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'It Is Not My Job To Engage The Ignorant'
an article by Taryn and Vicki

We were among the students from the University of Connecticut who joined with visitors, faculty, and high school and middle school students from across the state for the Fifth Annual Human Rights Conference in Storrs on Tuesday, November 9th 2004. This year’s focus was Human Rights in the Media with special attention to the youth of today seeking truth in the media.

The main message of the conference was reflected by the South African Ambassador Masekela when she told students of her experiences that she faced when dealing with an uninformed group of people. People would ask her where she lived in Africa and she responded “in the trees”. And when they asked her what she ate, she said, “succulent babies”. This story made real the ignorance that many have. She told the captivated audience “it is not my job to engage the ignorant, if they want to know they can pick up a book and learn the culture.” Hopefully the future leaders in the audience took this message to heart because an informed public can then go out and change the world with their message.

The speakers focused on the media coverage of human rights issues around the world and exposed the difficulty of covering such subjects and also how the mass media has helped groups that have suffered human rights abuses to get their message out. UNESCO Chair Omara-Ottunu gave the example of the human rights abuses suffered by the Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison this past summer to make this point critically clear to the audience the importance of the media and media coverage to help human rights. There was a special message to the audience that they are the future ambassadors to human rights and it is up to them to become enlightened through an informed media. Omara-Otunnu urged the audience to go home and write to their congressmen, become activists, and make their opinions heard as this is the most simple and most important step one can take to make the world a better place.

For more information, go to these links: Human Rights in the Media

Unesco Chair Newletter

There’s not enough room here to tell about the many interesting speakers, so we have put more information about this on the Discussion Board.

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


How can we get informed about what is really happening in the world?,

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Latest reader comment:

I suggest two sources of information about what is really happening the world: WAMC 90.3 FM in Hartford. Alternative Radio is an excellent source, s is WWUH 91.3. WHUS carris Amy Goodman of Democracy NOw.

The reason for being of the mainstream media is to sell advertising. I respect someone like David Barsamian who supports his program by selling CD's.


This report was posted on December 4, 2004.