Human rights obligations and Australian newspapers: a media monitoring project, using peace journalism to evaluate Australian newspaper coverage of the 2004 HREOC report regarding children in detention centres [thesis]

Tobias Martin Andreasson
This research thesis investigates news journalists' role in the promotion and protection of peace and human rights. I explore how news journalists do not just have the ability, through the discursive selections they make, to be a catalyst for peace and non-violent solutions, it is their obligation under international human rights. My study links arguments about universal ethics for media based on international human rights with the practical and analytical approach of 'peace journalism'. The
more » ... n argument rests on the idea that objectivity or impartiality in news journalism does not equal ethical neutrality since there is always a discursive selection made by the news journalists. In order to monitor whether news journalists discursive selections comply with the international human rights obligations, I have explored how the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) report A Last Resort? were covered in three Australian newspapers when it was published in 2004. The HREOC report was a testament of human rights abuses by the Australian Federal Governments towards children in Australian detention centres. I establish that health professionals were a significant group for both HREOC's main findings and recommendations and a key group for the contextualisation of the human rights violations explored and exposed in the HREOC report. Informed by conflict analysis and peace studies theories I argue HREOC establish how the detention policy equals 'structural violence' that caused 'direct violence', which was justified and normalised because 'cultural violence'. I use discourse analysis to explore the discursive selections in the newspapers, and establish that the report received limited coverage and health professionals were omitted in the news while the political conflict was reported. This trivialised the report and health professionals' role, which led to the naturalisation and normalisation of the violence. I finally reinforce these finding by exploring alternatives to the coverage using a peace journali [...]
doi:10.26190/unsworks/18654 fatcat:nbmdpyl3yba7vatxrdq2dfv53i