Probing peace journalism: The discursive construction of blackness within the racial democracy of Colombia

Monday 7 November 2022

Cortés-Martínez, Carlos A., and Ryan J. Thomas. Journalism 23, no. 1 (2022): 189-206.

Peace journalism, the attempt to enquire and write about the world, is a very appealing practice in Colombia. This article looks at one such example of peace journalism: that of a magazine entitled SoHo which focuses on racial issues affecting black men in the Colombian community.

This article critically assesses the Colombian magazine in an attempt to understand what the magazine does within the community and assess its impact. The authors of the article use this case study to show what peace journalism should be, drawing from the successes and failures of the magazine. In doing so, they describe an idealistic journalism – or at least a journalism which aspires to be idealistic. SoHo magazine fits into their analysis as they note that it operates according to two key principles: it regards all interactions as collaboration, and it does not name racism as it is but tunes it down, avoids harsh words such as ‘racist’. For these reasons, they argue that peace journalism in the way SoHo practices it is not a desirable solution to the conflictual racial relations in the area, as it does not bring about positive peace, but rather elides forms of oppression in society.

The primary point made by this study is that peace journalism should not aim to bring about peace at any cost, but rather should focus on bringing real, positive, sustainable peace, which does not cover up everyday oppression amidst the conflict, but rather uncovers it, even if necessary in ways that may provoke conflict. In this specific example, the issue of racism should not be played down, but rather called out for what it truly is.

I think that this article is interesting because it highlights nuances in the successes of peace journalism, and points out the important reality that the creation of conflictual situations and negotiations, or even the bringing of harsh challenges, are not inherently undesirable when they are performed with the aspiration to achieve peace, and are detached from violence.

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