Pax Christi International staff member participates in peace journalism conference at the Vatican


18/10/18 - On October 13th, on the eve of the canonisation of Blessed Paul VI and Blessed Óscar Arnulfo Romero, an international conference on peace journalism organised by the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and SIGNIS, took place at the Vatican.

Our Communications Assistant and Young Peace Journalists Project Coordinator, Vittoria Valentina Di Gennaro, attended the event which had the aim to examine the theme of peace journalism to which Pope Francis dedicated his 2018 Message for World Communications Day.

The purpose of this initiative was also to make a connection with the witnesses of peace, who became saints the following day. The reason is that, in different ways but with common passion, both Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Romero encouraged communications media to be instruments of reconciliation in the search for truth.

The conference began with welcoming remarks by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini, and the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter A. Turkson. The discussion panel, moderated by Prof. Helen Osman, President of SIGNIS, included Prof. Johan Galtung, Founder of Transcend International; Rey-Sheng Her, Director of the Tzu Chi Foundation Human Development Department; Vanessa Bassil, President of the Media Association for Peace; and Stefania Tanesini, International Coordinator of NetOne.

“News & Information are to society what oxygen is to the body. To overcome the pathological addiction to negative and polarising news in current day journalism, we need to train increasing numbers of peace journalists in solution indicative thinking,” said Dr. Galtung, Norwegian sociologist, mathematician, and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies.

“The ultimate goal of constructive journalism is hoping journalists will contribute in building a good, harmonious and peaceful society,” stated Dr. Her.

Ms. Bassil, the pioneer of peace journalism in Lebanon, strongly believes in it and she dedicated her enthusiasm and knowledge to establish an organisation centred on media in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, the Media Association for Peace (MAP).

Ms. Tanesini, international coordinator and spokesperson of the association NetOne, also believes very much in a kind of journalism which is constructive, empathetic, dialogical, and at the constant research of peace.

At the end of the panel discussion, the participants were divided into four groups to discuss the topic: "What future for Peace Journalism? Best practices and challenges". Ms. Di Gennaro had the opportunity to give her impressions about the conference in public and present the project of Pax Christi International, titled “Young Peace Journalists”, of which you can read more by clicking here.

“I am very glad to be here and be enriched by this experience by hearing from high-level speakers on the topic of violence, positive and negative peace, and on the concept of peace journalism, which today more than ever needs to be promoted and updated,” she said. Ms. Di Gennaro added that this will be the next step to take in order to develop the project she is coordinating at Pax Christi International.

A video summary of the event from Vatican News is available here, and a video (in Italian only) has been made available here about the idea of Pope Paul VI on peace and mass media.

(Photo credit: Dicastery for Communications)


peace journalism, Vittoria Valentina Di Gennaro, SIGNIS, Dicastery for Communication, Vatican, Vanessa Bassil