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    Melissa Baumann Siebert

    Thanks for the article, Michelle. Well done…but just wanted to say that Hannes and I were both journalists, actually, not conflict resolution people. We worked with CR people to better understand how journalists impact conflict, and our options for helping to manage and transform it. Given how violent SA was in the early nineties, it didn’t seem enough to just be ‘sensitive’ (a subsequent concept, ‘conflict sensitive’ reporting, as was ‘peace journalism’, which also drew on the work we did here in the late 80s early 90s; we aren’t/weren’t peace journalists), and objectivity is a myth, anyway. Journalists in SA had had a long history of activism by that point, and instead of taking ‘sides’ in terms of a political party, we jumped in on the ‘side’ of justice and trying to transform conflict in a constructive way — also to deepen people’s understanding of issues/conflict, provide context, get to the roots of conflict etc. Wish people were reporting along these lines today. We also developed a number of media projects using these approaches, through the MPC and NPS — tv and radio programmes for the SABC, and the project Video Dialogues through the MPC — using video to help promote dialogue in the warring townships (Crossroads, Thokoza etc)…Maybe it’s time to haul out our Mediation Project for Journalists again (our workshops for journalists covering conflict)! The Media Peace Centre is in fact nominally existent…maybe time for a resurrection. I’m still in Cape Town; Hannes is an international mediator based in Beirut. Again, thanks for writing this…

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