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Conflict sensitive journalism in Palestine a challenge

Jan. 16, 2012 | International Media Support (IMS)

A few wary looks were exchanged as Canadian journalist and trainer in conflict sensitive journalism, John Keating, conducted a two-week training course for Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza. After more than 60 years of conflict, some journalists are unsure their words can make much of a difference, says Keating

“How much do average Palestinians know about average Israelis?”, John Keating asks the dozen young Palestinian journalists and journalism students attending a training course in conflict sensitive journalism hosted by the Media Development Center at Birzeit University on the West Bank.

Not much, the crowd admits and Keating elaborates: “It’s difficult to resolve a conflict if the one side doesn’t know what the other is thinking.”

Having conducted similar trainings all over the world, including an IMS-supported mission to Kenya in 2008, Keating usually finds that journalists are relieved to be introduced to conflict sensitive journalistic tools. In Palestine however, he found a different mindset among some participants.

“It was very interesting and challenging here because there was not already an acceptance that something has to be done like in Kenya and Nepal”, says Keating.

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