Between Ideals and Realities
Elucidating the Role of the Media in Promoting Human Rights
|Dr. Lieves Gies
|M.A. in Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice
The presence and influence of the media in modern times has increased to a point where they have seamlessly permeated every aspect of contemporary life, a situation that has led some to attribute them ideal qualities to promote and strengthen human rights values, while others perceive their commercial interests as an obstacle to perform such a task. This dissertation analyses the role of the media in promoting human rights, based primarily on a theoretical discussion which examines the problem from four different angles: the idealistic perception mainly promoted by the United Nations; the realistic notion defended by media theories; the challenges to the traditional media structure posed by the spread use of ICTs; and the analysis of the main contributions and limitations of the theory of Development Communication in merging both the idealistic and the realistic perceptions. The discussion reveals the existence of both common grounds and well as constraints for the media to perform the task of promoting human rights, a main conclusion being the perception that their role -although relevant- is only a supportive one, which needs to be seen in conjunction with the collaboration of other social agents in order to fully strengthen human rights values and standards.
Gitanjali Wolfermann has a Bachelor's degree in Social Communication and continues to study Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice.