Training seminar for media “Reporting on Closed Institutions (prisons, police cells, psychiatric institutions, detention cells for illegal migrants)”

On 30-31 May, 2006 the Latvian Centre for Human Rights in co-operation with MediaWise Trust (UK) organised a training seminar for media “Reporting on Closed Institutions (prisons, police cells, psychiatric institutions, detention cells for illegal migrants)”. The training was part of the European Commission funded project of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights “Monitoring Human Rights and Prevention of Torture in Closed institutions: prisons, police cells and mental health care institutions in Baltic countries”.

Training included sessions on human rights standards regards mental health care institutions, prisons and police, as well interactive sessions on investigating institutions; reporting death and suicides in institutions; interviewing inmates and people with disabilities and use of hidden cameras/tape recorders.

At the end of training 15 journalists (out of 23 participants) from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia received certificates of attendance. Comment from Latvian journalist, evaluating the training: “Until now information on reporting on closed institutions has been minimal or to be straight – we did not have it at all. Very useful was information on reporting on suicides. Until now we wrote on them taking into account only our experience and intuition. However it would be necessary to have concrete, documented guidelines.”

More information on media ethics can be found on the web page of MediaWise:

Program of Training Seminar

30 May, 2006

9:30 – 10:00 Registration

10:00 – 10:10 Welcome and introduction on EU funded project and seminar aims. Ieva Leimane-Veldmeijere, Program Director Latvian Centre for Human Rights

10:10 – 11:15 Human Rights standards regards prevention of torture and inhumane/degrading treatment or punishment in closed institutions. Panel presentation with questions

Psychiatric institutions: Ieva Leimane-Veldmeijere, LCHR

Prisons, police cells: Annija Dace, Lawyer, National Human Rights Office

11:15 – 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 Human rights and closed institutions. Interactive exercise, Rich Cookson, Charles Fletcher (MediaWise)

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 Behind the walls: Investigating closed institutions.  Exercise with short sessions on what investigative journalism really is, the public interest, getting people to talk and protecting sources, Rich Cookson, Charles Fletcher (MediaWise)

15:00 – 15:30 Press monitoring results on reporting in mental health care issues. Panel presentation with questions, Ieva Leimane-Veldmeijere (LCHR), Rich Cookson (MediaWise)

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee break

15:45 – 17:15 Reporting death and suicides in institutions. Rich Cookson (MediaWise)

17:15 – 17:30 Feedback. Charles Fletcher (MediaWise)

19:00 – 20:30 UK TV and print investigations into closed institutions and discussion. Evening session, Rich Cookson (MediaWise)


31 May, 2006

09:00 – 10:15 Continuing ‘Behind the walls’ exercise. Short sessions on interviewing people with disabilities and the rights of victims and the families of criminals. 

10:15 – 11:00 Ethical reporting (Review of Baltic Codes and their efficiency, review of MediaWise WHO/Code on Health reporting) – including use of hidden cameras. Charles Fletcher (MediaWise)

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee break

11:15 – 12:00 Investigating murder. Aidis Tomsons, Latvian Radio reporter

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:30 Presentations: Behind the walls. The results of the investigations workshops, Rich Cookson (MediaWise)

14:30 – 15:00 Evaluation session


Published: 2006-07-26