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Posted On: 2 November 2008 08:22 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Al Jazeera launches rights desk and portal

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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Al Jazeera Media Network yesterday launched a groundbreaking initiative called Public Liberties and Human Rights Desk headed by celebrated Al Jazeera journalist and former Guantanamo detainee Sami Al Haj, during a conference on 'The Media's Role in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and Freedoms' at Doha Sheraton. The historic launch coincided with Al Jazeera's 12th anniversary. "When Al Jazeera launched twelve years ago, it did not feature a story about a king or any prominent personality like in other Middle Eastern country. From day one, Al Jazeera has committed itself to human rights protection," noted Al Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Al Shaikh. He also mentioned the launching of a new portal dedicated to uplifting human rights. Al Haj together with prominent human rights advocates and media officials from Qatar and other parts of the world converged at the event which shed light on challenges facing media's status quo and media's indispensable role in promoting respect for human rights. The seminar also emphasised the very strong role media plays in civil society, having the ability to reach all its aspects. "I look forward to working with Sami in exploring stories not only in Guantanamo but other prisons in the world," said Cori Crider, Staff Attorney of UK based Reprieve. The Desk will monitor, document, broadcast and raise awareness on the key issues of human rights and basic liberties in the world in general and in the Arab region in particular. The Desk will work closely with Al Jazeera's news division and establish a specialised database on human rights and public liberties issues. It will also participate in dialogues between media establishments and human rights organisations. During the conference Gitanjali S Gutierrez, Staff Attorney at Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, underscored the need for the public to be educated regarding their rights to avoid being accustomed to human rights violations. Yesterday's conference also discussed the role of international mechanisms in upholding media and human rights. Conventions on elimination of racial discrimination, social and cultural rights, persons with disabilities, and women's rights were also emphasized in the meeting. "I firmly believe that through the dedication of the Al Jazeera Network and the newly established Desk, we can promote the fundamental values of human rights and create an incentive for others. Al Jazeera will have an unmatched platform to promote these ideas and to foster a dialogue on the media's role in advancing human rights," Al Haj earlier said. The Pen