MANILA, Philippines - Members of civil society organizations (CSOs) received an extra tool from veteran journalists in monitoring human rights issues in the country.
A total of 12 CSOs including Haribon Foundation, Bangsamoro Center for JustPeace in the Philippines Inc., Alternate Forum for research in Mindanao, Hope for the Youth Foundation Inc., Green Forum-Western Visayas Inc., Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum, Holy Rosary Parish Church, Task Force Mapalad Inc., INCITE Gov, Alyansa Tigil Mina, Mindanao Peace Weavers, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and Workers Assistance Center Inc. attended a 4-day workshop on investigative reporting on human rights this month.
During the workshop, the participants took part in discussions on investigative journalism, conducting interviews, taking and editing photos and videos and journalism ethics.
The technical aspects of the workshop were conducted by VERA Files trustees Luz Rimban, Ellen Tordesillas, Booma Cruz and Chit Estella. Human rights advocate lawyer Harry Roque discussed the concept of human rights and the means of gathering evidence through documentation and testimonies.
The CSO participants are expected to produce their stories and submit their outputs to VERA Files for feedback and advice. The reports will be disseminated to various media and will be posted on the special human rights section of the VERA Files website. Some of the stories have already been published in major broadsheets.
The project, with funding from the British Embassy’s Bilateral Program, aims to sustain a partnership between journalists and civil society groups towards human rights monitoring through training and production of in-depth reports on human rights issues using multimedia platforms.
It is one of the winners from a competition for innovative human rights initiatives dubbed Karapatan sa Malikhaing Paraan (KaSaMa).
Meanwhile, British Ambassador Stephen Lillie was delighted to support VERA Files' work with civil society groups through this project.
“Our new coalition government in the UK has made clear that values such as support for human rights and the rule of law are an indivisible part of our foreign policy. Accountability and transparency to protect democratic freedom and human rights is something that Britain supports around the world, including here in the Philippines. An important element of this project is to shine a light on stories and issues that otherwise may not receive enough attention. The project spearheaded by VERA Files will enable these civil society organizations to improve their production of in-depth reports on human rights issues using various media platforms,” said Lillie.