Our main objectives:
Journalists covering war and conflict lead a dangerous life. Whereas only two war correspondents were killed during the entire period of the First World War, the situation a hundred years later is radically different. Killing of journalists is becoming more common and there is an increasing tendency that journalists themselves are the aim of violence. An important topic for this research group is the working conditions of journalists and media workers in war and conflict zones, and to bring about new knowledge about circumstances that may improve the situation for journalists, and also be included in the training of new journalists.
In an increasingly more complex world, access to information and analyses that show wider structures and relationships are more important than ever. Media messages are decisive to mobilize citizens to be in favour or against a potential war. Analyses of media coverage including visual perspectives of war, conflict and peace processes, are included in the group’s research activities.
Simultaneously there are many challenges connected to modern warfare for journalists aiming and undertaking a professional job. Different actors may have clear propaganda and media strategies using PR-companies, ‘fake news’ and Psychological operations (PSYOPS) to influence the public through the media. Some of these phenomena are not new and in addition to the present situation, and contemporary terrorism, war and conflicts, MEKK also works to draw historical lines to earlier wars.
Journalism in conflict and post-conflict
A central question is where to draw the line between war and peace, when peace is seen as more than absence of war and violence. We study the role of journalism in the often very unstable post-conflict period, where a society is neither completely at war nor completely peaceful, and the risk for development in either directions is tangible. The role of media in peace building, reconciliation and memory work is also of interest here.
In 2016 several members of the research group contributed to Kristin Skare Orgeret and William Tayeebwa (eds.). Journalism in Conflict and Post-Conflict Conditions. Worldwide perspectives,Göteborg, Nordicom.
Journalism in conflict, flight and migration
How is the refugee crisis covered in the media? How is mobile telephones and social media used during the flight? How do refugees with a journalistic background work with questions linked to evasion and migration?
A publication here is Elisabeth Eide (red.) Den dyrebare følgesvennen . På flukt med mobiltelefon. 2017.
Freedom of Expression
Many of the group members work and publish on the prerequisites for freedom of expression and the limits to freedom of expression. This is a field that overlaps with several of the other topics mentioned here, not least with journalists’ security.
The prerequisites for freedom of expression in different countries and development of pedagogical tools for training journalist students in freedom of expression is central to the project ’Shared Horizons’ which cooperates with journalist researchers in Bangladesh and Tunisia.
Forthcoming book: Frey, Elsebeth og Rhaman, Mofizur (red) Negotiating Journalistic Core Values and Cultural Diversities . Nordicom. 2017.