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HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY AND REPORTING

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HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY AND REPORTING Powered By Docstoc
					INDEPENDENT MEDICO-LEGAL
UNIT
        New Tactics Workshop
        19-23 February 2007
        Monrovia, Liberia
ADVOCACY JOURNALISM AS A TOOL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
PROTECTION



       A Presentation by Victor Bwire, Media and
                    Advocacy Officer
     Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU)
     Kenya
Advocacy Journalism
TACTIC
 Using advocacy journalism for addressing torture and impunity in
 Kenya



STRATEGY
 To promote advocacy against torture, professional and accountable
 administration of justice and address issues of impunity in Kenya



TARGETS
 Target includes members of the public, the police, government decision
Strategic goal


To sensitize the media to understand human
rights, monitor and report on human rights as
a key responsibility, and build the capacity
of media practitioners to campaign, advocate
and lobby for respect for rule of law.
    Three Prolonged Approach
The advocacy journalism approach is a
critical part of a three-pronged tactic
   1) Developing forensic evidence standards
   2) Maintaining a network of competent
      lawyers to represent victims that IMLU
      uses to seek justice and compensation
      for torture victims and survivors; and
   3) Advocacy journalism – media outreach
      to inform and motivate the public
Objectives of the Advocacy Journalism
aspect
   – Investigate, monitor and report on
     human rights violations

   – Engage the media in campaigning,
     advocating and lobbying for human
     rights respect

   – Encourage the media to confront
     impunity and public apathy concerning
     widespread human rights abuses.
Expected Results
The aim of the tactic was a transformation of
the media culture and paradigms on human
rights violations in Kenya to improve their
performance and perceptions on the same by:
     – Researching, monitoring and reporting
       prominently on human rights violations
       as part of their editorial agenda
     – Encouraging public debates on human
       rights and increased dislike for the
       culture of impunity
Background
   Kenya’s political history (colonial period)
   Period of political uncertainty – government
    resorted to torture to silence its critics (including
    the media)
   Currently, the nature and character of torture has
    changed – now the targets are the poor, women
    and children and rural dwellers that cannot
    access justice and the media.
   Since 2002, the new government initiated the
    process of transitional justice opening up the
    democratic and media space in the country
      Advocacy Journalism at work
   IMLU started using the statistics for policy reforms by releasing
    torture status reports to both, local and international media and
    human rights bodies.

   Continued media stories on the plight of inmates in Kenyan
    prisons led to the Government to introduce the Prison Open
    Door Policy in 2003.

   IMLU took advantage of the reformist government that had
    come to power and the liberalized media scene that saw the
    opening up of several private media houses and blossoming of
    alternative press to expose the sluggish judiciary and the
    insensitive prison

   Successful resolution of cases (e.g., victims released, monetary
    compensation obtained)
How Advocacy Journalism works
   Regularly arrange meetings with media practitioners
    from various media houses
   Introduce cases and findings to the media contacts
   Reporters prepare a questionnaire on the case
   Advocacy officer provides information (i.e.,
    information police refuse to divulge)
   Reporters make cross references with the police
   Reporters write or air the story
   Media reports trigger public debate on the issue and
    eventually impacts positively on policy change (i.e.,
    making it easier for the allegations to be investigated
    and efforts to prosecute perpetrators)
Privileged position of the
media
 Channel of communication to the
  masses/wider population
 Access to law-makers and policy-
  makers
 Access to restricted places e.g. state
  offices
 Access to information
How IMLU develops a
case
   A case of human rights abuse comes to IMLU’s attention
   Rapid response action by visiting the site (police station, prison or
    any other place of detention, scene of crime, mortuary or hospital)
   IMLU staff establishes the next of kin or eyewitnesses who will
    provide contacts of the next of kin
   Consent by victim or kin for either treatment, post mortem and/or
    publicity is signed
   IMLU contacts journalists who are invited to the scene of crime for
    face-to-face interviews

ALTERNATIVELY
 IMLU holds a press conference at its office and IMLU facilitates the
  media, eyewitnesses and journalists to attend along with the medical
  and legal experts and provides related background materials relevant
  to the case.
     Advocacy strategies useful to
     the media
   Media supplements
   Consistent focus on a particular issue e.g.
    torture
   Consistent coverage of public interest cases on
    human rights
   Media debates
   Press conferences
Tips for human rights media reporting

      Ensure accuracy of facts. Do not
       sensationalize the issue because this is
       likely to distort facts

      State the laws and rights violated. This
       helps in human rights education of the
       public.

      Clearly state the nature of response by the
Tips for human rights media reporting
(continued)

       State the human rights organization acting on the
        case. This educates the public on where to seek
        help in case of violations in future

       Give a background of the general trend around
        the issue (e.g. statistics, past trends)

       Make follow-up coverage of the case/issue

       Observe media ethics
     Dealing with the Media
Publication Lists
   Publication lists are maintained in a computer
    database with the appropriate software.

Receiver lists
   This should include
    – Members of NGOs/stakeholders
    – Reporters and producers
    – Commentators – Analysts
   Dealing with the Media
Pinpointing Issues which have to do with NGOs
  – Regular reading of newspapers/TV viewing/radio
    listening
Presentation of NGO: Graphics – logo –
  Letterhead
  – Pre-printed envelopes,
      The logo, the formal name of the organization
      The telephone number, fax number, e-mail address,
       website
      The mailing address, slogan.
      Personalized Contact with Reporters
      informational meetings with reporters
      Media Communication Tools
   Press Releases/Press Statements

   Press Conferences/Press Interviews

   Phone communication with reporters

   Informational meetings with Media practitioners

   Advertising banner/background news on web-pages

   Letter for reporters/ editors/ publisher or commentaries
Results
Transformation of the media culture in terms of:

   Improved researching, monitoring and reporting
    on human rights has become part of the media
    editorial agenda

   Public participation in campaigning for human
    rights (such as commentaries and opinion
    stories)
   Kimani=the street boy case letter
    released after being locked in-blinded
    by a bullet. Case later dropped
   Kimani’s case-shot in down town
    Nairobi=treated and got compensated
   Wallace =Journalist=treated and
    compensated
Challenges
   Mostly targets illiterate members of the society

   Depends on the good will and personal
    commitment of partners and network of
    professionals which is very unpredictable

   High Cost: IMLU foots the administration costs
    for these cases (the forensic work as well as the
    legal services)
     Challenges (continued)
   Legal System is slow: cases may take up to 5 to
    10 years in the court system (this is what created
    the vital need for advocacy journalism)

   Very demanding work: It requires that I am
    traveling most of the time

   Re-traumatization of clients:
        Lessons Learnt/
        Transferability
   IMLU’s three-pronged approach is highly mutually reinforcing –
    “one quarter each and together they make a whole”
    (pathologists, lawyers, journalists)
   Advocacy journalism is more than just media appearances; use
    alternative media, traditional/folklore, community outreach
    including focused group discussions, public lectures, etc.
   Many movements with considerable success have applied
    advocacy journalism (environmental movement, civil rights
    movement in the USA, etc), the tactic can be applied universally
    with minor modifications.
   Where laws prohibit freedom of expression, first step
    considerations could focus on policy advocacy and lobbying for
    the enactment of pro human rights laws.

				
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posted:10/11/2011
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