Media and human rights

Authored by: Ekaterina Balabanova

Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415712910
eBook ISBN: 9781315850979
Adobe ISBN: 9781317914303


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As an academic subject and an area of practice, international human rights have been approached from a range of different perspectives: legal, philosophical, sociological and political (Carey et al. 2010; Donnelly 2013; Nickel 2007). Only a small number of studies have attempted to develop a comprehensive understanding of the nexus between human rights and the media (Balabanova 2014; Borer 2012a; Shaw 2012). This is partly because of disciplinary boundaries. Scholars from law or political science tend to pay little regard to the media as actor, or factor, when it comes to examining questions around human rights. Likewise research from the field of media and communication studies often ignores the historical and institutional complexities which underpin human rights. For both these reasons existing research linking media and human rights has been narrowly focused on specific types of intersection and particular kinds of cases. This means, for example, exploring which factors influence the capacity of journalism to uncover human rights abuses, or the human rights implications of broader media–state–society relations. Case studies are usually about humanitarian intervention and/or human rights crises in the global south, or conversely about freedom of speech in the global north.

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