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Human Right Course
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What are human rights?
The history of human rights
What right do we have?
The protection of Human Rights
Inter-governmental organisations
Non-governmental organisations
The press and media
International criminal courts
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights

Did you know

Did you know that 31 journalists were killed around the world in 2001 just for doing their jobs?




The media also play an important role in human rights work. Individuals and NGOs often gain attention for their causes through TV, radio and newspaper reports. In a free, democratic society the media are meant to be the watchdogs who speak out when the state misuses its power. It is important that a society has a wide variety of media so that the population can gain information and an understanding of how society works from several sources.

When the media report about and focus on something that has gone wrong, both politicians and ordinary people become aware of the problem. This can often lead to the people putting pressure on the politicians and authorities to rectify problems and make changes. Unfortunately, all too often politicians and authorities are aware of problems but do not do anything about them until they "have to", and they often do not feel they "have to" until the attention being paid to a problem starts to have a negative effect and the focus turns on them personally.

It is important for human rights organisations to have good relationships with journalists so that they can write about topical cases. There are innumerable examples around the world of where the lives of individuals and groups have changed for the better after the media has focused on problems and got the authorities to change their policies.

Being a journalist can be dangerous, as can writing or talking about human rights violations in some countries. Some people in power do not like their policies being criticised in a way that focuses negative attention on them. At any given time, many journalists and writers are in prison because they have criticised the authorities' policies.



- The "Lorenzo Natali Prize" is a European prize awarded each year to journalists who have produced good reports about human rights, democracy and development.

- In 2001, the organisation "Reporters Without Borders" reported that 31 journalists had been killed. At the same time an increasing number were being imprisoned, threatened or attacked. In January 2002, 110 journalists were in prison around the world.

Fact box

- The Norwegian Press Association has adopted an ethical code of practice (the "Be aware-poster") for the printed press, radio, TV and online publications. The code is intended to prevent the media's right to freedom of expression having a detrimental effect on other human rights.

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