Netherlands, Middelburg

Human Rights and Media

when 2 July 2018 - 6 July 2018
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 300

Freedom of expression and access to information through any media is a universal human right and essential if people are to exercise their other human rights and protect the rights of others. How and why do media report on human rights issues and how do technological, economic, political and societal changes impact on our abilities and responsibilities to understand such reporting or the lack thereof?

Often, human rights courses and textbooks focus on the role of legislators and of courts in human rights law and practice. Much of the advances in, and contestations of human rights, however, take place in other places: in municipalities, in the media, in classrooms. Each of these three courses focuses on one of these domains, offering both theoretical and practical insights in the ways in which and the places where human rights are advanced. Participants can follow 1, 2 or 3 of the one-week courses, which can even be combined with the other human rights courses taught by Utrecht University’s SIM. The courses are all taught by instructors who have ample experience in both the theory and the practice of the field covered, in an interactive and participatory manner. They are offered in the human rights city of Middelburg, at University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University’s honors college close to the sea. This beautiful medieval city hosts the Four Freedoms awards once every two years, with Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel and Malala as some of the former laureates.

According to the United Nations, “a free, uncensored, unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of expression.” This course examines the way human rights and media – particularly journalism - are linked, both by tracing historical developments and discussing contemporary issues. We will consider the role that journalists should and do play in relation to human rights, examine the way human rights activists and marginalized groups use media in a time of changing media technologies, and explore the connection between human rights and media literacy education. What are the threats and opportunities for journalists, NGOs, and civic groups that seek media attention? Which types of human rights related stories are covered in mainstream and alternative media? What is the impact of ‘fake news’ and ‘social media loops’ on the profession of journalism, on people’s understanding of their rights, and on democratic societies?

Course leader

Dr. A. Luscombe

Target group

Bachelor and master students seeking to strengthen their knowledge of new insights into human rights. A background in human rights, or international law, is an advantage but not necessary.

Course aim

To provide insights in the way in which human rights acquire different meaning via the media.

Fee info

EUR 300: Course + course materials
EUR 200: Housing

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