Safety Handbook for Journalists

2. Conflict Zone Reporting

What is conflict?

Conflict is an open clash between two opposing groups (or individuals); Opposition between two simultaneous but incompatible feelings; 

Battle is a hostile meeting of opposing military forces in the course of a war; A state of opposition between persons or ideas or interests.

Types of Conflicts

  • Power struggle
  • Human right violations
  • Economic struggle
  • Political motivation

Media phases in conflict:

Asymmetric conflict has presented itself as one of the most challenging operating environments for journalists:

  • Pre-conflict phase: Reporting on the conflicting parties and highlighting struggles and a possible peace solution even can gain you unpopularity with one or both of the conflicting parties, which is a security concern.
  • The conflict phase: Reporting from the field on conflict related issues.
  • The post-conflict phase: Even after the conflict has finished, there are still many stories to be told and there are still prevalent risks from local population and resistance fighters.

Conflict analysis

Conflict analysis is the systematic study of the profile, causes, actors, and dynamics of conflict. It helps gain a better understanding of the situation in which you are about to place yourself.

Conflict analysis context

  • What kind of conflict are we dealing with?
  • What are its consequences of newsgathering in this environment?
  • When did it start?
  • How has the conflict developed?
  • Is it conventional or asymmetric conflict?
  • Analysis of actors involved
  • Who are the conflicting parties?
  • What are their capacities? Alliances?
  • What capacities do the conflict parties have to continue the conflict?
  • Are there capacities for conflict resolution?
  • Why did the conflict start?
  • What are its root causes (security, political, economic, social, external)?
  • What factors contribute to prolonging the conflict?
  • What factors may impact our personal security?