Human Rights Issues Poorly Covered in Arabic on the Internet
A new study by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information on the discourse and coverage of Human Rights issues by the Arabic-languge electronic media
Cairo, October 1st, 2007.
Cairo, October 2nd, 2007- The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRINFO) today said that the Internet in the Arab world has not become yet an effective tool in serving human rights causes.
For Arab electronic media cover Human Rights violations and issues but do not see Human rights as a reference for reporting in general. Arab human rights’ organizations do not utilize most of the capabilities the internet provides.
The study is the first in Arabic language to discuss the status of human rights issues in the discourse of electronic Arabic media outlets. In addition, the study exposes how human rights organization use the internet. The study, entitled ” Electronic Media and Human Rights”, concluded that although “human rights” were mentioned in many news stories and reports, Human rights as a discourse and as an guiding principle did not seem to affect or influence the reporting in general in the electronic Arab media.
The study focused on eight of the biggest Arabic media outlets: aljazeera.net, alarabiya.net, islamonline.net, elaph.com, copts-united.com, moheet.com, middle-east-online.com, naseej.com . Using quantative and qualitative analyses of the discourse and content of these sites over one year (2006 ).
The coverage and inclusion as a reference of four essential rights; women’s rights, minorities’ rights, tolerance with the other, refugees’ rights and the right to a private life, were handled in the study.
The study also tackled the relation between human rights organizations and the internet. The study focused on eight Arab human rights organizations varying in their activities (dealing with women’s rights, development, freedom of expression, protection against torture, public freedoms, studies and researches and legal aid) and locations (Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and France).
“Human rights organizations find it quite difficult to communicate with the public without using media outlets. Arab governments dominate traditional media outlets such as newspapers and T.V stations, so we have no where to go but the electronic media. These new and widely spread media started to pay more attention to supporting human rights issues. We hope to see an electronic media which is more consistent with human rights values rather than only reporting the violations to these rights,” said Gamal Eid, HRINFO Executive Director.
This study was the last project undertaken by Egyptian researcher Mohammed Hakim who passed away before finishing it. The study was completed by HRINFO assistant researcher Abdo Abdelaziz. HRINFO is dedicating this study to the memory of Hakim and hopes it will help support a more independent and critical electronic media which can be effective in supporting human rights issues in the Arab world.
Hard copies of the 215-page study can be obtained from the HRINFO office or electronic opies can be downloaded at www.hrinfo.net
For more info, please call:
Abdo Abdelaziz, assistant researcher, Tel/fax: 25249544, Cell:0121634600
Gamal Eid, Executive Director (Available until October 4th,2007) Cell:+20101936884
For journalists and activists, the report is available on :