Hearts and minds

For Sueli Carneiro the internet has been transformed into a place for activism For Sueli Carneiro the internet has been transformed into a place for activism

Just as important as speaking about human rights to the public in an accessible language is the need to provide activists with new information to strengthen their discourse, agreed the participants on the panel “Research and Communication in Human Rights”, held on Thursday, May 28, at the 14th International Human Rights Colloquium.

On the panel, Sueli Carneiro, executive coordinator of Geledés, Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Indonesian organization KontraS, Archana Pandya, executive director of Open Global Rights, Juana Kweitel, program director at Conectas, and Thiago Amparo, editor of Sur Journal, discussed online strategies and communication tools. The debate was mediated by José Bertoluci, a professor at FGV (Getúlio Vargas Foundation).

Sueli Carneiro emphasized that the internet has been transformed into a place for activism, particularly when human rights organizations encounter a funding crisis. The Geledés web portal, which currently has 215,000 followers, aims to reach different types of public. “We need to supply a type of content that caters to the uninformed user, but that also produces something to fuel activism,” she said.

The importance of the didactic tone in the communication materials is primarily due to the prejudice regarding human rights in countries like Brazil, explained Carneiro.

In Indonesia, KontraS has invested in strategies that combine research and mobilization techniques, banking on the decisive role of social networks for reaching the population. “We have come to the realization that the social networks are a new rule, but they cannot be used on their own. Research is essential, since the online media is powerless if you have nothing to say,” said Haris Azhar. KontraS also uses SMS to keep the rural population updated about its cases.

Similarly, Juana Kweitel pointed out that internet campaigns and mobilizations should not be the end-all of a communication action, but part of it. “I’m not a blind believer in the online environment. I don’t think changes occur on Facebook,” she explained.

Even publications targeted at a more specialized category can be made more accessible to the public in general,” explained Thiago Amparo. He cited the example of the Sur Journal, an academic publication that for 10 years has received contributions from experts around the world, primarily from the Global South, which is currently being renewed and updated.

Similarly, at Open Global Rights, a multilingual online forum intended for debate between human rights movements from all over the world, care is always taken to publish short texts that are easy to read. These texts always have hyperlinks – which provides the possibility for more in-depth reading.

This article was written by Danillo Oliveira and is part of the collaborative coverage of the 14th Colloquium.

Find out more

Receive Conectas updates by email