IMPACS Canada Media and Peacebuilding

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The goal of IMPACS’ Free Media Program is to foster free, critical and effective media worldwide, and to enhance the media’s role in the process of democratic development, good governance and public sector accountability.

The Free Media Program is divided into two streams: peacebuilding and trade .
Peacebuilding means strengthening the prospects for peace and weakening the chances of renewed violence in war-torn countries. The goal of peacebuilding is to enhance the capacity of a society to manage its own conflicts without violence. Because almost all peacebuilding efforts take place in a highly charged and unstable media environment – where information is often scarce and suspect – there is an early and critical role for the media to play in peacebuilding. If the media can transform itself into an instrument of peacebuilding, its influence can be pervasive and positive.


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Media and peacebuilding is a growing international movement based on the simple premise that open and responsible media is a condition for good governance, respect for human rights and democratic development. And media encompasses much more than news – soap operas, talk shows and dramas join the ranks of radio and TV news programming as tools for promoting peace and reconciliation in regions around the world.


“Considering rights seriously means considering how crucial civil society is to a healthy democracy. Civil society, in turn, requires a free media. Of all the organizations in Canada, only IMPACS makes these connections its raison d’être.”

        – Ed BroadbentScholar and Former Leader of the Federal NDP 

IMPACS’ Free Media and Peacebuilding program goals are twofold: to address the gap in our understanding of the role of media development in peacebuilding, and to provide the best professional media training and support to countries in transition to democracy. IMPACS has been instrumental in fostering dialogue on this issue. We drafted the first research paper on media and peacebuilding for the Canadian government, and continue to host international roundtables and workshops in several countries. Examples of projects have included pre-election training in Guyana, an editors forum for indigenous language press in South Asia, and practical radio training to journalists in Cambodia. Most recently, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) approached IMPACS to write an operational framework to help guide international donors in their media and peace building interventions

Canada is the first country in the world to make media and peacebuilding a priority in our international peacebuilding funding, and Canadians comprise a pool of outstanding trainers and policy officials who are internationally recognized in the field. IMPACS has been at the forefront of delivering this expertise and commitment that the media can play a constructive role in building lasting peace in conflict regions.

Find out more about IMPACS’ Free Media and Peacebuilding publications and projects.

While globalization has led to the spread of market economies, the free flow of information has become more elusive than ever. Countries such as Singapore and China have embraced market economies, but continue to maintain strict limits on the media and freedom of expression. Elsewhere, market forces have created unfavourable pressures on free media, such as the excessive concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few, and the proliferation of entertainment at the expense of news and public affairs.



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