quarta-feira, setembro 05, 2007

uma paixão civilizacional e uma opinião a discutir

"The (democratic) media and human rights

As it is, in recent years, the human rights dimension has become more pronounced
as a consideration by the media. The amount of coverage of human rights issues in
the media is likely to continue to rise. For similar reasons, too, there may be higher
expectations about the precision of that coverage, and the quality of that
transmission. Those expectations (e.g., separating systematically editorialising and
news-reporting, dealing with the velocity of coverage) are crucial because although it
is not necessarily more important than other forms of information, information on
human rights has specific characteristics. Similarly, since human rights information is
subject to constant struggles in the public sphere, the media stand at the centre of a
highly political process, which has to be understood in terms of a production cycle influenced by several actors (governments, NGOs, public relations firms, other media). Too, certain places have a more powerful influence on this process than others do. Influence tends to be concentrated in Northern capitals where powerful governments and influential media organisations are located

8. In this evolution, two issues stand out. The first concerns the nature and scope of
the media coverage of human rights, and the second its quality. Although journalists
have expanded coverage of human rights into new areas (e.g., coverage of the notion
of universal jurisdiction in the aftermath of the arrest of Augusto Pinochet) — a
positive development that ought to be noted — a large number of stories that are
about human rights remain underplayed by the media (for instance, the effects of the
economic embargo on Iraq continue to be covered most of the time as a political,
diplomatic or military story rather than a human rights one
). Moreover, it is difficult
to estimate whether the increase in coverage of human rights in conflict has been to
the detriment of coverage of human rights issues in less visible, slow or protracted
situations. Human rights are still taken largely to mean political and civil rights, and
1 This evolution seems to be slowing down since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and their aftermath. For a full discussion of this issue, see International Council on Human Rights Policy, Human Rights, after September 11, Geneva: ICHRP, 2002.
economic, social and cultural rights remain absent from media coverage or
9. Secondly, how well the media cover, explicate and analyse the human rights
apparatus is less apparent. Data on human rights violations and issues are not
lacking, but the impact of this information on the public is not as great as human
rights activists expect. Consequently, the media miss human rights stories because
they do not pay proper attention to human rights per se and because of inadequate
understanding of the material they are covering. The media also miss the context of
human rights stories
. Hence, the professional value of the reporting is diminished by
these shortcomings."

Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould

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