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Independent media and human rights

International Human Rights Programme / Partner story

Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

Even the best-designed communication strategy will fail if there is no public platform from which to amplify campaigns. While human rights activists have traditionally relied on mainstream media to give life to their reports, that avenue of influence is increasingly closing. We are finding that for various reasons, the voices of many activists are being frozen out of mainstream press.

In response, we are exploring independent media outlets to elevate civil society concerns. Our engagement has a twofold purpose: to raise grantee voices; and to ensure citizens’ rights to information. To this end, we are partnering with independent media outlets to report straight news, and also to pursue opinion, explanatory and investigative journalism.

For example, in Britain, we support Rights Info – an award-winning media outlet which explains topical news stories through a human rights lens. Through accurate, accessible and engaging online content, it seeks to counter negative press comments on human rights and, at the same time, promotes education.

Raising awareness of human rights

People need to understand their rights in order to celebrate and protect them. While clear, engaging communication must speak to existing supporters, it must also reach out to those in the middle who are open to hearing another point of view.

This is why we are working to build a base of knowledgeable, engaged human rights advocates and a broader base of support for our work.

Independent media outlets are best poised to elevate civil society concerns. By raising our partners’ voices, we hope to ensure citizens’ rights to information. This grant falls under Oak’s International Human Rights Programme’s priority of building greater public and donor support for human rights.