation,

which manipulate public sentiment, citing Radio Mille Collines in Rwanda.107 He further

adds that the media can also be an instrument of conflict resolution when the information

it presents is reliable, respects Human Rights and represents diverse views. Such a media

Howard (2004) argues is one that upholds accountability and exposes malfeasance and

one that enables a society to make well-informed choices reduces conflict and fosters

human security.108

Horward's argument is legitimized by Wolfsfeld (2004) who asserts that In general, the

news media can have four inputs on any peace process. First, they help in defining the

political atmosphere in which the peace process takes place. Second, the media has an

active influence on the strategy and behavior of the stakeholders to the conflict. Third, the

media has an important influence on the nature of debate about a peace process. Fourth,

106
Sanjana Hattotuwa, in The Role of the Media in Peace Process, a paper Written for 14th World Congress of Environmental
Journalists, retrieved on July 25, 2009 from http://www.tamilcanadian.com/page.php?cat=135&id=1618
107
Horward
108
Howard Ross, An Operational Framework for Media and Peace Building; IMPACS: Thee institute for Media, Policy and Civil
Society. 2001

73
the media can buttress or weaken public legitimacy of the stakeholders involved in the

peace process.109

The role of the media in Peace Process is further explained by Adam and Holguin (2003)

who state that in conflict situations the media is seen as a threat, being seen to pounce on

any indiscreet of reconciliatory remarks by the negotiators and publish them without any

thought and consequence.110 But Tehranian (2002) argues that the ethically responsible

media is vital to the Peace Journalism practice. He focuses on the need for pluralism of

media structures right from the Local National and the global levels and suggests that

Peace Journalism can be promoted through greater freedom, balance and diversity in

Media representations.111

3.4.2 Peace Journalism Practice

In his study; Through the lens of the conflict theory, Peleg (2006), cites several insights

into the conflict theory which can be used to advance peace journalism as a useful tool in

the hands of journalists and their readers to realize the futility of conflict and to bring

about its resolution.112 Through the analysis of three protracted conflicts- Northern

Ireland, Israel/Palestine and the Basque country, Peleg introduces the notion of the media,

as a third party to a conflict and argues that Peace journalism as a third side can

strengthen the prospects of resolution and reconciliation by changing the norms and

habits of reporting conflicts.113

109
Wolfsfeld, Gadi: Media and the Path to Peace, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2004

110
Gordon. Adam & Lina. Holguin in The Media's Role in Peace Building: Asset oor Liability a Paper presented at Our Media 3
Conference, Barranquilla, Colombia. Retrieved on July 25, 2009 from http://www.mediasupport.org/documents/papers_and articles.
111
Tehranian, M. (2002) Peace Journalism; Negotiating Global Media Ethics. The Havard International Journal of Press/Politics.
Retrieved on July 25, 2009 from http://hij.sagepub.com/cgi/contne/abstract/7/2/58
112
Peleg, S. (2006) Peace Journalism through the lense of the conflict theory: Analysis and Practice. Retrived on j2009-07-26, from
http://www. Ipra2006.com/papers/papertitle.xls.
113
ibid

74
Cottle (2006) on the other hand argues that Journalism practice in a context of a peace

process, depends on the interests, vantage points and perspectives of all the parties

involved. This is true about the way the various media organizations in Uganda covered

the peace process. For some the vantage point was the selling story,- "screaming and

bleeding stories, some journalists sought out the anonymous source as the vantage point

because he is willing to leak exclusive information and the drama arising from the peace

process. Other media reported the Peace Process as a public service obligation.

But Lugalambi (2001) suggests five generic roles of the media's social mandate in the

peace building process. Firstly he argues that the media is compelled to nurture the public

interest by championing a common vision based on the core principles and values around

which citizens ought to be encouraged to unite.114 The media must help to focus citizen

attention on issues of collective concern to generate agreement and to persuade people to

voice their opinions.115

Peace journalism practice also demands from the media to feel the pulse of public opinion

by providing a kind of social intelligence that captures the essence of citizen's perceptions

of the issues at stake, hence identifying issues of contention before they crack.116

According to Lugalambi, the media must articulate the concerns of those who may

disagree with the dominant thinking, but whose claims are as legitimate as those held by

the majority. And finally the media must rigorously enquire about the motives of all the

parties to a conflict with an eye to establish, and challenge those tendencies that might

ruin peace building efforts.117

114
Lugalambi, G.W. (2001) The role of Mass Communication in preventing Conflict in a continent apart: Kosovo, Africa and
Humanitarian Intervention, Ed. E Siidiropoulos, pp 89-102, Johannesburg SA: The South African Institute of International Affairs
115
Ibid
116
Ibid
117
Ibid

75
3.4.3 Media Coverage of the LRA Peace Process

Peace Journalism in Uganda's Media environment is a new concept and therefore study

on the Media role in the LRA peace process in Uganda is still limited.

This study will identify how the journalist's constructed and framed the LRA peace

process and also analyze through questionnaires whether journalists saw themselves as

Peace seekers or the unconscious spoilers of the Peace process. Through questionnaires,

the qualitative study will identify both the internal and external influences on the

journalists' decision to construct and interpret the peace process, either as an event or a

process.

3.5 Gaps to be filled

From the literature review above, it is evident that most of the literature and analyses

related to Peace Journalism practice and Peace Process is generally focused on what the

peace journalism practitioner ought or to be or not to be but with little or no allusion to

specific peace processes. The few studies that have focused on the LRA conflict in

Northern Uganda have looked at the role of the media in conflict and not in the peace

process. In addition these studies have not applied the Peace Journalism lenses into their

study frameworks.

Therefore the study on Media coverage of the LRA peace Process in Uganda provides the

researcher an opportunity to analyze the role played by the media in a peace process.

Chapter 4
Research Methodology

76
This chapter presents the research design; the research instruments applied in the study,

describe the respondents of the study, and present the data gathering procedure.

4.1 Research Design


The research design refers to the description of the study using the questionnaires, and

phone interviews to gather the data.

4.2 Description of Respondents of the study


In an effort to involve as many journalists as possible in this study, the researcher took

advantage of one of the News Rooms at Mega Fm Radio Station in Northern Uganda, one

of the DFID funded radio stations that played a crucial role in reporting about the LRA

conflict and through its famous program Dok cen paco "coming back home" Encouraging

the rebels to give up fighting and come back home.

The researcher also took advantage of the journalism capacity provided by Uganda Radio

Network, a private News Agency that supplies news to more than 50 radio stations across

the country. In addition was the vital media expertise at the agency provided through the

media practitioners, some of who are consultants, trainers and analysts. The following is a

description of the research subjects for each of the methods used to gather the data for the

study.

4.2.1 Questionnaire

77
Respondents to the study were 15 journalists 6 of who covered the Peace Process on site

in Juba. Two of these were drawn from the government owned newspaper the New

Vision, two from the independent newspaper –The Daily Monitor, two from the only

private news agency-The Uganda Radio Network-URN.

The respondents also included three radio talk show hosts who followed the peace talks

through the reporters on the ground, the three radio talk show hosts were from the Vision

Voice radio, owned by the Vision Group of companies, KFM Radio's Hot seat Talk show

host and the third was from Mega FM Radio.

One respondent was from Nation TV (NTV) a private independent TV station and five

other respondents were drawn from various private radio stations that for some reasons

followed the peace process from their newsrooms in Kampala. Of the 15 respondents,

only two were female, partly because the conflict beat is considered a male arena.

4.2.2 Key Informant Interviews


The key informant interviews were intended to strengthen the understanding of

journalism practice and the media environment in Uganda. Key informant interviews

were conducted with four media specialists and analysts; The head of the Mass

Communication Department at Makerere University, A media political analyst working

for Monitor Publications, the country director Uganda Radio Network and the a Media

critique. The criteria for selecting the key informant interviews were; media expertise,

independent thought and Knowledge about the issues in focus.

4.3 Research Instrument

78
The research instrument is a questionnaire, which was designed by the researcher. There

were 29 questions designed and framed with guidance from Prof Nadine Bilke, my

second supervisor. The questionnaire was divided into four parts. Part A, sought to find

out from the journalists about their understanding of the Peace Journalism concept. Part B

sought to find out how the Journalists interviewed attempted to apply Peace Journalism

practice in the coverage of the LRA peace process.

