Introduction. Human Rights and the Media
What is the role of the media in reporting human rights issues? While the designation of the press as the “fourth estate” dating from the nineteenth century (Carlyle 1864) points to an entity long acknowledged as instrumental to the functioning of democracy, the human rights implications of its activities have only recently been subjected to scrutiny. A lot of this attention has focused on attempts to curtail the freedom of expression which is central to the functioning of all outlets (print, radio, television, and the internet) and of the journalists involved in “the presentation and transmission of information” (International Council on Human Rights Policy 2002). Less attention has been devoted to how the media cover issues that affect human well-being and can rightfully be considered as “human rights stories.” More specifically, and given that freedom of expression is indispensable to the functioning of the media, what are the responsibilities corresponding to the...
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