DPI Roundtable Meeting: The Relationship between State and Media and its effect on Conflict Resolution

The Democratic Progress Institute (DPI) this weekend held a roundtable meeting at Mardin’s Artuklu University, Turkey, on the subject of the relationship between the State and the Media (both local and national), and its effect on conflict resolution. Participants included some of Turkey’s most renowned journalists and media personalities, representing national, regional and local television and newspaper media from throughout Turkey; as well as representatives from civil society, including from women’s organisations, human rights associations and others; senior academics, key individuals from the world of art and literature, members of parliament and policy makers. Panel speakers at the roundtable included international and Turkey based conflict resolution and media experts and practitioners. Speakers from Turkey included Doğan Akın (journalist and founder of Turkey’s T24) and Professor Mahmut Mutman (of İstanbul Şehir University). International speakers included Tom Kelly, former spokesperson for Tony Blair during the Northern Ireland peace process, Owen Bowcott of the London based Guardian Newspaper and David Gorman of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. The roundtable meeting examined issues of media engagement with conflict resolution and peacebuilding, media’s role as a facilitator of conflict resolution, the role of language in the media, the influence of social media on the public perceptions of peace processes, the challenges and obstacles faced by the media in supporting democratic processes and maintaining independence and the importance of media in garnering public support for democratic processes. DPI Council of Experts member Cengiz Çandar said of the roundtable: ‘It has been a very valuable meeting. Participants have gained very much from today’s speakers and from the discussion, which has been lively and engaged’. Previous DPI activities in this series have seen participants visit London, Belfast, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cardiff and South Africa, and take part in roundtable discussions on diverse subjects including conflict resolution, constitutional arrangements, devolution in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish contexts, language and identity issues across the United Kingdom, and democratic transition in South Africa. Other roundtable meetings have focused on issues relating to media, civil society and gender’s role in conflict resolution. The response to these activities has been highly positive, with extensive media coverage and a continuation of discussion occurring as a result. Other DPI future activities and roundtable meetings are planned within Turkey and elsewhere. Future studies are intended to take place in numerous relevant parts of the world. Records of all of DPI’s Comparative Studies visits have been published and are available via the Institute’s website. A record including all of the discussions in this roundtable meeting will be published and made available on DPI’s website. For any further information please contact Eleanor Johnson at ejohnson@democraticprogress.org.