The media, at least in our highly mediated/industrialized societies, is one of the pillars of power. That's why we need to become skilled at engaging journalists and news editors in giant media corporations, and alternative grassroots information outfits alike.
We need to be interested in "engaging" the media not just as another constituency with some influence, but because it is one of the ESSENTIAL levers of power. The media is integral to civil society. The media -- and this may be a worldwide phenomenon -- bolsters or undermines progress. It makes or breaks regimes. It fosters, or undoes, a culture of respect for human rights.
Failure to impact the media, or at least bring some measure of control over hateful radio propaganda for instance, has been shown to imperil human rights from poor inner city ghettos in America, to the farthest reaches of bloodied African hills. Likewise, triumphant press campaigns through media-savvy efforts that have come to the righteous defense of victims of injustice and abuse around the world, improving and saving thousands upon thousands of lives over the last decades.
So while the media has made us realize we live in a global village, the views it carries can build, or destroy, each of our own individual huts.
In the age of the all-pervading "Branding", billionaire public relations firms and mass manufactured opinion, the media holds a measure of social power that just can't be ignored. That is why indeed, now more than ever, we simply cannot escape engaging the media deliberately, compellingly, in the struggle for human rights.
We are very consciously using "Engage" – an important word to remember – for this discussion. We'll be exploring together the many ways we do and can engage the media. We’ll also utilize one of the tried and true tools of the journalists' trade - the 5 W's and H - "why, who, what, where, when, and how" of engaging media in human rights.
“Why” do you engage the media in your human rights efforts?”