Reporting on victims of violence: Media coverage of the extrajudicial killings in Colombia = Reportaje periodístico de víctimas de la violencia: Cobertura Mediática de las ejecuciones Extrajudiciales en Colombia
This research examines the newspaper coverage, El Tiempo, of the extrajudicial killings in Colombia and in a wider context the media coverage of victims of violence. The literature found in this dissertation suggests that the way in which media report on victims of violence can either harm or help the healing process of the victims and victims’ family members. Moreover, ignoring the victims’ voices in the mass media and their personal testimony prevents the wider society from acknowledging the atrocities committed and the extent to which conflict has affected collective identity. Journalists, as story writers, bring the stories of pain and suffering to the wider society, therefore they play an important role on deconstructing the deeply damaged victims’ and their relatives’ identity. From a humane reporting perspective is argued that journalists’ and media organizations’ understanding of the psychological effects of trauma after violence can be an important and useful tool when covering violence. The content analysis of one year coverage on the extrajudicial killings in Colombia shows that institutionalized voices, for instance official viewpoints are privileged sources of information; moreover the use of journalistic structures such as writing style and news values prevent the victims and their relative’s testimonies to be heard and expose to the society. Several challenges are posed when reporting on conflict and victims of violence, therefore media organizations and media workers are encourage to critically reflect on their own practice in order to report on victims and trauma in a humane and transformative way.
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