Lessons

HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING

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Image by Jason Larkin. South Africa, 2014.

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Reporter Paolo Cerrato works the local crime beat in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the world’s murder capital. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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A girl in a hospital in Dolakha, Nepal. Anna Tomasulo, 2011.

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A Jie warrior with AK-47s marked on his body prepares for battle with the neighboring Murle tribe after the Murle killed a Jie man in a fight. With few police and a barely functioning justice system, tribal violence has taken the lives of thousands since the peace agreement. Image by Trevor Snapp. South Sudan, 2012.

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Image by Jake Naughton. Liberia, 2012.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amrin, and a representative of the German Foreign Ministry in Rome, on February 28, 2013. Image by U.S. Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Italy, 2013.

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A still from the video for Retro Report.

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Image by Jason Larkin. South Africa, 2014.

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Family members carry the coffin of a murdered campesino, a peasant farmer. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Wrestlers from different tribes compete during the finals in Juba. Image by Trevor Snapp. South Sudan, 2012.

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A signed photograph of Alan Robock with Fidel Castro. Image by Alan Robock. Cuba, 2011.

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Image by Jason Larkin. South Africa, 2014.

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Honduran soldiers engage gunmen hiding inside a residence in San Pedro Sula. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Young people at the Yida refugee camp. Image by Trevor Snapp. South Sudan, 2012.

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Image by Jason Larkin. South Africa, 2014.

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Former President Manuel Zelaya rallies leftist supporters during a press conference in Tegucigalpa. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Catholics celebrate Easter and the centennial of the arrival of the first Italian Catholic missionaries in South Sudan. The church has played a large role in trying to establish peace talks to end the conflict and in caring for victims of the renegade Lord's Resistance Army. Image by Trevor Snapp. South Sudan, 2012.

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"Platinum" is a stand-alone publication featuring a longer version of Jack Shenker's text essay in either English or Xhosa, bound together with large double-sided posters of Jason Larkin's photos.

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Blood on the pavement following a triple murder in San Pedro Sula. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Merchants in San Pedro Sula go about their business as a body lies in the middle of the street. Dead bodies sit for hours before the coroner has time to pick them up. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Lizeth Cerros mourns her murdered husband, Darwin Franco, with her children. Later she would receive another death threat. Franco was a community organiser. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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The body of 10-year-old Daniel Chacon at the morgue in San Pedro Sula. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Officials remove a body found in a shallow grave in a cornfield. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Investigators and police remove the bodies of three men from a vehicle found in a park in San Pedro Sula. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Two boys relaxing at the beach not far from San Pedro Sula. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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A young contortionist from the Circo America practicing her routine. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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Pedro Cerrato, center, reporting on a murder. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

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A view of a Lake Yojoa from the side of the highway between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Despite its horrors, Honduras remains one of the most beautiful places on earth. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Honduras, 2013.

1. Read the human rights reporting piece provided and identiy the key human right in the story  

2. Discuss with a partner who the sources are and how many represent the state and civil society 

3. Identify styles of reporting the protection and violation of human rights principles and issues as well as approaches and techniques

4. Discuss the challenges involved in monitoring and evaluating the principles and issues of human rights in national and global contexts

5. Show if there is any manipulation and distortion by political and humanitarian civil society stakeholders in the reporting of humanitarian crises

6. Present your analysis to class

Educator Notes: 

This lesson focuses on the critical role of the journalist – as a duty bearer – in the promotion and protection of human rights in times of peace or crisis. We have lived in an era of human rights ever since the Declaration of Universal Human Rights in 1948, which saw nation-states making legally binding commitments to uphold and protect the rights of their citizens and others against violations. Yet these pledges largely remain rhetorical. This is so because governments have at the same time been busy jealously guarding their own sovereignty, cracking down on the slightest threat to national security or public order. Sometimes they even sponsor violations of the political, economic, social, and/or cultural rights of their citizens and others.

Drawing on recent case studies, the module explores journalism’s shortcomings (human wrongs journalism), as well as its remarkable potential (human rights journalism) to facilitate a holistic human rights approach to reporting near and distant human suffering. It thus examines, the reporting of some of the critical human rights issues such as gender, children, education, health (including AIDS), censorship, environment, torture, prison conditions, human trafficking, ethnic cleansing, genocide, poverty, famine, and immigration.

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