Have you read a piece of sharply-worded criticism directed at a politician in the paper lately? Did you worry that the journalist writing it was risking his/her life or freedom? If you live in Sweden, in the UK or in another democratic country I would guess that your answer to my first question is “Yes” and your answer to my second question is “No”.
Did you think that a specific article had gone too far? Or was your answer that it’s the role of the media to scrutinise society and those in power and speak up against any case of injustice or discrimination? Where we live any paper on any day will contain vitriolic diatribe and thoughtful analysis. Frankly, we get used to this and think of it as a right rather than a privilege.
10 December is International Human Rights Day. This day commemorates the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The theme for this year’s Day is “human rights defenders who act to end discrimination”. This includes journalists, but also organisations and individuals standing up for the right not to be discriminated against on grounds such as race, gender, sexual orientation and religion.
Sixty-two years later, the list of countries where standing up to these rights and other human rights still mean you risk your life or freedom is depressingly long. So while 10 December is a day to remind ourselves about the importance of these rights that we often take for granted, it is also a day to think about what we do help those people who are denied these rights. Happy Human Rights Day.
Tags: human rights