In Norway’s human rights dialogues with China and Vietnam, working groups on the media were introduced in 2010 in which access to information (ATI) is one of several issues under discussion. This article outlines the media systems of China and Vietnam before considering recent ATI legislation in both countries. China’s OGI Directive and Vietnam’s draft ATI law affect both the media and the possibilities of fostering better informed citizenships. Finally, the two media systems and ATI laws are linked with the broader issue of the universality of human rights. A multidisciplinary and multimethod approach is used, drawing on comparative media theory, international relations and human rights studies and using content analysis of legal conventions, websites as well as participatory observation in the human rights dialogues. The analysis suggests that although Chinese and Vietnamese media remain under Communist party control, the forces of globalisation, commercialisation and increased internet penetration are weakening party control of the media, thereby strengthening the principle of universality of human rights.1An early version of this article was presented at the Norwegian Media Researcher Conference, Ålesund, 28-29 October 2010. I would like to thank the two anonymous NJHR reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions.
Keywords: Media; China; Vietnam; Transparency; Globalisation; Human Rights.
In social science and legal studies there is a lack of clarity in the categorisation of different national anti-discrimination policies. To remedy this situation, this article develops an analytical framework for categorising anti-discrimination policies. It suggests that it is useful to distinguish between assimilationist, liberal and multiculturalist anti-discrimination policies and demonstrates the usefulness of the proposed analytical framework by analysing the Danish anti-discrimination policy. The categorisation of anti-discrimination policies as assimilationist, liberal or multiculturalist depends on the area (eg labour market, education, private services) covered by the individual grounds of discrimination (eg race, ethnicity, religion), and on how these grounds are interpreted by legislators and in the legal practice. On this basis, Danish anti-discrimination policy is found to be predominantly assimilationist with strong liberal elements in labour market regulation and with few marginal elements of multiculturalism in the regulation of private schools and in the political representation of ethnic minorities.
Keywords: Discrimination; Assimilation; Liberalism; Multiculturalism; Policy Analysis; Denmark; Europeanisation; European Union.
The new wave of the constitutionalisation of Islam, or Islamisation of the constitution, has engendered the question of to what degree this constitutional characteristic can co-exist with effective human rights, or whether one of them has to submit to the other. The issue is even more pressing as many of the countries of the ‘Arab spring’ debate on how to design their new constitutions and on what role Islam should or should not play. The lack of consensus as to the content of Islamic law has in practice allowed for conservative interpretations to prevail. This article looks at the experience of three countries that have gone from secular or semi-secular constitutions to Islamic constitutions in recent times, and points to some of the human rights challenges this development has resulted in.
Keywords: Constitution; Secular; Islamic law; Human Rights; Afghanistan; Iran; Iraq.