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Saye Town Residents Cope With Fire Aftermath

Felicia and Blessing are sisters who were victimized by the fire in Monrovia's Sinkor Saye Town Community last Sunday evening. All words and images by Thomas Neor.

Children anxiously await their only meal of the day. Although no government funds have yet been received by the community, personal donations- including bags of rice- have been made by both the representative for the district, Ketteh Kumeh Murray, and President Johnson-Sirleaf.

It is strongly believed, among many of the media houses in Liberia, that human rights stories, and human “interest” stories in particular, are not “big” stories. That title, instead, is typically reserved for journalism covering political scandals, economic crimes, or ongoing developments in already well-followed and high profile cases (such as the Charles Taylor trial). Even daily sports events taking place on completely different continents are given, on average, far more prominent attention than any human rights issues occurring right on Liberian soil. Which of course makes it that much harder to promote the importance of including quality human rights stories in the mainstream media. After all, if they don’t sell papers…

However, every once in awhile a story speaks for itself- embodying human rights and public interest all on its own. At first look, the following story- produced by a Monrovia-based reporter during one of my recent photojournalism workshops- seemed like a straightforward “disaster-aftermath” piece. However, since it first appeared, the story has developed into a much larger one, involving elements of politics, land rights, humanitarian ethics, and the potential for forced relocations- proving in itself that human rights reporting can be “high interest” reporting.

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Speak is an online magazine that publishes and discusses rights media pieces. Rights Media is the process of writing, collecting, editing, producing and distributing media that creates societal dialogue on human rights issues. Speak magazine mainstreams human rights issues through, progressive, balanced and objective reporting into everyday news stories.

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