4.4 Validity and Reliability of the Study


To validate this research, the researcher showed the questionnaire to four people, two of

who were journalists and two were Students of Peace and Conflict Studies. The

participants were not targets of the study, but their comments on the questionnaire were

integrated into the revised version of the research instrument.

4.5 Data Gathering Procedure


The research was divided into three phases. The first phase involved a theoretical

understanding of the peace journalism context and the media context with reference to

media coverage of the LRA peace process in Uganda. The second phase involved data

collection related to understanding how journalists covered the peace process and factors

which influenced their coverage. The third phase was the data analysis.

4.5.1 The Questionnaire


The questionnaire was intended to gather technical data related to the factors influencing

journalism practice under different contexts. The questionnaire paved way for journalists,

to describe their own perception about Peace Journalism and to describe how they have

been able to practice peace journalism within the context of the peace process. The

questionnaire was distributed at the beginning of July 2009, to 15 journalists who were

79
directly involved in covering the LRA peace process. Respondents were selected on the

basis of their active participation in covering the LRA peace process. Follow-up questions

were used for further clarifications on the issues raised in the questionnaire.

4.5.2 Key Informant Interviews


Key informant interviews were vital to this study because they allowed the researcher to

target people with knowledge and expertise and the specific questions asked paved way

for concrete analysis on the challenges for integrating Peace Journalism into practice in

Uganda. The Key Informant Interviews opened way for the researcher to gather data that

was presented more freely in a discussion kind of dialogue.

The informants were interviewed using some questions derived from the responses from

the questionnaires. Interviews were conducted between August 6th and 8th 2009.

4.6 Statistical Treatment of Data


The researcher used the simple frequency counting to analyze and collate the responses

from the questionnaires. Some of the responses considered non-quantitative were

analyzed, sorted and presented in a narrative report.

Johan Galtung, Lynch Jake, and McGoldrick Annabel analyzed the outcomes of the

research using the Peace Journalism model and concepts as theorized. And the hierarchy

of influences model as theorized by shoemaker and Reese (1996). The findings were

presented from which some recommendations were made.

Chapter 5
Presentation, Interpretation and Analysis of Data

80
The following chapter presents the findings of the study in relation to the central thesis

questions raised in chapter 1.

5.1 Profile of Journalists who participated in the study


Peace Journalism practice among the journalists that covered the LRA peace process is

analyzed by looking at the responses in the questionnaires with respect to views and

opinions expressed by 15 journalists who covered the peace process. The peace

journalism practice will be analyzed through the lens of the LRA peace process to find

out whether reporters who unreservedly uphold transparency, balance and sensitized

thoroughness in covering disputes, do have the potential to change the course and

intensity of events as analyzed by Carruthers (2000).118

5.1.1 Questionnaire
A survey was carried out to analyze Peace Journalism practice through the eyes of a

selected few journalists who covered the LRA peace process. The figure below shows the

profile of journalists from both private and public media institutions that participated in

the study.

Table 5. Profile of Journalists


Number of Journalists 15
Gender Two(2) Females
Thirteen (13) males
118
Carruthers, Susan (2000). The Media at War. New York: St Martins Press.

81
Age 20-30 Years (10)
30-40 Years (5)
Work Experience 1-5 Years (3)
5- 10 Years (12)
Organization Private Media (10)
Public Media (2)
News Agency (2)
Freelance (1)
Location Kampala (8)
Northern Uganda (5)
Juba (2)
Educational Background Degrees (8)
Diploma's (3)
Certificate (4)

Table 6. Profile of Key Informant Interviews


Gender Three Males and One Female
Profile 1- Head of Mass communication
Department Makerere
University
2- Country Director Uganda Radio
Network (News Agency)
3- Media critique and Analyst
4- Media analyst
Location Uganda's Capital City Kampala

5.1.2 A Study of Media Coverage of the LRA Peace Process

5.1.2.1 Knowledge about Conflict Sensitive Journalism


Data from the respondents’ shows that most journalists are aware of what Conflict

sensitive Journalism otherwise also known as Peace Journalism is and what good

reporting ought to be.

82
Good conflict reporting should involve the warring parties in
the story, and avoid negativity in the story. It should be positive
and avoid sentimental and sensational outpouring of emotions
by the parties. The headlines should reflect hope and optimism,
which the conflict is about to end anytime since the parties
involved, are on a roundtable to iron out issues which led to the
problem (Journalist from Private Radio Station).

Data shows that most journalists have a fair perception of what peace journalism entails,

but also admit that it's not as pronounced a beat as other beats such as politics, business,

sports and health.

Most journalists interviewed knew the concept Peace Journalism from the short trainings

offered by international news organizations such as the BBC world trust, the Radio

Netherlands training center, Voice of America and Internews. Admittedly data shows that

University
journalism training offered by the major media training institutions in Uganda does not
Training focused
on Various Beats
focus at Peace Journalism as a key beat
butand area of
not Peace specialization.
Journalism No Peace
The figure below summarizes how some journalists in UgandaJournalism
have been introduced to
From Training
Offered by Beat during my
the concept of Internews
peace journalism. training at
University

How Did
From Institute
Knowledge of PeaceYou
FigureAt1.University Come
Journalism of War and
to Know Peace
But didn’t pay
attention
about PJ? Reporting
because it was Documents
not exciting

I got to know
Training by about Peace
Free Voice, a Journalism
Dutch Based through the
Organization Internet.
83
5.1.2.2 Motivation for Peace Journalism Practice
The responses to this question varied. Some journalists especially in the conflict zone said

it was obvious that living in the conflict zone made them get used to reporting the win

loser story. i.e. how many rebels were killed? How much causality on the government

side? How much ammunition recovered from the rebel hideouts and how many abductees

rescued from the rebels in addition to what reinforcements are being made? A few

journalists however admitted that they soon realized that everyone else was doing just

that and decided to look for the story behind the story. They however identified three

major stories that were never covered; the story about the people caught in the conflict,

the plight of women and children and the peace overtures.

For some journalists, the motivation to do peace journalism arises from the constant

desire to see peace prevail in a country that has for long suffered severe conflicts and

violence;

84
"I have, sometimes unconscious of the peace journalism concept, undertaken to make
choices on words to use as well as what to report to avoid stirring up the conflict and
to discourage violence".(Radio Journalist from Mega FM Radio)

And for other, the motivation for Peace Journalism arises from the ethical considerations

to have all voices heard in the story and to empathize with the victims.

"In my writing, broadcasts and editing stories, honestly, if I feel the story is not
“peaceful” I would rather not run it. If for instance, the story quotes only one of the
feuding parties, I wouldn’t run it, However juicy and enticing it may be".(Editor at
Private Radio station)

Additional data shows that some journalists have recovered from the scoop fever, which

dictates on; who gets the best story first. Rather the focus now is a deeper investigation

and understanding of the root causes of the conflict before they can position themselves

into writing the straight news stories.

"I have always tried my level best to adequately research on the LRA conflict and to
appreciate why the war has dragged on for a long time. I always want to balance the
views of the parties fighting. I have as a result tried as much as possible not to blame
the Acholi ethnic group for the long stay of the conflict because I have come to
understand that the conflict is more complex than I originally thought or was told".
( Correspondent Uganda Radio Network News agency).

5.1.2.3 Journalists opinions about Peace Journalism

85
Data shows that Journalists in Uganda consider Peace Journalism a noble beat, but one

that is not yet ripe for their kind and nature of reporting orientation.

"Peace Journalism as a concept and the teaching is very good, it’s positive. But I
strongly think that peace journalism can only succeed in a media environment that
practices specialized reporting of issues. Here in Uganda unfortunately, that is still a
dream, so it remains largely a classroom concept.

In a media environment that is not yet well developed like ours here, where most
journalists are paid piece rate for their work output, every journalist strives to get
diverse kinds of stories to broaden their catch and also to get more money paid to
them. Conversely, the employers are out to squeeze every potential and energy out of
the reporter so they end up assigning the reporter to do a municipality story, a
conflict story, a riot over market sale, a theft story and so on. Without specialized
reporting peace journalism is not so effective in my view". (URN War
Correspondent)

Some journalists especially in the conflict zone of northern Uganda understand that peace

Journalism is a new kind of journalism with a new unique tone, bent at promoting

harmony and not stirring antagonisms.

