Framing Events of Political Violence within Peace Journalism and Internet User-Generated Comments: Effects on Readers' Emotions and Contemplation of Broader Implications


Abstract


Emotion is theorized as profoundly related to ethics and moral decision-making, which makes it relevant for communication towards peace efforts. This experimental study examined the effects of conflict-sensitive framing in news stories and online user-generated comments (a form of UGC – user-generated content) that reflected on the events of political violence such as terrorism, as well as civil and international wars. The results showed an association of conflict-sensitive journalism (peace journalism) and negative emotions; decreasing hope and increasing anger and fear. However, the conflict-sensitive UGC showed some positive emotional effects. Empirical results provide an important context and useful evidence to enrich the normative discussions regarding peace journalism. Furthermore, this study is on the frontline of exploring conflict sensitivity in the environment of digital media and UGC. Such research is vital in specifying the potentials and limitations of conflict-sensitive communication in peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts.

Keywords: conflict, digital media, new media, online comments, peace journalism, political violence, readers' comments, UGC, user-generated content, war

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