The idea behind the project
It has been noted that sustained coverage by the media of human rights cases has resulted in either police investigation, filing of cases in court, and even the trial and conviction of perpetrators.
Both the public and human rights advocates realize that constant reportage of cases keeps them within the radar of national or local attention, in the process forcing action from officials in the law enforcement and judicial sectors.
But only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of all human rights cases ever reach media attention, while others are ignored or suffer a tapering off of media interest.
In view of this, VERA Files intends to shine the light on little known or forgotten stories of extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances, in the hope that such coverage will prompt official action.
This project is a collaboration between VERA Files and select Metro Manila and community journalists to monitor and report on human rights violations, focusing on extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearance.
Human Rights Case Watch
“Human Rights Case Watch” focuses media attention on a set of carefully selected cases from all over the country. VERA Files will then assign these cases to local or national journalists who have established a reputation of reliability and credibility.
The first phase of this project is a four-day workshop on human rights and justice reporting, multimedia storytelling, ethics and safety training.
With mentoring from VERA Files, these journalists will produce a range of stories on each case over a period of seven months, from February to August 2011, to include one in-depth report, a profile story and monthly updates. A photojournalist will be tapped to travel to the different areas and provide photos and slideshows of the cases.
The stories will then be published in the VERA Files website and syndicated to mainstream media outlets, including Yahoo! Philippines.
At the end of the project period, all those involved will regroup for an evaluation of the project, an assessment of the output and impact, and a review of lessons learned.