Global Resources

Speak up, speak out: a toolkit for reporting on human rights issues

Author: M. Aryal (ed)
Publisher: Internews
Publication Date: Jan 2012

This comprehensive toolkit for journalists and other stakeholders invovled with reporting human rights is both a human rights reference guide, and a workbook. It draws on a variety of research, training and experience especially that of the United Nations and the International Centre for War and Peace Reporting. It is hoped that it can 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. During training sessions, trainees will build lists of contacts, find new resources, develop story ideas, and draft outlines. Space is included to write these down for future reference. 

The toolkit’s primary audience are 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 trainings or download it and work through it independently. Internews also 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 as a core resource to build journalists’ skills to report in the human rights arena.

The toolkit is laid out in four sections:

  • 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 one therefore introduces human rights, the UN System and the international justice system, and discusses a bill of rights for women.
  • Journalism understandings, skills and tools: here the toolkit guides readers through the values and skills of the profession, and some of the specific skills needed to tackle human rights issues.
  • Guide for practical application: provides a step-by-step guide to producing a good human rights story.
  • Appendices: in the final section, 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 are included.