Journalism and Human Rights workshop

By Emma Smith

Scottish award winning journalist Billy Briggs has worked freelance for the past five years, documenting human rights issues in the UK and abroad. He has travelled to over 15 countries to help expose the human right violations which are covered up by “corrupt regimes, companies and individuals”.

Billy spoke of his time reporting ‘femicide’ in Guatemala, investigating human rights violations by UN peacekeepers in Haiti and covering the rise of the neo-Nazi movement in Austria. His harrowing, and at times horrifying account of the time he spent working in these countries highlighted the human right violations and corruption around the world – which is at times ignored by the media.

Billy led a workshop which explored the importance of human rights reportage in the media and how it can enhance street magazines and improve the quality of publications.

During the workshop delegates discussed the decadence of Western media and the poor moral standards which have been adopted by some tabloids. Billy stressed the importance of the SNS and street papers to bring important issues to the attention of the public through “powerful images and words”.

Whilst most main stream media continues to focus on celebrity culture and lifestyle, street papers offer a unique and growing platform to bring important messages in to the public domain and make a real difference to human rights throughout the world.