Photo credit: Stéphanie St-Laurent Brassard / UNDP in Ukraine

Did you know that most Ukrainians get information on human rights from the media? The recent Human Rights Baseline Study showed that three out of four people in Ukraine say they find information on TV, and 57% of respondents acknowledged that television broadcasting shapes their views on human rights.

In September 2017, the Institute of Journalism, the Human Rights Information Centre, and the Ombudsperson’s Office in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme initiated a Human Rights Academy for Journalism Professors. The Academy aims at raising awareness for professionals working in the field of media to human rights and problems of diverse social groups. It also promotes high ethical journalistic standards in covering issues related to human rights, equality, and non-discrimination.

Over the past six months, 24 professors of journalism from different parts of Ukraine attended four sessions on various aspects of human rights. The course included training sessions with human rights defenders, representatives of diverse social groups, Ombudsperson office and civil activists. They were trained on how to write about people with disabilities, representatives of LGBTQ, Roma, sex-workers and other social groups. Participants also learned children rights and ethical standards of talking about underaged in the media. During the training professors learned about UN legal mechanisms on defending human rights.

A separate session was devoted to the Sustainable Development Goals and how Ukrainian universities can contribute to its promotion at the local level. The representative of the National Network of UNDP Partner Universities shared her experience on organization various student activities for SDGs promotion.

The Academy became a platform for cooperation and networking. Based on new knowledge, professors will promote a systemic human rights-based approach in journalisms’ education. They have already developed information package and the Scientific and Methodological Commission agreed to integrate the human rights course into the journalisms curriculum.

This is a very up-to-date initiative. A lot of people, including journalists, do not understand what human rights are or how to stand up for it. Sometimes, journalists disregard somebody’s rights, intentionally or not, in their publications. At the human rights academy, we learned about all aspects of human rights and how to talk about diverse social groups. Now, we will instruct our students about human rights to level up the future of journalism in Ukraine,” said Oleksiy Kostiuchenko, one of the participants of the Academy from the National University “Ostroh Academy”.

24 teachers from 20 Ukrainian universities (from Kyiv, Lviv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Uzhhorod, Kherson, Kropyvnytsky, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky and other cities) participated in the “Human Rights Academy for Journalism Professors”. The course was launched in September 2017 and ended in March 2018.

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