Mumbai: Promoting human rights is significant not just for their protection and respect but also to achieve sustainable development. PR and Media's role is vital in advocating human rights. PR functions to promote brand awareness and human rights by influencing public opinion to raise voices for critical social causes. Media is the primary source of information. It bridges the organisation and the public, being the most influential promoter of human rights and safeguarding.
The role of PR and media in human rights advocacy
The role of PR is broader than building a positive brand image or generating brand awareness. It overarches to advocate human rights and protection of the same. PR helps to influence public opinion, shaping social norms and advocating for the causes of the marginalized section of society. PR strategic thinking helps promote human rights by raising awareness, educating audiences, mobilizing support, and inspiring action.
In the words of Sam Cherri, human rights is the universalization of values, virtues, attitudes and social standards, and media is the guardian of these values and virtues. As media is the primary source of information, it plays a vital role in creating the right atmosphere for advocating human rights. Media not only reports on the violation of human rights but also an effective platform to promote it. The media act as gatekeepers who generate information between the organization and the masses.
PR and journalism are two pillars that safeguard human rights by creating a conducive environment that protect and establish it. The creation of a democratic nation rests upon the existence of a free and independent media. To say that the media is sometimes compliant to the government is not as concise as it seems. It implies that it can either have a beneficial effect or damage the stakeholders' interests.
Ethical journalism and PR practices
In an ever-evolving industry like PR, ethical practices and communication are the building blocks of the industry. The critical function of any PR professional is to build trust and credibility for a particular brand, company or organization. Following ethical practices is the key to building trust among the masses. An ethical PR practice involves honesty. Providing truthful and accurate information is critical to building trust by advocating views of all sides and facts to help people make informed decisions. Another vital ethical practice is to build a trusting relationship by acquiring expert knowledge and using critical thinking to maintain credibility. The most vital point is to respect different viewpoints without favouring anyone based on bias.
If we look at today’s scenario, ethical journalism is the need of the hour. The set of ethical codes that every journalist is aware of is to find and report the truth as it is without distorting the facts and minimizing the misuse by demonstrating understanding for sources and story subjects and acting wisely by not falling for undue influence from potential newsmakers. Another important aspect of ethical journalism is to take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Ethical journalism requires to remember that there is no excuse for inaccuracy. The facts are the prerequisite of good journalism therefore gather and update correct facts throughout the life of the news story.
Amplifying human rights and World Human Rights Day
On the 10 December, every year, we come together and celebrate the Human Rights Day. We have rights simply by being born as human beings. Human rights are pertinent for a sustainable future and relatively easy to understand and conjure. It is a value and virtue that implies feeling respected, treated with dignity, and valued for who we are. The rights we humans have emanate from the fact that we have a Constitution that guarantees its citizens the fundamental right to live a life with human dignity.
Human Rights is our natural right and it is pivotal that our liberty should not be rescinded. Our right to voice our opinion should not be snubbed or choked, and this is where the role of news professionals and PR practitioners comes in. Like the beacon of light, PR professionals and journalist should act as a ray of hope to people especially marginalised section whose voices have been choked and ignored.
The author of this article is Media Maniacs Group founder Surabhi Trivedi.