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Human Rights and media Presented by Dr Niranjana Vanalli Associate professor (Journalism) CPDPS, University of Mysore Ph: 0821-2419405, 9448943211 E mail:

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Presentation on theme: "Human Rights and media Presented by Dr Niranjana Vanalli Associate professor (Journalism) CPDPS, University of Mysore Ph: 0821-2419405, 9448943211 E mail:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Rights and media Presented by Dr Niranjana Vanalli Associate professor (Journalism) CPDPS, University of Mysore Ph: , E mail:

2 Human Rights Human Rights are the rights we enjoy because we are human beings Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human right says “ All beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights Man has not only a right to live, but to live with human dignity.

3 Media Media are what we call as the fourth estate of democracy. They include, Newspapers and magazines Radio Television Film Internet medium

4 Why human rights interest media? Media becomes interested in HR only if they are violated. If everything is normal there is nothing to write Any change in the status quo becomes news Change for the worst becomes best news for the media Media awaits human right violations because such incidents make good copy

5 Constitutional status of media Media represents ordinary citizens Media persons do not enjoy extra constitutional provisions in India Article 19 (1) (a) of Indian Constitution which guarantees ‘Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression’ to all its citizens is the basic right on which Indian media exists and depends The constitution does not make a reference to freedom of press or media separately

6 Reasonable restrictions on media Article 19(2) of Indian Constitution empowers the state to impose ‘reasonable restrictions’ on freedom of speech and expression on the following grounds Sovereignty and Integrity of India Security of the state Friendly relations with foreign countries Public order Preserving decency and morality Contempt of court and defamation or incitement to an offence

7 As a result……. The role of the media is that of a responsible citizen. What a responsible citizen is expected to do when he sees a violation of the human rights, the media should respond in similar ways. Human right issues are pushed to corner if more interesting or selling news breaks. But media takes advantage if the news is hot and allows sensationalizing Media is sensitive towards HR. Any violation is highlighted, glorified, sensationalized and looks as though media enjoys reporting gross violations of human rights

8 Common examples of HR violations reported in media Human trafficking Child abuse Sexual harassment Atrocities by the police Atrocities on dalits and other weaker sections Discriminations on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

9 Recent examples of NHRC issuing notices on the basis of media reports NHRC asks Kerala govt. to pay monetary relief to the victims of Endosulfan NHRC calls for Karnataka government’s report on the allegations of continuance of manual scavenging NHRC calls for report on high fluoride level in drinking water in Jharkhand Notice to Police commissioner of Pune for alleged police firing on agitating farmers

10 Limitations of the media No scope for follow up stories Atrocities on media persons and human right activists are increasing Money rules the media. Conscience keepers are not allowed to work true to their conscience Stiff competitions pushing the television journalists to gain mileage through unethical means Code of ethics is forgotten. We should win at any cost is the spirit of the day

11 Journalist’s human right- who should protect? Journalists are beaten up or murdered everyday in one place or the other Freedom of the press has become a myth in most of the countries Darkness below the lamp is a fact of life for working journalists in most cases Eclipse of the editors- Journalist’s rights are sold to advertisers!

12 Cases where media persons show disrespect to Human Rights Photographing without prior permission Naming the victims of rape Forgetting the fact that people have a right to privacy Defaming and not publishing rejoinders Giving unfair publicity at the cost of fair play

13 Journalist Vs Activist Should journalists become human right activists? Should activists become Journalists? The price both of them have to pay for crossing their limits should be discussed by the society

14 Quotable quotes Social, political and cultural rights need to be paid equal attention by the state- Justice K G Balakrishna, Chief of NHRC, NewDelhi We will not enjoy security without development,we will not enjoy development without security and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights – Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General, UN

15 Role of media in protecting Human rights Creating awareness about the concept and importance of HR Media should place an important and ethical role at all levels and in all parts of the country and the world Journalists should set Lakshman Rekha while reporting HR violations. Their aim should be to inform and not to sensationalize. Report should not lead to more of HR violations

16 Be a watch dog and remember the dog is also being watched! Martin Luther king has said ‘ injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ We have a long way to go in assuring justice everywhere to every person Media should become the watch dog of human rights Where human rights are highly respected and practiced media may not have any role to play! I wish a day will come when police stations and media houses have nothing to do!


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