Irresponsible reporting in tense situations may inflame passions and exacerbate conflicts. This was what happened in Rwanda in 1993, when broadcasts of a popular radio station stoked hatred and incited widespread violence against ethnic Tutsis. Media also played a role in intensifying the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the mid-90s.
Yet journalists also have the power to help transform conflicts constructively through their work. A conflict-sensitive approach requires journalists to see and report on violent conflict without turning it into a zero-sum game. To do this, they must understand the dynamics of conflict and media's role within it, learn to recognize and avoid stereotypes, and create opportunities for more inclusive dialogue about opportunities for resolution.
Reporting Atrocities: A Toolbox for Journalists Covering Violence and Atrocities uses the principles of conflict-sensitive journalism (CSJ) to teach reporters how to cover even the most senseless acts of cruelty in a way that contributes to peacebuilding. Written by CSJ expert Peter DuToit, it includes theoretical background, practical tips, and additional resources available to journalists reporting on conflict, or those who may need to in the future.
This toolkit was made possible by funding from USAID.