The question of how to generate public interest in human rights was central in film director Rex Bloomstein's recent lecture, Human Rights: Does anyone care? given at the University of Roehampton earlier this month.
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The award winning director explained how he had realised that he needed to focus on the individual's story to make human rights appealing for a TV audience. Bloomstein is famed for pioneering the use of human stories on TV to confront worldwide human rights issues.
His most powerful appeals such as Human Rights, Human Wrongs followed individual harrowing stories, and introduced TV audiences to failures in human rights globally, inciting them to campaign for change. This approach galvanised the public and fostered activism before Twitter and social media existed, the more familiar modern methods.
In his lecture to staff and students, which was given on behalf of Roehampton Jewish Resource Centre, Bloomstein charted his use of film to depict issues such as unfair imprisonments, child labour and Afghanistan's oppression of women.
'The moral authority of Rex Bloomstein's work sets an important example to students of media, journalism and film, and to all of us who believe that reliable, truthful broadcasting plays a vital role in a democracy', said Irene Wise, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Culture and Language.
Bloomstein's most recent work for BBC radio, Dying For A Song, continues to tackle human rights issues, giving voice to musicians silenced by censorship.
Before the evening public lecture, Bloomstein joined a class to initiate discussions with University of Roehampton students about human rights and the role of a documentary filmmaker.
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