How Ensuring Public Access to Information Can Help to Build Peaceful and Inclusive Societies


Univ. of Sydney Dept of Peace and Conflict Studies – TRANSCEND Media Service


20 October, 2016 – 18:00-19:30


DPACS is hosting a 3 part webinar series entitled SDG 16:10 – How ensuring public access to information can help to build peaceful and inclusive societies. The webinar series aims to enable participants to think critically about the limitations of the 16th Sustainable Development Goal, with particular reference to its 10th target of “ensuring public access to information”. The three webinars will, respectively, consider what additional concepts need to be activated in development aid in order to enhance this aspect of international peace and security; provide a deeper understanding of Peace Journalism and how it can contribute to achieving the overarching goal, and finally utilize the case study of Burundi and the prevention of free flow of information within the country to illustrate the connections between information, peace and development. For more information on the webinars and to register please see below.

Prof. Jake Lynch

Prof. Jake Lynch

More than free information flow: 
SDG 16 identifies the building of peaceful and inclusive societies as essential to delivering the development agenda, and one of its goals – the tenth – specifies “ensuring public access to information” as a co-requisite of peace and, therefore, development. Key indicators include measures to ensure the free flow of information, but – in the UN context – this cannot be an end in itself. To deliver on its promise, SDG 16:10 will need to be implemented with additional concepts and principles, specific to the overarching purpose of enhancing prospects for international peace and security. In this webinar, Jake Lynch traces the debate over information and communication and their place in development and peace, with reference to interventions along a spectrum from journalist training, on the one end, to intended-outcome programming on the other.
Peace Journalism in media development aid:
The freedom of journalists to report on matters of public interest, without fear of reprisals, is seen as key to delivering SDG 16:10. But journalism in both the developed and the developing world has often been seen as imperilling peace – from partisan media in Rwanda and their complicity in genocide, to the New York Times reporting of Iraq’s so-called “weapons of mass destruction” in the build-up to the invasion of 2003. In response to such concerns, a globally distributed reform movement has emerged, based on Peace Journalism, or – as it is sometimes known – conflict–sensitive reporting. Jake Lynch has been the chief ideas-giver of this movement, and has been commissioned to devise and carry out media development aid interventions, in the form of journalist training programs, in many conflict-affected societies, for clients including all the major development agencies. In this webinar, he presents the prospects for Peace Journalism to be extended as a contribution to building peaceful and inclusive societies, and enabling development.
Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and the Challenges of Building a Sustainable Peace in Burundi:
A free press, freedom of expression and a vibrant civil society were some of the few achievements of peacebuilding in Burundi in the years following the end of the civil war. Peace journalism played a role in supporting peace and reconciliation in local communities through radio programs such as Search for Common Ground’s Studio Ijambo. However, in April 2015 opposition to President Nkurunziza’s third term in office was met by violent repression including the closure of all but the state-run radio station; intimidation, arrest and torture of journalists; and prevention of free information flow about the ensuing crisis. In this webinar, Dr Wendy Lambourne of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies will be joined by Burundians in exile speaking about their experiences and reflecting on the links between information, peace and development in Burundi.


Jake Lynch, former BBC newsreader, political correspondent for Sky News and Sydney correspondent for the Independent, is Associate Professor of Peace Journalism and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and the advisor for TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS. Lynch is the co-author, with Annabel McGoldrick, of Peace Journalism (Hawthorn Press, 2005), and his new book, Debates in Peace Journalism, has just been published by Sydney University Press and TUP – TRANSCEND University Press. He also co-authored with Johan Galtung and Annabel McGoldrick ‘Reporting Conflict-An Introduction to Peace Journalism,’ which TMS editor Antonio C. S. Rosa translated to Portuguese.

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