As much as media is a reflection of society, society reflects its media. Encouraging effective reporting on human rights helps strengthen these values around the world by putting a premium on awareness and maintenance of basic rights.
The Canadian Embassy in Kuwait recently hosted two journalism training seminars, focusing on these values, one for journalists from the region, the second for students interested in entering the field. In cooperation with key international partners, we welcomed Mr. Danny Glenwright, a senior trainer from Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), Canada’s leading media development NGO for human rights coverage.
JRH has worked in 21 countries training over 12,000 journalists, believing that creating the right awareness is the first and most necessary step to ending rights abuses.
Mr. Glenwright introduced case studies of previous work from JHR, highlighting cases in which media engagement made meaningful impact on the human rights conditions of those involved. Specifically, the session focused on outlining the issue of human trafficking in the region, and identified opportunities for coverage and positive impact on rights violations.
The session, held with forty journalists from Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, and other Gulf states, was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of the Netherlands to the state of Kuwait and the International Organization of Migration.
Fifteen media students from the Gulf University of Science and Technology attended the second session: a two-day workshop. Harnessing the inherent power of media to increase awareness and respect for human rights was the focus of the workshop. The workshop focused on how corruption, crime and abuses thrive in environments with weak media. Mr. Glenwright provided encouraging examples of how effective journalism has facilitated change by shedding light on these issues.
Students were put in pairs, and tasked with researching and presenting their own human rights stories from the university campus. The stories presented by the participants were recognized for their outstanding writing, and served as valuable hands-on journalism training.
The training provided by Mr. Glenwright is an invaluable resource for both journalists and journalists-to-be. Alongside the practical training, the introduction to the power of journalism in the fight for human rights in the Middle East and worldwide presents inspiration and a challenge to the attendees to champion the cause of universal rights. Partnering with Journalists for Human Rights connects Canada with similarly motivated contacts in the region and showcases our nation’s commitment to the preservation of human rights, democracy, accountability and good governance.