History of media and human rights

Document Type

Book chapter

Source Publication

The Routledge companion to media and human rights

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page





This chapter traces the emergence and development of two distinct phenomena: the idea that media should be legally protected from state interference; and the conception of access to media as a human right. Although it treats primarily discourses about media, the chapter also addresses historical episodes during which media were mobilized in campaigns for press freedoms, human rights and humanitarian causes. Finally, before we begin our survey of how human rights and media have intersected historically, a note on historiography: In the past decade, a recurrent tension has emerged in scholarship on the history of human rights, between a quest for origins (as early as the 17th century) on one hand and, on the other, an emphasis on the quite recent emergence (as late as the 1970s) of the contemporary human-rights regime. While this chapter does not attempt to adjudicate definitively between these competing approaches, it does aim to point readers towards major references in the scholarly debates.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Routledge 2017.

Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9781138665545



Recommended Citation

Hampton, M., & Lemberg, D. L. (2017). History of media and human rights. In H. Tumber & S. Waisbord (Eds.), The Routledge companion to media and human rights (pp.30-38). United Kingdom: Routledge.

This document is currently not available here.