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Book Review

Media handbook

The Milli Gazette Online

Reporting conflict; a handbook for media practitioners, edited by Laxmi Murthy published by SAFHR, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2004
86 pages ISBN 99946-32-57-4 Price; USD $ 6, NRs 400 & INR 250

Developed from within the South Asian media community, the Handbook is the first of its kind in identifying road blocks and exploring a pathway to a more sensitive reporting of conflicts. In the blame game the mass media is often singled out as a part of the problem of exacerbating conflicts. Moreover, in the wake of the media revolution South Asia there has been a phenomenal expansion in the reach and power of the media as also its responsibility. However, while the mass media is the primary vehicle of the constitutionally guaranteed fight of freedom of expression in our countries, its independence is mediated by its structural dependence on the state and market. Also, the journalist is not outside society.

In reporting conflicts, the journalist is a participant - from determining where there is a (newsworthy) conflict, to explaining its causes, aggravating it or even resolving it. Well intentioned impulses to shore up national integrity- the patriotic imperative, and manipulated information produce the 'mistakes' of journalists that can drive cycles of violence.

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