Foreign Policy, Media and Human Rights

Authored by: Ekaterina Balabanova

The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138665545
eBook ISBN: 9781315619835
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315619835.ch18

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Abstract

The increased salience of human rights in media coverage since the 1990s is a recognition of media becoming ‘more receptive to human rights issues today than at any time in the modern history of the media’ seeing them as more newsworthy than ever before (ICHRP 2002, 32, 16; Ramos et al. 2007; Cole 2010; Caliendo et al. 1999; Ovsiovitch 1993). However, despite this increased frequency and salience, there has been no shortage of criticisms of the way media cover human rights issues. During the Cold-War period the information available through the media was seen as sporadic (Berry & McChesney 1988), ‘incomplete, thus skewing the public’s perception of human rights around the world’ (Ovsiovitch 1993, 685) and biased (Herman & Chomsky 1988). In the post-Cold-War era the media has been accused of a ‘serious lack of knowledge’, ‘inadequate understanding’, even ‘ignorance’ of what human rights are; how they are created, promoted and enforced; what governments’ responsibilities in relation to them are (ICHRP 2002, Internews 2012). This has negative repercussions for the quality of reporting, leads to human rights often wrongly being regarded as only relevant to the reporting of conflict and a focus on civil and political rights rather than abuses of social and economic rights (Internews 2012, ICHRP 2002, Ramos et al. 2007).

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