Practice of human rights journalism in the humanitarian crisis of Sri Lanka and constructing options for R2P intervention

Selvarajah, Senthan (2016) Practice of human rights journalism in the humanitarian crisis of Sri Lanka and constructing options for R2P intervention. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Despite the research interests generated among the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) by many, my study has uniquely taken the role of the media to facilitate the implementation of R2P. This was done by examining the nature and gravity of practice of Human Rights Journalism (HRJ) in the international press during the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka amidst the overrunning of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by government forces in May 2009. This study inter-disciplinarily explored the fields of media, human rights and conflict transformation to understand the nexus between R2P and HRJ.

Based on the findings on quantitative and qualitative reporting analysis, it was revealed that the international press failed to play its watchdog role to expose the human rights violations and mass atrocity crimes during the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. Besides it also found how the international press failed to draw the international community to consider R2P options on the distant suffering. In Spite of the threats, intimidation and difficulties (whether it was expressed or not) they faced while reporting, majority of the Indian Journalists openly acknowledged the parallel policy with regard to the final war between the governments of India and Sri Lanka. It was that the terrorist label on the LTTE influenced their reporting given their own conceptions and relied on the elite sources for information.

While Shaw proposed HRJ as a solution to report physical, structural and cultural violence within the context of humanitarian intervention, from the analysis of the articles on the newspapers and the interviews it was very much evident that the international press did not let the journalists practice HRJ to a satisfactory level and establish a prima facie case to construct the reality of the humanitarian crisis. As supported and corroborated by the two independent yet mutually supportive methodologies, the analysis of this study found that the framing of the news stories is either decided by the editorial policy in accordance with internal guidelines, or by the news sources. Thereby the variety of ideological, political, geographical and cultural contexts of framing establishes a discourse which leaves us with a controlling media power.

On the whole this study contributes uniquely towards the development of an epistemological grounding for the practice and research of HRJ within the just-peace framework and development of Frame Analysis Matrix, and Multimodal Discourse Analysis Matrix. In addition, also proves the fact that failing to contribute to the moral responsibility in a truthful and justifiable manner of the victim, rather than via influence will not contribute towards the real human rights practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L300 Sociology
P500 Journalism
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2018 08:25
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:40

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