"It is journalism which aims at ensuring a conflict free society, through accurate
reporting by choosing the right words, tone, picture and medium to use". (Mega FM
Journalist)
Data also shows that some journalists are a little skeptical about the applicability of the

peace journalism model in a country like Uganda, where journalists are confronted with

challenges ranging from personal, educational to Economic and political.

5.1.3 Factors Influencing Coverage of the LRA Peace Process

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Several factors motivate reporters to cover the different news beats. But data shows that

when it comes to coverage of a Peace Process, most of the journalists admitted that they

were driven by personal drives to get the story that some other media house could not get

first hand due to financial constraints. For others the drive to cover the LRA peace

process was sparked off by curiosity and the desire to see what goes on at the negotiation

table. Alternately the motivations factors were in direct tandem with what each issues

each of the journalist set out to cover.

The table below summarizes the factors that motivated the journalists and the issues that

they sought to look out for during the LRA peace Process.

Table 7. Factors Motivating Journalists to Cover for the LRA Peace Process
No Motivation Issues
J1(News  Because it was the juiciest  Understand how peace
story for any good initiatives can be formed and
Agency)
journalist worth his/her pushed to the final end
name. .
 Find out the truth by talking to
 Touched by the suffering of a number of the rebels and
the people in Acholi, their delegates.
suffering under war for
over two decades.  Meet the rebels and try to
understand why some people
can go to war, killing and

87
maiming, in the name of
fighting for a just cause.

J2 (Private  Desire to be part of history  The possibility of attaining


and contribute to the peace after the so-long
Radio)
process through protracted war.
journalism. And also get
first hand information  How the issues, originally on
involving both parties. paper, are going to be
implemented.

 How benchmarks from both


parties are going to be
harmonized to reach a
common agreement
.
 Whether the both the
Government of Uganda and
the opposition are going to
“speak” the same language
during the peace process.

 The role of women and other


special interest groups in the
process.

 Role of the church (more so


the Catholic Church) in the
peace process, because
Ugandan bishops have
severally commented both in
writing and verbally about the
LRA Peace process.

88
J3(Public Radio)  Physically participate in  Whether there was trust
the peace process of between the two parties in
northern Uganda. talk's i.e. government and
LRA.
 Because it was of local,
national and international  Whether both parties were
concern and interest. respecting the cessation of
hostility agreement.
 to build confidence in the
lives of the affected  Views of the war victims over
population of northern the peace process
Uganda who had
completely lost hope and
trust in the peace process
J4 (Female  To understand the ideology  Explore the drive behind the
of the LRA as a rebel actions of the LRA rebels.
Reporter)
group
 Comprehend the motivation
behind their cruelty inflicted
on the people of Acholi and
Lango Sub Regions.

J5(News Agency  To expose the truth, which  Explore the experience and
was surrounding which, feelings of the people affected
Reporter)
and me most times went by the insurgency towards the
unnoticed by the wider peace process.
community.
 Explore the dynamics that
 Desire to be part of a were involved in the peace
struggle to cause a change process especially about the
in the community in which parties in the peace process.
I live.
 Explore whether there were
other motives by the two
parties i.e. the LRA rebels and
the government team.

J6 (Government  My noble duty as a  The need for peace and the


journalist to let the world mechanisms, and possible
owned
know what was happening lessons to learn, whether the
Newspaper) so that a solution could be victims were willing to forgive
found to bring the suffering culprits and what was held in
of the people to an end. the post conflict era.

J7 (Private  Conflict zones are not  Attacks


always the best choices for  Lulls
Independent
journalists to cover. But a  Massacres
Newspaper) lot goes untold. My choice  Peace talks
to cover the LRA war was  Post war recovery and

89
to close that gap. To tell resettlement
stories that would rather
have gone untold.

J8 (Female TV  Human suffering in the  What the grassroots people


north. Once I visited those wanted instead of what the
Journalist)
camps I was never the rebels wanted
same I knew I has to .
consistently bring attention  What people think was the
to the conflict until a cause of the conflict to avoid a
concrete solutions comes similar situation in future?
in.
 Who were the beneficiaries of
 I grew up in a peaceful this conflict?
place so seeing a child
living a life totally different
from mine yet we are in the
same country drove me
cover the conflict and
peace process.
J9 (Freelance  The plight of hapless  Damage caused by war.
orphans, mothers and the
Journalist)
elderly  Arguments put on table by
government and the LRA and
possible obstacles to a final
settlement.

J10 (Reporter  Varying reports from other  The cause of the conflict, its
media sources and the effects on the local
Religious Radio)
picture, which was communities and the
portrayed by different rehabilitation healing process
organizations, didn’t give i.e. Post war reconstruction of
me a full picture, so I had northern Uganda.
to get involved in the
process.
J11 (Reporter  The Training I received  Transitional Justice.
Private media)
 Reconciliation.

 Peace building mechanisms


like the traditional justice
system.

 The International Criminal


Court intervention to arrest the
LRA top commanders.

J 12 (Freelance  I personally was affected  Making it known that the war


by insurgency before I is creating untold suffering to

90
Reporter) joined the profession, my the innocent population.
family displaced, relatives
killed, this alone motivated  Calling for urgent solutions.
and shaped me to report
with aim of ending the war.  Make it known internationally
that there is urgent work to be
done in the region.

 Make clear to LRA that what


he is doing is not welcome by
the local population he claimed
to be fighting for

J13 (Talk show  Personal interest in  Whether there was trust


participating in the peace between the two parties in
Host Mega FM
process. talk's i.e. government and
Radio) LRA.
 Professional responsibility
as a journalist and more  Whether both parties were
over the proximity of the respecting the cessation of
event. hostility agreement.

 Views of the war victims over


the peace process.

J 14 (Talk show  It was a great story to  Was the peace process serious
cover with immense local or another farce? Would the
Host KFM Radio
and international parties stay the course? Could
significance. they be trusted or trust each
other? The fact that two sworn
 Having watched and lovers of the armed means to
covered the armed part of their ends talking on a round
the conflict followed table.
previous peace efforts,
covering the peace process  What was the role of the talk’s
provided an allure to see host and background, the
what the final result would international players and their
eventually be and how it motivations and likely impact
would be arrived at. on the process?

 What kind of agenda was LRA


going to put on the table?
What political programme did
they have?

Figure 2. Factors Influencing Coverage of LRA Peace Process

91
Journalist's
Journalist's
Lobby Training
Training
Lobby Audiences
groups, Background,
Background, Audiences
groups, Expectations
Religious, Interests
Interests Expectations
Religious, Knowledge
NGO's, and Knowledge
NGO's, and Interests,
CBO's Interests,
CBO's
The
TheMilitary
Military
and
andother
other Editorial
Editorial
Security
Security policies
policies
agencies
agencies

Factors
Factors
Influencing
Influencing
Conflict
Conflict Economic
Economic
Media
Mediainin
situation
situation Influence
Influence
Peace
Peace
Process
Process

Parties onon
Parties thethe
Political
Political
Negotiating
Negotiating Influence
Influence
table
table

News
News
Government
Government Sources and
Sources and
Interference
Interference Media Frames
Frames
Media
owners
owners

5.1.3.1 Editorial Influence


The data provided shows that the decision to cover the peace process was to a great extent

influenced by the editorial structures. This was reflected through the type of media a

journalist works for, the news formats and spaces provided for reports, editorial policies

and procedures, the editors expectations and News Judgment. The data shows that often

times the decision to follow up the Peace Process was initiated not by the reporter, but by

the editors who then guided the reporters on what to look out for when at the negotiating

venue.

92
This then meant that any issue outside the editor's scrapbook was not considered for

editorial placement; this was coupled with strict deadlines. Some journalists admit that

they were under deadline constraints to produce a story from the venue of the peace

process and in such cases had to look for a faster story that spelt "clash or conflict.

