Four journalists facilitated a discussion on the role of journalists in promoting peace in their reportage.
Ed Lingao emphasized the importance of reporting on people during conflicts.
Best conflict reporters are those who cover people first, he said.
Reporters should not only report the events and seek only the statement of higher officials, but also of the affected masses, according to his discussion.
He also emphasized the importance of researching first before doing conflict coverages.
“Read more than you write. Listen more than you talk. And cry more than you would like to admit.”
Veronika Uy-Vitug supported this by saying that journalists must go beyond the news.
Journalists must go back to history, she said.
She said that the problem with news is that they lack context, which journalists must provide to make their reports clear to the audience.
Joe Torres said that journalists must stick to the basics of reporting, and that includes telling the stories of people.
“If you’re really serious about journalism, it should be for peace,” he said.
Rorie Fajardo discussed the duty of journalists to understand conflicts.
She said that journalists must present the human side in their stories, and that they must report fairly.
Journalists must give voice to the voiceless, that’s why they have to focus on the communities, and must let the latter speak.
She pointed out that journalists have the duty to report the background, causes of the conflict, and the peace efforts.
“Today’s audience can be tomorrow’s combatants and so we have to treat our stories very carefully.”
The peace forum is in line with the EU Journalism Peace Awards, and was held at the Escaler Hall of the Ateneo de Manila University.