Compasito - Manual on Human Rights Education for Children
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General Human Rights Media and Internet
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Human Rights calendar

15. Human Rights in the News

No news is good news – or is it?

Themes General human rights, Media and Internet

Complexity Level 2

Age 10-13 years

Group size 10-30 children

Duration 45 minutes

Type of activity Scanning media, making a poster, discussion

Overview Children scan newspapers for human rights enjoyed, violated and defended

Objectives • To enhance awareness of human rights in the media and everyday life
• To examine how the media covers human rights issues

Preparation • Collect newspapers of several kinds
• Prepare posters sheets for each group

Materials • Newspaper pages
• Flipchart paper
• Sticky tape or glue and scissors
• Markers
• Copies of the child-friendly UDHR

Source: Adapted from Human Rights Here and Now (University of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center, 1998)


  1. Explain that this activity is about human rights in the news. Remind the children of previous activities and discussion of human rights, and reintroduce the UDHR.
  2. Divide the children into small groups. Give each group a newspaper or newspaper pages, scissors, sticky tape or glue, a marker and a sheet of flipchart paper prepared like that in the sample below.
  3. Explain the activity. Give some examples of how features other than news stories might also relate to human rights.
    • Each group will construct a poster using stories from the newspaper. Ask them to look for stories from three categories:
      • rights being practised or enjoyed
      • rights being denied or violated
      • rights being protected.
    • Tell them not just to look for news stories but also features such as sports, announcements and advertisements.
    • When they find an article that relates to human rights, they should cut it out and paste it on to their poster in the appropriate category.
    • When they have found a newspaper story for each category, ask them to select one story to analyse, answering these questions:
  4. What specific rights were involved in the story? List them beside the article.
    • Find the article(s) of the UDHR that covers each right and write the article number(s) on the list.
      • Tell them to write their answers in the space at the bottom of the poster, and to draw an arrow to the story that is analysed.
  5. Ask a child from each group to present their poster.

Debriefing and Evaluation

  1. Choose one or two stories from each group’s poster and ask the group to explain their analysis of the story in terms of the UDHR:
    • Was it difficult to link stories or features to human rights?
    • Were human rights involved in many stories?
    • What articles of the UDHR were involved?
    • As young person, which rights concern you most?
  2. Discuss the activity, asking questions such as these:
    • What categories of rights stories were easiest to find? Hardest to find? Why?
    • Did some articles of the UDHR come up more often than others? Did others not come up at all? How can you explain this?
    • How many articles explicitly mentioned human rights? How many concerned human rights issues but did not use those words? Why do you think human rights were not mentioned?
    • Were children’s rights mentioned in particular?
    • Based on these news stories, what seems to be the state of human rights in the world today? In Europe? In your community?
    • What is being done to protect human rights in these stories? Who is taking these actions?

Suggestions for follow-up

  • The activities ‘Putting Rights on the Map’, p. 138, and ‘Compasito Reporter’, p. 92, asks children to look at their own communities from a human rights perspective. The latter also engages children in reporting what they observe.

Ideas for action

  • Leave the posters hanging and encourage the children to bring in other newspaper clippings. Reassess the posters when several new items have been added.
  • Choose one rights topic of particular concern to the group and do an awareness-raising campaign (e.g. right to property, maybe linked with poverty; right to education, especially to quality education) at a level the group chooses (local level, national, international level).

Tips for facilitators

  • Choose from a variety of newspapers and news magazines, including local and advertising papers. They do not need to be recent.
  • Encourage the children to consider parts of the newspaper other than new stories: e.g. advertisements: right to property; marriage or funeral notices: right to culture, to marry, to thought, conscience and religion; sports: right to leisure; personal ads and notices of meetings: right to association.
  • At the beginning be very present in the groups to make sure they understand their task.
  • Variation: All groups contribute to three separate posters for each category, combining the articles they have found to make class posters.
  • Adaptations for younger children:
  • Ask for only two categories: rights enjoyed and rights denied.
  • Omit the analysis in Step 3.
  • Ask debriefing questions that focus on the child’s experience of human rights in daily life.
  • Adaptations for older children:
  • Ask children to compare coverage of the same human rights stories in different newspapers and/or different media. What differences can they observe in importance given in the story? In emphasis given in features of the story? Are there different versions of a single event? Did any version of the story explicitly mention human rights?
  • Ask participants to watch a news programme on TV and write down the topics covered and the amount of time given to each human rights topic.

Handout: sample poster
















UDHR Article


UDHR Article


UDHR Article