Conflict zones and non-physical risks to journalism practice. Notes from Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mots-clés :Foreign correspondents, embedding, humanitarianism, Bourdieu, fixers
Conflict zones around the world are accompanied by spaces designed to service the internationals whose careers intersect with conflict – profes- sionals such as foreign correspondents. These increasingly entrenched and segregated internationalised zones – alternatively described as aidlands (Mosse 2011a) or peacelands (Autesserre 2014) have been the subject of recent critique in postcolonial, development and international relations literature for fostering limited and flawed types of knowledges of the countries and conflicts in which they exist. This paper argues the urgent need to take account of these critiques given that foreign correspondents use of these same aid/peace lands while on reporting assignments constitutes ‘embedding’ in the humanitarian and international development field. A series of potential risks arising from this embedding are detailed with risks defined here as non-physical challenges to quality, ethical, interna- tional reportage. The research is practice-led drawing on auto-ethnography and interviews conducted in Goma, DRC as well as inter-disciplinary literature. Bourdieu’s concepts of doxa and, from social geography, the idea of social practices as regulated by the way we conceive of space and time, will be used to highlight the importance of engaging with these risks right now given the current state of flux in international reporting. This flux makes the profession vulnerable to the uncritical adoption of practices designed for, and set by, the powerful humanitarian and development fields.