“War and peace in the media”

“War and peace in the media”

by Rainer Schopf

This was the topic of  a conference on war and peace in the media which took place in Kassel (Germany), from 26 – 28 January 2018 organised by the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) whose mission is: peace through justice. The organiser was supported by five other organisations from the German peace movement.
Fortunately, the conference with 350 participants was overbooked. Most of the participants belonged to the generation 65+, so older Peace Friends from the hour zero right after the end of the Second World War. The middle generation was almost completely absent. Approximately 100 guests of the young generation about 25 years participated, the youngest guest, a baby, repeatedly drew attention to the joy of all participants.
Thereof it can be concluded: The peace movement in Germany is alive.   
Many of the young people belonged to the Jugendkulturkirche Kassel, the place where the conference took place. IALANA wrote on the aim of the conference: “Media criticism has been around for a long time. With the coverage of the Ukraine conflict it has increased dramatically. Especially in the alternative media are always more interesting and more in-depth investigations. What’s more is the cabaret. Good cabaret has always been political. But Max Uthoff and Claus von Wagner invented a peace cabaret with their ‘Anstalt’; a new form of political education. That’s what the conference wants to present. But above all, media-critical scientists and journalists shall be given their say.”
This aspiration was completely fulfilled by the conference. In their short keynote speeches, 25 speakers answered the following questions: War in the media: How is it reported, why is it reported like that? Where do the impulses of the media come from? How do we deal with propaganda? What options do media users have?
Some focal points of the conference are briefly mentioned, for example the cabaret “Die Anstalt”. Max Uthoff spoke about the entanglements of German media. Very impressively he described his meeting with Argyris Sfountouris in a programme about the atrocities of the Nazis in Greece, which he survived as a child in his Greek village and for which Germany refuses to make any compensation until today. Gabriele Krone-Schmalz reported in an excellent way about the confrontation policy against Russia in the media. She addressed herself in detail to the Ukraine conflict and the Crimea. Markus Fiedler, teacher from Oldenburg, impressively revealed the dark side of the Wikipedia platform. His films can be seen on KenFM. In it he investigates the media campaign against Daniele Ganser, who was denounced in the media after the publication of his book “Illegal wars”. Kurt Gritsch reported on the controlled debate of the Kosovo war, in particular on the reprehensible role of the red-green coalition under Schröder/Fischer, without which this war would not have been possible. It was repeatedly emphasised that war in the media is increasingly no longer referred to as war, but euphemistically declared as humanitarian intervention. And of course: Konstantin Wecker. He crowned the conference with a wonderful concert on the subject of peace, which he feels committed to as an activist for a long time.
Videos of the conference are online at www.ialana.de. All presentations will be available in written form – published as a book by IALANA.    •

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