Yes, Editors are excited "I was under constant pressure by my


more by action stories, for editor to look out for the human face of
instance violence because the Peace process. But how do you get
that what sells, but not a human face when the parties are
Peace stories barking at each other like dogs, and the
(Journalist -Monitor atmosphere is tense?
Newspaper) (Journalist- Uganda Radio Network)

"I was under pressure from my editor to produce stories that are relevant to our
audience (what the editor calls people stories) instead of relying on information
from official Government sources as a basis for my stories". (Female News
Reporter)

"Peace talks are long and "First and foremost, I was interested in the stories that
strenuous. Editors expect reflected issues on the ground. Secondly stories that
a lead story every day promoted dialogue and drew the attention of the
which is not the case world, not forgetting that I also had to sniff out stories
most of the time". that could spiral upward the sales of the Newspaper I
(Monitor Newspaper worked for".
Journalist) (War Correspondent –New Vision Newspaper)

The above reflect some of the few thoughts by journalists who feel the editorial structures

influenced how they covered the LRA peace process.

93
Also worth mentioning is the fact that some journalists were constrained by poor logistics

like transport to the venue of the peace talks in Juba and northern Uganda. Most depended

on secondary sources for just the straight news story and for some this was just a routine

obligation to ensure that the station did not miss out on developments about the peace

process.

Some journalists admitted that they were constantly reminded by their editors that they

were in a competitive journalism field and there work was to get the story as first as they

could. This then meant that there was little time to investigate and carry out a deeper

analysis of the issues raised at the peace talks.

5.1.3.2 Journalists Training Background


From the data gathered, there is evidence that most journalists in Uganda as elsewhere in

the world enter the journalism arena as idealistic individuals with strong detachment to

reality. The data shows that there is minimal training in peace journalism and this could

ultimately affect the way they approach the peace process. The peace process was

covered like any other event where the catchword for journalists is "report the facts,"

bearing in mind the news values; prominence, proximity, conflict, timeliness, and

eminence.

"We as well made people to understand who was for peace and who was not and
as result people were given chance to judge for themselves what could have gone
wrong".(Journalist Mega FM Radio)

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"I must admit I was only satisfied with my reporting to the extent that a number of
times I successfully got a balanced story from both the rebels and government
delegation and so my horizon of the issues was broadened. But to the extent that
no amount of reporting on the talks helped to achieve the final signing of a CPA, I
remain disappointed". (War Correspondent URN)

5.1.3.3 Censorship and Propaganda


The data also shows that there was always suspicion by the negotiating parties about

the media presence at the peace talks. This resulted into either forced or self-

censorship and propaganda, shaping the journalists focuses on the LRA peace

process. This is reflected through an analysis of the major sources of news and the

nature of stories that were handed down to the journalists covering the peace process.

"Some sources were keen to spin the story and project the other side as really bad and
pulling in a direction to ruin the process or show themselves off as very strong and
with nothing to lose should the process collapse."(KFM Radio Talk show Host)

Table 8: News Sources and Types of stories Handed to Journalists

Source Type of story

95
The Government Head of Delegation  Complaints about irreconcilable
differences
 Internal discord/ inflammatory
statements
 Government concessions

Rebel Spokesperson  Maneuvers


 Rejections
 Demands

Army  Attacks
 Win or Lose outcomes
 Strategies if Peace Talks fail
 Denials

Observers/ Ambassadors/ Religious  Comments and views about Peace


process and the conflict.
Leaders
 Opinions
 Opportunities for Breakthrough

Mediator  Developments in the peace


process.

Peace Activists  Calls for peaceful resolution to


the conflict.
 Atrocities committed by the LRA
 Lamentations about negative
impact created by the LRA
insurgency in the region.

But it's also worthy noting that of the 15 journalists that covered the LRA peace process,

only three went beyond the official sources and pegged their stories on the Local ordinary

people that have been the victims of the war;

"I was in Juba for the peace talks and I was told about LRA demands being too
difficult to achieve. They wanted ministerial posts. And many people were
outraged… I was looking for stories from the side of victims. Not the government
and rebels" how would the peace deal would affect the ordinary man in the north"
(Female TV News Reporter).

96
5.1.3.4 News Sources and Framing
Data shows that some news sources determined how the journalists would ultimately

shape their news stories. This was specifically true of the testimonies by the journalists

about their relationship with the government and the army during the peace process.

"Government complaints and anger were mainly directed at me for the question
angles that I chose to focus on during debates and press conferences in the course
of the peace talks." (URN War Correspondent)

"Yes, some thought I was not being patriotic at all by supporting rebel positions.
(War Reporter –Monitor Publications)

"There was a general tendency to be suspicious of each other. I should call it a


mutual suspicion. I always had the feeling that even if I sourced information from
government officials on the peace talks, I had to double check for the truth just
incase I was being given spin work." (War Correspondent -News Agency)

From the data gathered, it is evident that the rebel representatives at the negotiating table,

felt under reported and their concerns and issues had been shelved under the media

limelight. Journalist's covering the LRA peace process were being driven to focus mainly

on what and how the government was struggling to strike a peace deal. According to the

rebel representatives at the peace talks, Peace overtures by the Rebel representatives were

not being well articulated as one of the journalists admittedly stated;

97
"Whenever things were not good in their camp they would accuse me and other
journalists of being bribed and being government spies". (Female Reporter Private
Media)

"My relationship with the LRA rebel Team at the peace talks was unpredictable. They
embraced you at one point, and attacked you at another point. The said I had a
reason to be sympathetic to their cause, because they had never had media access in
comparison to government forces over the two decades."(Monitor Newspaper News
Correspondent)

The army on the other hand was there to direct the journalists where to go and where not

to go. According to the Journalists interviewed, the army was just a spin organ to show

that every thing was under control, and most of the stories handed to them by the army

went unchallenged.

5.1.3.5 Political influence


Evidently the politicians especially those coming from conflict Zone of Northern Uganda

also influenced the way the journalists approached the peace process and what stories and

sound bites they churned out. Data shows that some politicians and members of

parliament from Northern Uganda always had something to articulate about the peace

process. Some journalists attest to the fact that the politicians became their primary

sources of news, especially when the Media organizations they worked for could not

afford to cater for their travel to Juba, southern Sudan- the venue of the peace talks.

"I found myself taken under the armpits of the politicians because they knew the
alliances, the sabotages, the coalitions. I was assured of a story each time I

98
picked my phone to call them up. They would always ask me to quote them in my
story and at times give me money after assuring them the story would run, After
all our News Room could not afford to transport me to Juba.
(News Reporter Private FM Radio Arua)

5.1.3.6 Economic Influence


Linked to the political influence is the economic influence. The data shows that

commercial pressures influenced the shape of stories and the extent to which the peace

process as a story could be pursued. Journalists working in the economically stable

newsrooms had all the resources needed to cover the peace process, make phone calls to

important sources, travel to the venue of the peace talks, travel to the war affected areas

and also make daily follow up stories. This is contrary to relatively fragile newsrooms

that for many the best option was either depend on the official sources all even make

follow-ups from the internet. Citing stories from international News agencies like

Reuters, the BBC and Pambazuka.

"I wanted to cover the story, envied reporters who followed the peace process,
disseminating daily and weekly updates from the venue and the Jungles of
Garamba forest, because then I realized they were witnessing much more than I
was getting from the wires". (Freelance Reporter Northern Uganda)

Data also shows that for some journalists, the economic influence was tied on the desire

to get the hot, steamy and bleeding story that would be a front page story good and big

enough to attract the attention of the readers.

5.1.3.7 Political-Media-Political Environment

99
The Data gathered, points to evidence that; "the influence of the news media on a peace

process is best seen in terms of a cycle in which the changes in the political environment

lead to changes in the media performance that often lead to further changes in the

political environment."119

Some journalists admit that their coverage of the LRA peace process was greatly

influenced by the actions of the parties to the process. When the parties disagreed, that

was a big story for the front page. When there was a snag and the talks collapsed, the

parties went for a break and the journalists too would be forced to suspend their coverage

of the talks.

" On two occasion's I found myself not making any follow-ups about the peace process
because the parties had gone back to consult their respective leaders and with such a lull,
I positioned myself to another story".(Female Journalist)

In addition when the talks collapsed, data shows that the political comment was at its

peak with newspapers and Radio stations providing ample space for political debate and

comment. This in turn opened way for higher sales for the media and political popularity

for who made the loudest noise about the factors that could have led to the collapse of the

peace talks.

