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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 6. Journalists’ Understandings of Human Rights in the News


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This chapter will undertake a deeper examination of how professionals’ understanding of human rights reporting informs and shapes their mode of coverage. This includes a closer look into news workers’ reflections on their professional and social roles regarding human rights issues. Divided into four sections, this chapter further develops the debate presented in the preceding chapters and is based on the professionals’ own perspective. The first section suggests a dichotomous understanding of news production choices regarding human rights issues from both a managerial and a non-managerial perspective. In the second, third, and fourth sections, respectively, the chapter presents different professional views of human rights in the news, journalists’ perceived roles regarding human rights issues, and, finally, their most desired or ideal form of human rights reporting.

Managerial perspectives and non-managerial perspectives

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