Katiba Institute, on 14 June 2023, engaged journalists based in Lamu county about human rights and human rights defenders’ work, thanks to the support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nairobi. This is an activity in a project that aims to strengthen the work of human rights defenders and enhance their protection in Kenya. It identifies journalists as key players in promoting awareness of human rights and the protection of human rights defenders.
According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioners for Human Rights – (OHCHR), the term “human rights defender” describes people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights peacefully. Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do through a description of their actions.
Article 19 of the UN’s universal declaration of human rights highlights the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Therefore, access to media is a human right. Free media is essential to human rights because information is critical for people to know what is happening locally and internationally. In this context, the media has a responsibility to share information and help break it down in a clear, accessible way.
DUring the training, Journalists were challenged be concerned with Human rights work because, just as human rights defenders, they report, document, and expose human rights violations.
The media is also crucial for human rights defense discourse since many human rights issues are either underreported or not reported at all. Yet, it is an area of public interest. Media decides what to cover and what issues or aspects of a story to highlight. By making these decisions, the media have the power over what we know and do not know about human rights, making journalists critical players in human rights work.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 1 of the universal declaration of human rights