Conflict-Sensitive Journalism? Journalistic Role Perceptions and Practices in Democratization Conflicts

  • Judith Lohner
  • Irene Neverla
  • Sandra Banjac


The chapter explores the role perceptions and practices of journalists across four transitional countries (Egypt, Kenya, Serbia and South Africa). It is based on a comparative analysis of 100 in-depth interviews with journalists covering different democratization conflicts. While journalistic norms of objectivity and the watchdog role seem to have widespread appeal, results also show tensions between these norms and what is possible and indeed desirable in situations of political instability, societal divisions, violence and state interference. The chapter adds in-depth knowledge to existing empirical studies on journalism in conflict societies and highlights the dilemmas, ambiguities and context specific values that guide journalists in uncertain times. The findings point at the emergence of hybrid forms of journalism and their often ambivalent impact on the communication and resolution of democratization conflicts.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Lohner
    • 1
  • Irene Neverla
    • 2
  • Sandra Banjac
    • 3
  1. 1.German Rectors’ ConferenceBonnGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies, University of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Communication, University of ViennaViennaAustria

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