AICHR Regional Forum on the Role of Media in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in ASEAN, Malaysia












16-17 May 2016

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Beneficiary: AICHR

Media plays an increasingly important role that could support and strengthen the promotion of human rights through reporting of news and dissemination of information. Media can also be used as an avenue for dialogue and public discourse on human rights issues and has greater role to influence public policy and opinion in favour of intensifying the promotion of human rights. In contrast, the media may also create or perpetuate stereotypes and can be seen as a witness and promoting hatred and violence that may have severe impacts on human rights. Besides, lack of knowledge on human rights issues and the inability to contextualize news on human rights may cause further rights abuses such as loss of dignity, disrespect and abuse of privacy and insensitivity of victims.

In the context of ASEAN, human rights issues are considerably underreported. Even if they are reported, reporting is essentially reactive to violations of rights during and after conflicts/incidences and revolves around civil and political and less on economic, social and cultural rights. In short, the media has not done enough to report and explain human rights issues. They are also seen as bias and selective in their reporting which leads to misrepresentation and marginalization of human rights issues in the region. There are challenges facing media agencies in ASEAN in relation to reporting and producing news and information that are related to human rights. Among them, human rights issues are considered taboo; human rights as a heavy subject as it often involves legal implications and political philosophy; human rights issues have no 'news value' or are 'non-newsworthy'. Additionally, the changing landscape in media’s industry particularly on the rise of new media such as online portal imposes a new set of challenges in relation to professionalism, ethics and style of reporting that could have impacts on human rights.

The AICHR Five-Year Work Plan (2010-2015) has specifically assigned AICHR to develop common media programmes on human rights in close consultation and cooperation with ASEAN Sectoral Bodies particularly the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) and Senior Officials Meeting Responsible for Information (SOMRI). The convening of this workshop would serve as a pioneering step to spearhead closer cooperation and partnership with the media as well as relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies including AMRI and SOMRI, in line with the Work Plan.

For the AICHR press release on this workshop, click here.


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