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Reporting Human Rights


Susana Sampaio-Dias

Reporting Human Rights provides a systematic examination of human rights news and reporting practices from inside the world of television news production.

From an interdisciplinary perspective, the book discusses the potential of journalism in contributing to human rights protection, awareness and debate, in ignoring, silencing or misrepresenting human rights issues around the world or, in extreme situations, in inciting hatred, genocide and crimes against humanity. It provides insight into how journalists translate human rights issues, revealing different reporting patterns and levels of detail in reporting, and suggesting different levels of engagement with human rights problems.

The book explains the most important factors that encourage or limit the coverage of human rights news. Grounded in a close examination of the news production processes and key moments where possible human rights stories are contemplated, decided or eventually ignored, the book opens up new insights into the complexities and constraints of human rights reporting today.

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Chapter 1. A Brief History and Definition of Human Rights


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This chapter first considers a possible definition of human rights based on its philosophical formulation and multidisciplinary contemporary approaches. Divided into four sections, the chapter first introduces the historical origins of the three generations of human rights, then moves on to a brief explanation of its legislative evolution and current jurisdictions in the second section. The third section goes beyond the legal framework of human rights and introduces the contemporary contributions of sociology and political science, narrowing down their reflective critique about the social role of the media. The final section specifically addresses media studies and how these introduced the promise of a global public sphere in which ideas about human rights circulate today.

Origins of human rights

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