5.2 Disseminating the Peace Story; Peace Journalism Concept versus


Media Reality in Uganda

119
Wolfsfeld, G. 2004; Media and the Path to Peace, Cambridge University Press

100
Gadi Wolfsfeld (2004) states that, “the news media can play a central role in the

promotion of peace. They can emphasize the benefits that peace can bring, they can raise

the legitimacy of groups or leaders working for peace, and they can help transform

images of the enemy” (p. 1). But Wolfsfeld posits “the media often play a destructive role

in attempts at making peace” (p. 15). This is the ideal but the reality can differ from one

media context to another.

The Peace Journalism model described by McGoldrick & Lynch (2000) is based on the

premise that the media can play a positive role in Peace building. “Peace Journalism is

when editors and reporters make choices –of what stories to report and about how to

report them- that create opportunities for society at large to consider and value non-

violent responses to conflict."120 Based on the data gathered, the following were found to

be the realities and obstacles for Peace Journalism Practice in the Ugandan context.

5.3 General findings


It is important to note that while Peace Journalism is desirable, the media environment in

Uganda is not yet fertile enough to allow the seeds of peace bloom. Journalists covering

the LRA peace Process in Uganda saw themselves as neutral players whose role was to

report and describe what was happening as accurately as possible.

Type of Journalists covering the Peace Process: The editors as the combative

journalists who would push for questions identified the journalists covering the Peace

process, relatively enthusiastic about their work and off course the buzzword is senior

reporters.

120
Lynch, J. & McGoldrick, A. (2005). Peace Journalism. Hawthorn

101
News Sources / Social Orientation; coverage of the LRA peace process reveals that

more than 80% of the journalists interviewed relied on the official sources, and less than a

third relied on the people sources. The official sources included the military. The

journalists considered the military spokesperson as a credible source whose voice,

opinion and comment about the peace process was worth a bite falling for.

Types of stories: Data shows that most journalists covering the LRA peace process

looked for the here and now stories-The drama, disagreements, clashes and irreconcilable

positions. The sense of immediacy was high and few journalists expressed efforts at

follow-ups. The stories were churned out to the audiences as they developed without little

effort taken to internalize, and investigate the causes.

Freedom of Expression: Media control and interference was channeled through the

government Media center that convened weekly and emergency press briefings on the

LRA peace process. Some journalists attest to the fact that often time the Media center

was used as the government whistle blower but with limits on the amount of information

given to the journalist while at the same time ensuring that the information churned out

about the Peace Process is what the government wants to be heard by the wider public.

Robert Kabushenga, the Uganda Media Center Director, was on August 13 2006 quoted

by the New Vision Newspaper saying blowing the usual government spin;

"We are committed to the peace process and we have invested significant amount of time
and resources in trying to pursue the peace option and offer the LRA a soft landing and
we will pursue it to its logical conclusion."

Portrayal of the Peace Process

102
The way the peace process is framed and presented has a great bearing on public

opinion. However most Journalists covering the LRA peace Process portrayed the

process as existing only between two parties- Government and the rebel representatives,

with different and one party would end up a victor and the other a loser, after the peace

deal was signed. The burdens of blame rested on one side as the following headlines

show;

"Juba Peace Talks Still on Despite Kony's Elusiveness." –the New Vision;
September 15 2008

"Exile for Kony the Best Option for Peace in Northern Uganda'' – The East
African Newspaper, November 19 2007.

"Museveni Blasts Kony for Killing Otti" - the New Vision's December 21 2007

While the “peace journalism way” advocates for the desegregation of the parties into

smaller groups with different goals, thereby paving way for an inroad for more creative

solutions, few journalists took this road.

"Journalists talked to members not institutional or group representatives. Their


messages as a result were also oftentimes personal opinions and not group
positions."(KFM Radio Talk show Host

By applying the peace journalism practice in the peace process would have meant have

meant shedding light on the underlying discontentment of some groups.

5.4 Obstacles to Peace Journalism Practice

It is clear from the data that Journalists in Uganda offered neither a complete nor a perfect

embodiment of peace journalism precepts while covering the LRA peace process. This

103
experience brings to light the realities of Peace Journalism expectations in diverse media

contexts.

In analyzing the major obstacles to peace journalism in Uganda, I will use two models,

which explore the news making process. The first model proposed by Shoemaker and

Reese (1996), outlines five hierarchical levels: individual level, media routines level,

organization level, extra media level, and ideological level (p. 64).

From the individual point of view, the research findings demonstrate that the journalists

covering the LRA peace process were much more obsessed with the concept of neutrality

and objectivity. Data also shows that the journalist's choice of issues and stories for

coverage during the LRA peace process was pegged on the News worthiness.

Wolfsfeld (2004) highlights four news values that make the application of peace

journalism almost impossible: focus on the immediate, search for drama, emphasis on

simplicity, and ethnocentrism.121 He claims that the “default mode of operation for the

press is to cover tension, conflict, and violence”.122 Shinar demonstrates in a comparative

study that the media prefer to use war frames even while covering peace negotiations

(2004, p. 85); the analysis of the coverage of the LRA peace process shows that the media

in Uganda found conflict frames more attractive to the listeners and readers than

conciliation frames.

The second major obstacle to disseminating the peace story was the ideological standing

by the journalists and the media houses they work for. Most journalists find it easy to
121
Ibid pp. 15-23.
122
Ibid p. 156

104
follow the official sources to guard against government criticism. In addition, it's evident

that the media paved way for ethnocentric views for the way the stories were presented.

The stories are mostly about us, the good guys, and the rebels were portrayed as the bad

guys, the saboteurs of the peace process and opportunists. Wolfsfeld states that, News

editors assume . . . that the public has very little interest in learning about the life and

society of enemies. Enemies are only of interest as threats . . . Even journalists who

support a peace process will avoid writing stories that offend ‘local sensitivities’ . . . This

ethnocentrism becomes especially blatant in times of crisis. When a peace process breaks

down, the news media of both sides emphasize their own righteousness and the other’s

evilness.”123

The media structures also pose a major obstacle in the dissemination of the peace story. It

is evidently clear that the commercial media are profit oriented, and the peace process, at

least in the short run, does not produce profit. Shinar argues that based on competition,

high news value and ratings, the current economic structures of the media entail a

preference for war.124 Several journalists admitted that while trying to give the peace

process a human face, they were under constraint to identify stories that satisfied the

interests of the media owners as well as the economic determinants.

For majority of media houses in Uganda, corporate adverts and promotions take up more

space and encourage journalism censorship, hence quashing any attempts at diversifying

the content of the peace stories and issues for focus. This is coupled with "Packaging and
123
Ibid pp 22-23
124
Shinar, D. (2004). Media peace discourse: Constraints, concepts and building blocks. Conflict &
Communication Online, 3(1/2).

105
branding which become more important than content and information.125 News especially

for Radio journalists is focused at entertainment formats and human interest. It was a

story when Matsanga the LRA spokesperson was chucked by the LRA, when Kony failed

to turn up for the signing ceremony; the media had to twist the cause as being he was

down with diarrhea.

Another Key Obstacle to Peace Journalism practice was intimidation. Depending on the

media house a Journalist works for, some issues were left unreported for fear of being

either labeled as a rebel sympathizer and collaborator or even being sacked for reporting

issues that are contrary to the policy of the media houses. This was coupled with the fact

that most Journalists are not trained to produce the kind of stories warranted by the Peace

Journalism model. In performing their role, the journalists stuck to their noble duty of

producing factual information with no deeper insights and analysis.

Another major obstacle is remuneration. Most Journalists in Uganda are paid per story

submitted and many admit that the money paid to them is not an incentive enough to

compel them into digging deeper for issues, analyzing comments, and waiting for

developments. Some journalists admitted that most times they are compelled to behave

like hunters- the more stories you hunt the more money you reap. So process stories like

the Peace Process, have no special focus for such journalists.

5.5 Discussion

What emerges from the data analysis is that the Peace Journalism concepts in relation to

media's coverage of the LRA peace process in Uganda, was structurally incompatible

125
Bennet, L.W. News; The Politics of Illusion (London: Longman, 2003)

106
with the imperatives of conventional journalism practice. The thoughtful Peace

Journalism practice is difficult to practice and apply amid a structure clouded by

organizational procedures and a society that glorifies violence and conflict.

