A Free Toolkit for Reporting on Human Rights Issues: Speak Up, Speak Out

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The Internews toolkit ‘Speak Up, Speak Out: A Toolkit for Reporting on Human Rights Issues’ is both a human rights reference guide and a workbook for journalists and civic activists who want to improve their ability to report on human rights issues in a fair, accurate, and sensitive way. It combines background information on international human rights mechanisms; guidelines on producing nuanced, objective reporting on rights issues; and practical exercises that walk users step-by-step through the production of a solid human rights story. The toolkit also helps journalists understand how international human rights mechanisms, laws and treaties work. It is based on a series of training in human rights reporting that Internews conducted in several countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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Who will use the toolkit?

  • The toolkit’s primary audience is journalists who have some experience working with human rights and media, and who want to improve their information-gathering and reporting skills. They may use it in formal training or download it and work through it independently.
  • Journalists do not work in isolation: Internews invites media owners and senior staff to encourage their journalists to use the toolkit, and hopes that it will also help owners, editors and producers increase their understanding of the value of human rights reporting in the media.
  • Finally, trainers can use the toolkit and an accompanying trainers’ manual as a core resource to build journalists’ skills to report in the human rights arena. They should complement the information provided with current examples and knowledge of the local context.

When will it be used?

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Both in training and after training, for as long as it is useful.

Where will it be used?

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Globally. The toolkit is based on training provided in Thailand, Egypt, South Sudan, Chad, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Malaysia and Indonesia, but its lessons are applicable everywhere. It focuses strongly on international human rights standards. In training, trainees will be encouraged to research human rights in their own national contexts.

Why is it important?

To contribute to journalists’ knowledge, skills and capacity so they are able to provide the public with information about human rights that is accurate, reliable, truthful, useful and fair.

What’s inside the Toolkit

  • Section 1 – Human rights knowledge
    • The first and most important tool for journalists wanting to do good human rights reporting is knowledge about human rights, the relationship between international standards and national law, and the systems that create, promote and police human rights.
  • Section 2 – Journalism understandings, skills and tools
    • Here they work through the values and skills of the profession and some of the specific skills needed to tackle human rights issues.
  • Section 3 – Guide for practical application
    • Here they provide a step-by-step guide to producing a good human rights story.
  • Section 4 – Appendices
    • In the final section, they include summaries of the nine main human rights conventions as well as lists of countries that have not signed them, a calendar of days devoted to human rights issues that can be used as news hooks, and a variety of useful resources for human rights reporters.

You can download this toolkit for free here.

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