Prisoners, Human Rights and the Media

Authored by: Paul Mason

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:


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The mainstream British media are not very interested in prisoners’ rights. Or rather the manner in which prisons and prisoners are constructed makes any positive coverage unlikely. The dominant media discourse of prison and the prisoner is twofold. First, it is the representation of danger, fear and risk (‘Baby Rapist’ Paedophile Found Hanging in Prison Cell, Daily Telegraph, 19 January 2016; Five Prison Guards Taken Hostage by Inmate Wielding Twin-Bladed Weapon, The Sun, 12 May 2016); Belmarsh Maximum Security Jail is ‘Like a Jihadi Training Camp’, Daily Mail 17 May 2016). This partial and misleading representation often relies upon myth and notoriety surrounding a handful of prisoners, which is then applied to the prison population as a whole: the serial killer, the paedophile and the terrorist (Mason 2006a; 2006b; Machin & Mayr 2012).

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