As part of commemorating World Press Freedom Day, U.S. Ambassador James F. Entwistle, in collaboration with the American University of Nigeria (AUN), announced the launch of the Peace Journalism Network on May 3, 2016. This AUN initiative was established through a U.S. Embassy grant aimed at nurturing a new coalition of Nigerian journalists committed to following the tenets of peace journalism and encouraging the society to value non-violent responses and peaceful resolution to conflicts.
The program’s objectives include improving the quality of Nigerian journalists’ reporting on Boko Haram’s atrocities and reporting on peace initiatives across the country. They also involve uncovering the non-visible effects of conflicts on societies and individuals, transcending conflict issues, emphasizing solutions to conflicts, and avoiding incendiary comments and hate speech.
AUN President Margee Ensign said that journalists can contribute plenty to finding peace in the society “because peace is not just the absence of war. It is a set of deliberate interventions to prevent and or transform conflict.” She added, “Peace journalism conveys stories that frame violent conflict as opportunities for intervention, and encourages the society to value non-violent and inclusive responses to conflict.”
The Peace Journalism Network is modeled on successful networks in Pakistan and the Philippines.