For the journalists covering the LRA peace process In Uganda, several obstacles ranging

from Individual Journalists training, ideology and education, media ownership and

philosophy and political influences impeded the execution of Peace Journalism Practice.

This therefore as a lesson shows the need to acknowledge the prevailing conditions in any

media context before the Peace Journalism concept can be fully appreciated. The

commercial pressures and editorial pressures are evidently the fulcrum that can propel

Peace Journalism practice into reality.

Wolfsfeld (1997), states "there is an inherent contradiction between the logic of a peace

process and the professional demands of the journalists. A peace process is complicated;

journalists demand simplicity, a peace process takes time to unfold and develop;

journalists demand immediate results, most times a peace process is marked by dull and

tedious negotiations; journalists require drama. A successful peace process leads to a

reduction in tensions; journalists focus on conflicts. Many of the significant developments

in a peace process must take place in secret behind closed doors; journalists demand

information and action."126 From the data, it is evident that the role of journalists in the

LRA peace process was the here and now. "What is good for the journalist is good for

the audience" hence the expectations of the audiences were resonated from the

journalist’s expectations – the conventional Journalism practice of the event and not

process stories.
126
Wolfsfeld, G. 1997; promoting Peace through the News Media: some initial lessons from the Oslo Peace process. International
Journals of Press/ politics, 2/4, 52-70.

107
The stereotype reporting of news was reflected through the notion that news itself is

conflict, from the table on issues and nature of stories handed down to reporters, its

evident that even during the peace process, journalists will be inclined towards scenarios

that spell conflict, protests and disorder. This is what is taught in journalism schools and

evidently in a country where journalism is taught from the theoretical prism, the reality in

the field presents a whole new arena- a challenge to the journalists.

There is evidently little focus on the images and narratives about the suffering of the

voiceless victims of the conflict to whom the Peace Process is a symbol of a path to hope

and peace. This again point to the fact that journalists are being told the prominent make

news and in addition the ordinary person, the victim of the war is out of reach for many a

journalist practicing in the urban areas.

Although most journalists admit being happy with the outcome of their coverage of the

LRA peace process, many felt that their failure to interrogate and explain the extent to

which the parties either were or not committed to the process, could have partly

contributed to the breakdown in the process. Hence there was more focus on the

consequences of the peace efforts thereby affirming the journalist's interests in effects of

the Peace Process over the causes of the breakdowns, protests and disagreements.

" My suspicion about the actual intensions and pressures behind the different players in
the peace process mainly the rebels, government of Uganda and the host government of
South Sudan".(Talk show Host, KFM)

In a nutshell, while Peace Journalism contends that the Journalists should take a pro-

active, pro-peace and pro-de-escalation stance, the actions of the journalists in achieving

108
this will vary from one context to another and there efforts will be influenced by factors

which vary from one country to another. My conclusion is well articulated by Hartley

(1999) on what he thinks journalists think and do. "Their occupational ideology is

founded on violence which is the primary theory of journalism for practitioners, its basic

thesis is that the truth is violence, reality is war, and news is conflict." 127

Chapter 6
Conclusions and Recommendations
6.1 Conclusions
This study has discovered Peace Journalism practice in Uganda through the media

coverage of the LRA Peace Process between 2006 and 2008. The Peace process sparked a

lot of interest from both local and international media. A selected number of 15

journalists who keenly covered the LRA peace process were interviewed and their

127
Hartley, J. (1999) Communicative Democracy in a redaction society; the future of Journalism studies" in
Journalism, Vol 1 No 1 Sage 2000.

109
responses analyzed within the Peace Journalism model and the Hierarchy of influences

theoretical framework.

The Research questions have been answered as follows;


• How does the media coverage of the LRA peace process conform to the Peace
Journalism model?
Based on the Peace Journalism, it is notable that the reports on the Peace Process were

inclined towards disagreements, conflicts and snags. There were few testimonies by

the journalists; in attempting to apply the notable Peace Journalism criteria such as the

people oriented stories, and truth orientations. The data also shows that the journalists

focused mainly on the actions by the rebels and the government.

Analysis of the data provided by the selected journalists also reveals a strong

tendency by the journalists to look for drama and immediacy. Wolfsfeld states that

News values are a central factor, which hinders the wider debate. A peace process is

for most part a boring affair. Ongoing negotiations rarely make for riveting news

stories. When progress is being made, both sides have an interest in keeping such

detail secret. When talks break down, on the other hand, antagonists are all too eager

to turn to the news media to blame the other side. This according to Wolfsfeld, is one

of the many media routines that ensure that the public is almost always more likely to

hear bad news about a peace process.128 There was very little voice given to the

voiceless, and the victims, the stories were skewed to fit the interest of the negotiating

parties.

128
Wolfsfeld, G. 2004; Media and the Path to Peace, Cambridge University Press

110
• How do Journalists see themselves in a peace process and how do the publics
and key actors in the conflict judge it?
Data again shows that the journalists that covered the peace process saw themselves

as reporters, a title spelt out in their job description and a status confirmed by the

community where they gather the news. The responsibility therefore was to report

facts based on the news value of conflict. Majority of the journalists limited their

scope of coverage to the disagreements emerging from the negotiating table hence

limiting the Peace Process discourse to conflict and not issues and positions on the

peace process. Unfortunately the publics in Uganda are mainly passive; they don’t

question the journalists because the journalists are the fountains from which valuable

information flows. There is no "value meter" to measure what would have been the

more valuable coverage of the peace process.

• “Does the media’s involvement in a peace process have a significant role

relative to that process?

Yes. The media coverage of the LRA Peace Process in Uganda demonstrates the

power of the media in shaping and framing the Peace Process. From the data obtained,

both parties at the negotiating table were all eager to have the media publicize their

own negotiating positions. Government was always ready with its propaganda

information while the rebels’ negotiators were always eager to pass on information

showing that they are not about to give in so easily unless their demands are met. It is

at this point that journalists were caught in a dilemma. Many journalists admit that

their presence in the Peace Process was a cause for suspicion to both parties.

Government representatives were suspicious of the journalists from the private media

because they were afraid of having their views skewed to the advantage of the rebel

111
negotiators. While the rebel representatives on the other hand were suspicious too of

Journalists from the government owned media. Suspicions paved way for

performance deficiency – the gap between the desired publicity and the actual

analytical stories getting to the media. Wolfsfeld's work on the Middle East, posits

that reporting exerts a largely negative impact on the peace process, because of an

obsession with conflict, drama and simplicity.

Spencer (2005) argues that the news media's influence on a peace process can only

take a full and purposeful role if it seeks out the messages and arguments of parties,

individuals and agencies outside of the dominant mainstream political sphere.

• What are the limitations to Peace Journalism practice within the context of a
peace process?
The research shows that journalists covering the LRA Peace process were more

constrained by their own set of no confidence in the peace process. Evidently there

were no interests in shaping and framing the peace discourse. Rather within the

context of a peace process, the journalists found themselves looking for news values

of prominence, conflict, drama, novel and trivial. The limitations lay mainly in the

individual interests, editorial policies and the whims at the negotiating table.

This therefore limited the scope of the media agenda and the media's ability to frame

the peace debate in relation to the peace process.

6.2 Lessons Learnt from Media Coverage of the LRA peace Process
While Peace Journalism is a noble beat, and while Journalists would like to be part of the

peace builders in their respective countries, Peace Journalism practice is limited by

112
contextual constraints, ranging from individual journalists interests, to media owners,

rules of operations and the audience expectations.

While it could be easy to adapt in democratic countries, partially democratic countries

and fragile states would pose a serious challenge to the Peace Journalism practice. Results

show that Peace Journalism in emerging democracies is still a gospel difficult to

comprehend. In countries where media oppression prevails, Journalists are gagged into

silence, critical information is classified, the Military serves as the spokes agent for

government and media owners remain loyal to ruling regimes and dictate what should and

should not be presented to the passive audience, Peace Journalism however important it

may be, will be overshadowed by these challenges.

