Human rights and fake news: what we need to do now

8 March 2017 by

Last night I gave the annual Human Rights Lecture for the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Wales office. 

My chosen topic was access to justice, human rights and fake news. I tried to sum up some of my experiences of setting up this blog and RightsInfo, made a probably ill-advised foray into cognitive psychology, and also gave some modest (and non-exhaustive!) proposals for what the human rights community could be doing to make things better.

Thank you for the EHRC for inviting me, to Cardiff University for their very gracious hosting and the audience who were really engaged and asked some difficult questions!

You can watch here or below. Comments most welcome.


  1. says:

    I have been unlawfully detained by home office on 31 January 2017.
    My application was submitted on 24 January 2017.
    They denied my credibility . I spend 19 days in prison for nothing ,unfair and unlawful treatment where can I get help I will like take my case to human rights
    They release me after 18 days when my solicitor fax and emailed the evidence receipt received by home office 24 .01.2017 .
    I am traumatised by this situation

  2. George Morley says:

    Muriel makes a good point as I am in Canada and cannot see the video. We get blocked from many UK video’s in the news and from the BBC. Thanks Adam

  3. Fraser says:

    Hi Adam,

    Just a tip — if you want busy people to get your message, can you please make the text of your talk available? Sorry, but there’s no way I can spend 47 minutes on this. A text, on the other hand, allows one to cut-and-paste the good bits and save them. It’s so much more efficient!

    Keep up your great work,



    1. Adam Wagner says:

      Thanks for the tip Muriel – I think a transcript is coming from the EHRC, I’ll let you know when it arrives.

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Adam, You gave an excellent, thought-provoking lecture. Thank you. My 14 year old son accompanied me and enjoyed it too. He came up with an interesting point which he was too shy to make in Q&A. He said that it’s far easier to provoke outrage (as shown in the Tabloids’ Fake News HR stories) than it is to promote a sense of optimism and positive belief in HR, and that people prefer to read these stories because they almost enjoy being outraged. Of course, this should not stop us trying to promote HR in a more engaging and narrative style. Best wishes, Liz

    1. Adam Wagner says:

      Hi Liz – your son made a great point, please thank your son for making it. I agree – outrage is easy, optimism is harder. But all of the great movements in history have been a combination of both! Outrage can be against injustice too.

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