Peace Channel: a kind of “YouTube” for Peace to be launched in Stavanger, Norway, on 12 September 2008
This September, Internet users worldwide will be introduced to an innovative web-based TV service. However, contrary to the majority of current web TV sites, "Peace Channel” will focus on reporting and finding solutions to conflicts around the world. Requested by several Nobel Peace Laureates, it will be backed by the humanitarian foundation Point of Peace, the majority share-holder of Peace Channel, along with the London-based media group Ten Alps and its founder, musician and humanitarian Bob Geldof. The Point of Peace has been one of the initiative-takers for both Radio Burma and Free Tibet.
Peace Channel aims to use the ever-growing number of global Internet users as a new method of conflict resolution. Peace Channel will also collaborate closely with World Trade Center TV based in the World Trade Center, Cologne, Germany.
The website operates around a central idea that peace is more likely to come about if people share a constructive understanding of each other’s views, problems and cultural differences, while exchanging knowledge in hopes of resolving each other’s conflicts. Users would be able to comment on materials, contribute to debates, upload media, engage with interactive features, and participate in games; they would also be encouraged to be as active as possible in expressing their views. Peace Channel will allow minds that, without it, would never have met to collaborate in order to reach a common goal of peaceful resolution of conflicts. The site itself would offer a neutral tone and language to avoid influencing the types of users who contribute, whilst giving balanced information about all sides in a conflict and its developments.
Peace Channel will be available to anyone with Internet access and would be compatible with most major Internet browsers. It would be delivered not only in broadband, but also a simpler narrow band width would allow users with slower Internet connections to have a smoother viewing experience. This would allow users in developing countries to contribute their inputs and opinions to debates in order to provide more rounded approaches to pressing issues. This wide availability would give a voice to those who were previously voiceless.
The website is based on five main features, namely: videos; debate forums; a “Peace Image Gallery”; reconciliation tools; and a “Peace Channel Interactive Zone” aimed at younger users. In addition, the site would feature feedback questionnaires to gain insight on how to ameliorate it. The videos and other information hosted on the site would then be divided into three categories: neutral Peace Channel programmes; materials from organizations and media groups; and user-generated media. The website would offer a vast amount of personalization features to optimize each user’s experience. For example, the site could display previously viewed media or use common themes of information viewed by each person to suggest further content that they might be interested in.
Peace Channel is designed so that its growth and development as a whole will be primarily influenced by users and would encourage people to share the site’s content with other users and websites in order to extend the network beyond the original site. It would provide ample educational resources for use in schools, universities, or for self-directed learning.
It is the opinion of Peace Channel’s founders that, while conflict is inevitable, the violent manner in which some people go about resolving it can be avoided through the strategic planning and collaboration of the many. In addition, they believe that this misinterpretation clouds people’s vision, preventing them from recognizing a non-violent conflict. The website aims to look beyond violence-related conflicts in the hope of clearing up this common misconception that conflict and violence are synonymous, and enabling people to handle disagreements more peacefully.
In essence, Peace Channel will provide excellent learning opportunities, exposure on the world’s pressing issues, debate and discussion between people on opposite sides of the world and, most importantly, new methods of conflict resolution. In the months following Peace Channel’s release in Stavanger, Norway, the site will be available only in English; however, after a year or two it will become multi-lingual in order to facilitate others who speak different languages.
Malik Medjahed-Schwethelm, Age 16
Ecole Internationale de Gen?ve