Who is covering Human Rights

By Sarina Albeck

“What is torture?” asked my Linguistics professor one day in class. My interest in human right reporting began with this question. He was using this word as an example to show, how sometimes official definitions of words are changed, so that some people are given permission to do, what would be considered immoral by the majority of the citizens of a country. Once the official definition of a word like this is changed, a government can proudly proclaim to not torture one single individual. However, this is exactly, what is still happening. My professor was making this point to demonstrate a linguistic fact.

And this linguistic fact was interesting, but my thoughts continued to circle arround torture. I started reading more and more about it. Inconceivable, how little we all know about this topic. It is seldom on the news. Why? And where was the public outcry, when the official definition was changed?


An American anti-torture group marching toward the Washington Monument
Photograph by Justin Norman

Torture is something that is happening. Everyday and not even far away. My goal with this beat blog is to contribute within my capabilities to make torture more present in the public dialogue. Luckily, there are already people out there, who are doing exactly this. They risk their lives, their careers and they risk to not be heard by many people. I have a deep admiration for human rights reporters and I will try to cover their work in this blog.

An important source in this field is the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. On their website are listed reports and news about violations of human rights all over the world. Other important sources are NGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the World Organisation Against Torture. On their websites, they publish news about violations about human rights and tell about their own work.

One remarkable human rights reporters is the American journalist Seymour Hersh (follow him on Twitter) who exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. This blog will be covering the work of him, his colleagues and the various non-governmental Human Rights Organizations.


Seymour Hersh speaks about his work for The New Yorker.
Photo by Campus Progress


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