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Tuesday, 21 June 2011, 4.00 p.m., Pumpenhaus
Human rights reporting is about more than abstract legal issues. Often, at the center of these stories are vulnerable people who have been adversely exposed to traumatic acts, whether they involve sexual violence, political and criminal intimidation, torture, medical malpractice or other forms of mistreatment. Doing justice to their accounts requires research, knowledge and sensitivity – and in some cases genuine personal courage.
Most journalists are well equipped to question powerful politicians or business people, but until recently traditional training has given less attention to understanding the specialist interview tools and additional insight needed when working with the powerless. How does one encourage a victim to accurately reconstruct the story of a violent attack in all its terrible detail without unnecessarily compounding their distress and vulnerability? How does one avoid further stigmatizing individuals and groups made marginal by violence or discrimination? And what do journalists need to know about the impact of trauma in order to ensure that their sources are giving them the most accurate accounts they can?
This session, convened by the Dart Centre, will draw on the experience of veteran journalists who have worked extensively on human rights issues and it will offer practical suggestions and innovative ways for rethinking how we approach such interviews.
Journalist and filmmaker, director of Dart Centre Europe, UK
Journalist and author, Jordan
Journalist, Rwanda/New Yotk
Sociologist, trauma therapist and author, Germany