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Reporting Human Rights

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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 4. Representation of Human Rights in the News

Extract

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REPRESENTATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE NEWS

As stated in the previous chapters, this book aims to examine (1) the presence or absence of human rights in the news—including how human rights is represented in the news when it is present; (2) the professional elements and organizational circumstances that contribute to this presence or to an absence—or why human rights are reported the way they are. Both aims set out to reflect upon the wider topic of the relationship between journalism and human rights. For this reason, and in order to better describe and analyse the presence of human rights in the news in a comprehensive way, we have analysed a particular sample of daily television news that provided essential findings that help to understand the how, before engaging with the why. This chapter presents the main findings of this analysis. These provide a solid set of elements that ground the research before stepping up to the next level, which is related to the aforementioned why, to be explored in Chapters 5 and 6.

A note on methodology

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