Students hope for peaceful Mindanao through peace journalism

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews / 8 April) – Students and teachers from various schools in the Caraga Region expressed their hope for peace through responsible and balanced journalism during a peace journalism workshop at the Father Saturnino Urios University on Tuesday.

Primy Cane, a former broadcast journalist based in Cagayan de Oro City who spearheaded the workshop, pointed out the importance of peace journalism, especially in Mindanao.

“Mindanao needs peace journalism, the way a thirsty man needs water,” Cane said.

She pointed out that after the Mamasapano tragedy, there was so much anger and “uninformed comments and opinions” one can read all over the social media.

Cane, who recently finished her masters degree from the University of Sydney through the Australia Awards Scholarships, expressed the need for a better way to convey “what really is happening by providing context, history and background, and doing more legwork and extra research” so the audience can realize that “violence is not the only solution to conflict.”

She pointed out how peace journalism can help build a better perspective on what is really happening in the field away from the prejudice and hatred.

Cane said that while she was taking up her Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies, all she could think of was how much her fellow Mindanawons “needed to hear and learn all that I was hearing.”

“There is so much prejudice against this beautiful island and its generous people, and I grew up influenced by this culture that people would ask me if my island is as scary and dangerous as it is portrayed in the news. While in Australia, I decided that I wanted to become part of the solution to correcting this grossly skewed misconception of Mindanao,” she stressed.

During the open forum, the students expressed their optimism and called for the importance of responsible journalism through advocating peace.

Jamila Loren Tingzon, a third year communication student at FSUU and president of its Communication Guild, revealed that the workshop was an eye opener for the students.

“We were all clueless about it. It’s not taught in school, and I think it should be,” she said, referring to peace journalism. She promised to help spread the cause.

“With peace journalism, people will have more hope towards a much better life,” seconded Cybil Pearl Alegria, a high school student from Trento, Agusan del Sur.

Reynaldo Hipitulan, a teacher who headed the delegation from Bayugan Central Elementary School, said he was delighted that at such a young age, the students had a “grasp of the idea of peace education and journalism.”

He expressed optimism that the students will understand the importance of peace and incorporate this “in the way they write and hopefully develop them into better writers in the future.”