Another key lesson learnt is, that while peace Journalism calls on Journalists to give voice

to the voiceless; this phenomenon varies from one context to another. In emerging

democracies where majority of the people don’t participate in the decision-making, it

becomes a norm for the masses to remain silent. Some journalists in Uganda have

complained that its much easier to get a comment from an official source, than from a

layman because the layman fears to have his voice and opinion heard in the media due to

political uncertainties.

The challenges identified in this research are contextual and any attempt at integrating

Peace Journalism into Practice must pay special attention to contextual challenges.

Another lesson learnt, is that although Peace Journalism is increasingly becoming

important, Journalists argue that the starting point should be the development of a right

113
curriculum that does not seek to turn journalists and journalism into another form of

advocacy NGO.

Additionally, Peace Journalism Practice that calls for impartially as evidenced from the

interviews becomes rather hazy especially for journalists who originated from the areas

worst hit by the LRA rebel incursions and for those who hail from the same village as the

LRA rebel Commander Joseph Kony. Some journalists admitted that it was difficult to

shift their focus from the plight of the Acholi people because they too are Acholi's. So in

such a case the story would be sloppy sided.

Some journalists interviewed also say that the Integration of the principles of peace

journalism should start from the newsrooms where journalists are already reporting about

conflicts, which can serve as real life real time case studies. In addition specialized

training of journalists on peace journalism is good step, as it would cascade the concepts

back to the newsroom and journalism classrooms.

Overall the power of Peace Journalism has been overestimated with total disregard of the

context and environment within which the journalists operate. In Uganda, Journalism

practice rotates around "media savyness". The warring parties know what stories the

journalists’ want and will fine-tune their messages to attract the attention of the media. In

other words if the journalists want a Peace story which is rare in this case the parties will

hand down a peace story.

6.3 Recommendations for Integrating Peace Journalism into Practice

114
Based on the challenges identified in this research, Journalists who covered the LRA

peace process agree that Peace journalism Practice in Uganda is important. But its

implementation must start from the critical self awareness and reflection on the individual

Journalists responsibility to the public, then spread out to the training institutions and then

the media houses and finally to the public.

It's an old age adage that you can't sow peace to others when you don’t have inner peace.

It is highly recommended that Journalists themselves appreciate the significance of both

inner and outer peace. The table below provides the recommendations for Peace

Journalism Practice.

Table 9. Recommendations for Peace Journalism Practice in Uganda


Levels Constraints Recommendation
Individual Journalist • Most practicing • Critical Self-
Journalists born reflection on their
and bred in an era roles as journalists
of conflict have in conflicted
little or no societies.
understanding of
own values, beliefs • Self-awareness on
and motives. the importance of
Peace stories.
• Poor or no
Journalism • Seek for quality
Training. Journalism
Training that is
• Socio-demographic relevant to the
and political needs of the day
backgrounds. and the country.

Newsroom Routines • Editorial policies • Editors must


that focus on Bad Reshape the
News is good editorial policies
news; glorify integrate the good
conflicts and news about peace.
reliance on official
sources. • Routine awareness
training for
• Editorial reporters on Peace
interference Journalism.

115
• Media ethics and • Build Peace
values Journalism
reporting capacities
through training.

Media Training • Limited or no • Integrate Peace


Institutions Training in Peace journalism training
Journalism in the Curriculum.
• Conduct
specialized training
courses in Peace
Journalism.

Media Ownership/ sources • Audience is seen as • Integrate Peace


market for News Journalism concept
product. in the editorial
policies.
• News product must
scream and attract • Embrace the
audience. concept and
conduct trainings
• Government for journalists in
influence through the area.
censorship and
propaganda. • Provide
scholarships and
• Elite dominance in awards for best
News Peace Journalism
reporting
• Media/military ties

• Marginalization of
the Voiceless.
Public ideology and global • Raise awareness
Cultural Narratives about the need for
conflict sensitive
reports.

Further research must look beyond the surface of the levels described under the hierarchy

of influences model. The research should look at the factors that create these levels and

recommend ways for harmonizing these levels to make Peace Journalism practice a

reality. Without such research, there is a possibility that any attempts at Peace Journalism

may continue to get trapped in a maze of complexities and contradictions that differ from

116
one country to another. For example it is important to conduct a research on the Impact of

Media ownership and commercialization of News on Peace journalism.

Finally it is highly recommended that researchers in Peace Journalism, media trainers and

experts work closely with the media industry in Uganda, to introduce the concept of

peace journalism. The concept should not be hyped and left to operate in a vacuum, the

need for linkages is crucial. The linkages must not exclude the policy makers who

according to Strobel (1997), need a sophisticated understanding, not simplistic

descriptions of the complex role of the news media in a democratic society.129

The researcher in this thesis set out to analyze the roles and challenges of Journalists in

the peace process. While the thesis has not exhausted all the challenges, it has shown that

the journalists have a role to play in a peace process, but that role is dependant on the

factors which vary from one individual journalist to another, one media house to another,

from one country to another and from one media context to another.

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Appendices

125
The following questionnaire has been prepared by Machrine Birungi Kamara, MA
Student in Peace and Conflict Studies at the European University Center for Peace
Studies in StadtSchlaining Austria. The questionnaire focuses on the Role of Journalists
in Peace Processes and challenges of integrating Peace Journalism into Mainstream
Journalism Practice.

Please all responses will be quoted strictly for academic purposes. Thank you for your
cooperation.

Part A: The following questions relate to the concept Peace Journalism

1) What do you think is important in reporting about conflict? or "What do you think
good conflict reporting should be
like?............................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................
............................................................................................................

2) Have you ever heard about the concept; Peace Journalism?


Yes
No

3) If yes, what in Your Opinion is Peace Journalism?

4) How did you come to know about Peace Journalism?


…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

5) How did your education/Training prepare you for Peace Journalism practice?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………6) What is
your opinion about the concept of Peace Journalism?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

7) Have you had an opportunity to apply Peace Journalism concepts into Practice?

126
If yes
How”?...............................................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................................................
............................................................................................................

If No, why?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

Part B – Peace Journalism in Practice

8) What motivated you to cover the LRA peace process?


…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………

9) What issues did you set out to explore in covering the LRA peace process in?
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
………………………………………………………………………………….
………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
………………………………………………………………………

10) What type of stories were you looking for when covering the LRA peace Process?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………

11) Did you feel any kind of pressure from Your Media Organization regarding the
way you covered the LRA peace process?
………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………

12) If you answered Yes Question 8, please briefly explain the kind of pressure you
felt in your course of work
………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………

13) List any factors that influenced the way you covered the LRA peace process?
………………………………………………………………………………………

127
………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………

14) Who influenced the way you approached the Stories? What was the nature of
influence?
………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………

15) Who were your Major sources of News?


…………………………………………………………………………………………
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16) What were the major types of stories handed down to you by your sources?
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17) Were you criticized over the course of your work as a reporter covering the LRA
peace Process?
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………………………………………………………………………………

18) What was your relationship with the Government, while you reported about the
LRA peace process in Juba?
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19) Describe any significant changes you may have noticed in your relationship with
government over the course of the LRA peace Process.
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20) Were you criticized by the Governments Delegation team about the issues you
reported in relation to the LRA peace process?

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………………………………………………………………………………………
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………………………………………………………………………………………
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21) What was your relationship with the LRA peace team during the peace talks?
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22) Did this relationship change over the course of the Peace process?
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23) If Yes, describe the nature of change in this relationship


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24) What criticism if any, did you receive from the LRA peace Team about the way
you covered the peace
process?......................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................
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....................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................

25) Were you satisfied with the outcome of your reporting?

26) If yes, in what way?


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27) If not, why


not?.............................................................................................................................
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28) What Role do you think Journalists ought to play in a Peace


Process?......................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................

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....................................................................................................................................
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29) What Recommendations would you make for the integration of Peace Journalism
into Mainstream conventional Journalism Practice in Uganda?
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Part C: Background Information

Age: ………………………………………………………………………………..
Gender: …………………………………………………………………………….
Organization: ………………………………………………………………………
Duty: ………………………………………………………………………………
Journalism Experience: ……………………………………………………………
Education: …………………………………………………………………………

Thank you

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The following questionnaire has been prepared by Machrine Birungi Kamara, MA
Student in Peace and Conflict Studies at the European University Center for Peace
Studies in Stadtschlaining Austria. The questionnaire focuses on the Role of Journalists in
Peace Processes and challenges of integrating Peace Journalism into Conventional
Journalism Practice.

