Conflict-sensitive journalism: A practical handbook for journalists in southern Africa

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Department of Communication, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).


This publication is based on presentations delivered at a media, conflict and peacebuilding training workshop aimed at building the capacity of African journalists to report on conflict and peacebuilding in Southern Africa. The two-day workshop on “Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding in Southern Africa” brought together sixteen print, radio, television, and digital journalists who report on conflict and peacebuilding in the region. The journalists came from seven Southern African countries—Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia. It was organised in July 2018 by the Department of Communication, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and supported by the Social Science Research Council’s African Peacebuilding Network (APN) grant program. The workshop adopted a combination of theoretical and practical sessions with critique and interactive exercises and was facilitated by experienced academics and practitioners who combined the fundamental theories in the field with the rich experiences of their practice to engender a holistic understanding of issues. Journalists were introduced to concepts and key issues in conflict and peacebuilding, given an understanding of the link between peace, and conflict, as well as led to reflect on the roles, ideologies, and practices of the media in conflict and peacebuilding. The workshop looked at civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The issue of xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa also took centre stage. Journalists were urged to adopt conflicts-sensitive journalism, which borrows heavily from Afrocentric ideals such as Ubuntu and communitarianism. The issue of ethical reporting was also buttressed. Moreover, the issue of the safety of journalists in conflict situations also received significant attention. The workshop also provided an opportunity to link together Southern African journalists and scholars whose work focuses on conflict and peacebuilding to share experiences and learn new ways to approach their writing in the belief that this would help mitigate the risks of the media contributing to conflict.


This e-handbook is the third in a series of special publications offering guidance to media practitioners—editors and journalists—working in conflict-affected and post-conflict African countries.


conflict-sensitive, journalism, southern Africa, media, peace, indigenous knowledge, afrocentric perspective, electoral conflict, cultural violence, fake news, safety, conflict zones, ethical dilemmas, handbook


Mare, A. (Ed.). (2019). Conflict-sensitive journalism: A practical handbook for journalists in southern Africa. Namibia University of Science and Technology.