Change the channel to change your perspective!

Mass-media in post-conflict societies is often highly polarized along the ethnic lines, representing one-sided interpretations of war events and history. Rupar and Graf (2017) showed that Bosniaks and Croats who were following mass media in their own ethnic languages thought that their group has suffered more than other groups. People who believed that their own group suffered the most did not want to forgive and apologize to the former adversary.

On the other hand, participants who followed mass media in languages other than one’s own were more likely to acknowledge that their group was not the only one that has suffered and more likely to apologize to and forgive the former adversary. These results suggest that contradictory information from outgroup mass media may challenge wide-spread beliefs about suffering of one’s own group and consequently open way for reconciliation.

The findings from Rupar and Graf’s studies (2017, 2018) indicate that both content and source of information are important aspects of mass media influence on willingness to reconcile after the most serious form of conflict – war. The outcomes speak to the simultaneously destructive and beneficial impact of the mass media on the peacebuilding process and emphasize the responsibility and power of journalists shaping people’s lives in the aftermath of war.

 

Rupar, M., & Graf, S. (2017). Ingroup and Outgroup Mass Media are Differently Linked to Reconciliation through Perception of Ingroup Victimhood. In D. Valić Nedeljković, & D. Gruhonjić (Eds.), Populizam, izbeglička kriza, religija, mediji. (pp. 36–51).  Filozofski Fakultet, Novi Sad.

Rupar, M., & Graf, S. (2018). Different Forms of Intergroup Contact with Former Adversary Are Linked to Distinct Reconciliatory Acts through Symbolic and Realistic Threat. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. doi:10.1111/jasp.12565