Please all responses will be quoted strictly for academic purposes. Thank you for your
cooperation.

Part A: The following questions relate to the concept Peace Journalism

6) What do you think is important in reporting about conflict? or "What


do you think good conflict reporting should be like?

–Good conflict reporting should cover the causes, the course and consequences of
conflict. It should focus on the real interests of parties and not only the positions that
parties continuously talk about.
Good conflict reporting should go beyond the spokespersons of the parties in conflict
to include voices and faces of the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and the inert as well
as the environment.

7) What in Your Opinion is Peace Journalism?

Peace journalism is the kind of journalism that is conscious of the consequences of


destruction and violence as a means of conflict resolutions and reports in a way that
allows different peace makers the chance, opportunity and prominence to contribute
to society. It is reporting that puts interests of society in general above and beyond
the interests of individual players who usurp, own and hold the rest of the community
hostage

8) What do you think about the Concept of Peace Journalism within the
context of the Media in Uganda?

The concept of peace journalism is new and still widely misunderstood in the
Ugandan media. Many practicing journalists have either not heard about it or have
no conceptual understanding of peace journalism or its practical; implication on
their day to day work.

Part B: Media Coverage of the LRA Peace Process

9) What in your opinion was the dominant frame; war or peace


journalism in the coverage of the LRA peace process?

War oriented journalism was the dorminant frame of coverage of the Peace process.

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10) How was the Peace Process explained to the public by the Journalists
in
Uganda? .......................................................................................................................
.......The peace process was generally explained as a contest between the LRA peace
team and the benevolent government team that was in Juba to give them a chance to
talk and find a soft landing for the otherwise brutal, inhuman and abnormal rebels
of the LRA. The government team was portrayed as the team with answers while the
rebel team was portrayed as the weakened foe, facing possible defeat and ICC
indictment and therefore in need of redemption

11) Do you agree that much of the stories came from the official sources
including the military and very few initiated by the journalists?

12) Absolutely Yes....


a) if yes why?
b) if no why?
The official sources especially the government and the military transported fed and
even paid allowances to journalists. Journalists were in a state of self-confinement.
With little or no background and interest in what had happened prior to the talks, the
ability of journalists to even know who the alternative voices and sources were
limited.

13) What differences do you cite in the way the various media covered the
LRA peace process?
The broadcast media (radio and T.V) largely concentrated on events as they
happened. Who said what and when. There was hardly any context in the radio and
T.V stories. Government leaning media reports concentrated on the Personality and
character of the chief government negotiator Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, as a calm, well
intentioned and wise man, contrasting it with the various leaders of the LRA
delegations, who were presented as erratic, disorganized and irrational in their
demands. The international media largely concentrated on the perception of the
“western observers and the milestones such as the cessation of hostilities, agenda 3
and the various attempts at signing the final peace agreement.
Independent media like Uganda Radio Network was more interested in the people
stories, the negotiations behind the scenes and the role of civil society, religious and
international observers.
14) Can you point out any differences in the way different journalists
covered the LRA peace process?
Some of the journalists such as Frank Nyakairu of the Monitor Publications focused
on participants and their individual roles in the Peace talks.
Grace Matsiko was largely looked at the key moments, the ceremonies, the trekking to
the jungle hide-out and the signing ceremonies.
The New Vision, Milton Olupot was more officious, looking at the documents and the
protocol details…. While his colleague, Henry Mukasa was more less a public
relations officer for the talks in general…his stories were like press releases about
what has happened, what is going to happen next.

15) The media was often criticized for its negative coverage of the peace
process, what is your opinion about this?

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My opinion is that journalists were not negative parse; they were either ignorant or
unconscious of the fact that Peace negotiations are not a holiday camp or a
parliamentary debate. It is this failure to put the talks in their proper context that
made it look negative. The lack of basic knowledge and understanding of the peace
building process, coupled with the long and unabating government propaganda
against the LRA made coverage of the process negative.

16) What factors do you think could have influenced the way the Peace
Process was covered by the journalists?
• Inadequate training on the Peace making processes and lack of exposure to
conflict conscious reporting
• Logistical and financial inadequacies that left many journalists at the mercy
of the government for and the military for transportation accommodation and
feeding
• Ownership and internal policies of the media institutions
• Ignorance and lack of contact with the LRA which made many journalists
think that the group knew northing other than to kill maim and loot
• Social stereotypes built over a long period of time. Majority of the journalists
covering the peace talks were from the southern part of Uganda who have
grown up with minimum contact with the north and knew little about the
north.

17) Would you say there were some stories the Ugandan media was
successful in putting across?
The official story of the talks and the step-by-step process of negotiation was told
quite successfully
The positions of the parties were repeated over and over again…

18) What kind of influence if any, do you think the News Media had on
the
Government?
The opposition?
The public? In shaping the Peace Process debate?

The Government was largely in control of the media output at-least in Uganda
and the media could not have had much above minimal influence
The opposition did not want to be left out of the glory the government seemed to
bask in at the talks. As a result, the opposition was more influenced by what was
seed as the governments’ apparent success and struggled for association. Media
reports were therefore scanned and analyzed by the opposition to try and find a
place to fit or be apart of.
The media in Uganda is not a good place to judge public opinion. It is elitist and
tends to concentrate on the small class that has access and can afford to
participate. What is clear though is that the public was in support of the peace
process but not in a position to influence the course or debate the consequence.
The few public consultation events held in Uganda were haphazard and
dominated by the political class.

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19) Do you believe that the Parties were given equal opportunities to
promote their messages in the media?
Not at-all. The government and the army clearly had a clearly undisputable share of
media messages. You get a sense that the LRA delegation were always marginalized
and never given the benefit of doubt. Their spokesmen were widely regarded as
irrational, unrealistic and sometimes half-crazy. The media seemed to be a little
bemused and surprised whenever they found intelligent, rational and well-reasoned
people among the LRA team.

20) What in your view were the positive effects of the media on the peace
process?
For the first time, the 2 sides were covered as sides in a conflict. The media were able
to present the hitherto unknown side of the LRA as a group with real political
interests and issues that needed to be addressed in Uganda. There was also an
attempt at expanding and covering the LRA as a force rather than the individual
Joseph Kony.

21) What in your view were the negative effects of the media on the Peace
Process?
The process was covered at such an official level that it was impossible to see, hear
and know the opinions of the real victims of the conflict
Imbalanced coverage in favor of the government reinforced stereotypes that the LRA
were no more than a band of savage brutes with unreasonable political positions
The over reliance on the official spokesmen of the sides denied the coverage of the
process the other voices from observers, analysts and peace building professionals
from institutions such as Conciliation Resource, Caritas, International crisis Group,
who were on hand but were not deemed an important resource for the stories.

22) Were you satisfied with the way the LRA peace Process was covered
by the Journalists?
BIG “NO”.

23) What role could the Journalists play in a Peace Process?


• Let the Voices of the victims be heard
• Promote the voices of the peace makers
• Place the conflict in its proper context
• Explore the real interests of the sides
• Provide a platform for analysis so the professionals and experts can help
break down the complex issues.

24) What in Your opinion would be the challenges of Peace Journalism


Practice in Uganda?
• Training of Journalists to understand the difference between run-on the mill
reporting and peace journalism. Logistical support to enable reporters act
independently and objectively

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• Personal safety of the journalists in a country where the government
misconstrues independence to mean opposition
• Media ownership and attitudes of management of media institutions who are
used to the journalism that sees conflict as an event

Part C: Background Information

Age: ADULT
Gender: MALE
Organization: UGANDA RADIO NETWORK
Duty: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Journalism Experience: EVERYDAY
Education: NOT YET OVER

Thank you

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Signature Page

The Thesis committee for Machrine Birungi Certifies that this is the

approved version of the following thesis;

JOURNALISTS IN PEACE PROCESSES

Peace Makers or Peace Spoilers?

Challenges of Integrating Peace Journalism into Conventional Journalism Practice

Case Study of

LRA Peace Process in Uganda

APPROVED BY

SUPERVISING COMMITTEE:

Supervisor: Prof. Jake Lynch

Reader: Prof. Nadine Bilke

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