Strengthening the voices of human rights defenders in the media
A case study on addressing sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea
Civil society and human rights defenders in Papua New Guinea have played an important role in bringing about legislative changes with regard to domestic and sorcery accusation related violence in recent years. Their insights in understanding how to address complex issues at the community level when accusations occur have also proven crucial to keeping people safe and providing processes to hold perpetrators accountable. However, the mainstream media has rarely reported on their stories and included their voices in the reporting of sorcery accusation related violence. They have focused on exposing the problem, often by showcasing the horrific nature of some of the crimes related to accusations, instead of further investigating possible solutions. In this paper we explore our work with human rights defenders to capture their experiences around sorcery accusations and violence and provide ways to bring their stories into the mainstream media. In particular, we explore questions around the ethics of representation when it comes to reporting human rights abuses and violence and suggest alternative ways of reporting.
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