1. Read the human rights reporting piece provided and identiy the key human right in the story
2. Discuss with a partner who the sources are and how many represent the state and civil society
3. Identify styles of reporting the protection and violation of human rights principles and issues as well as approaches and techniques
4. Discuss the challenges involved in monitoring and evaluating the principles and issues of human rights in national and global contexts
5. Show if there is any manipulation and distortion by political and humanitarian civil society stakeholders in the reporting of humanitarian crises
6. Present your analysis to class
This lesson focuses on the critical role of the journalist – as a duty bearer – in the promotion and protection of human rights in times of peace or crisis. We have lived in an era of human rights ever since the Declaration of Universal Human Rights in 1948, which saw nation-states making legally binding commitments to uphold and protect the rights of their citizens and others against violations. Yet these pledges largely remain rhetorical. This is so because governments have at the same time been busy jealously guarding their own sovereignty, cracking down on the slightest threat to national security or public order. Sometimes they even sponsor violations of the political, economic, social, and/or cultural rights of their citizens and others.
Drawing on recent case studies, the module explores journalism’s shortcomings (human wrongs journalism), as well as its remarkable potential (human rights journalism) to facilitate a holistic human rights approach to reporting near and distant human suffering. It thus examines, the reporting of some of the critical human rights issues such as gender, children, education, health (including AIDS), censorship, environment, torture, prison conditions, human trafficking, ethnic cleansing, genocide, poverty, famine, and immigration.