HR TV: A Voice for the Voiceless

By Lan KB

What is it:

The world’s first television channel dedicated to human rights, launched on Jan 15, 2019.

Idea behind it:

It aims to deliver hidden stories ignored by mainstream media into people’s living rooms. It will be a web-based channel, bringing human rights issues to audiences in over 20 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Programming is in English, but eventually it will be available in other languages including Farsi, Turkish, Arabic and Russian.

Who’s idea is it:

The credit goes to London-based The International Observatory of Human Rights. The watchdog was established in 2017 as an independent non-profit and non-governmental organisation. Read here for more information on them.

Topics on HR TV:

Will include refugees, press freedom and the incarceration of journalists, extremism, women’s rights, LGBT issues and the plight of the world’s stateless people.


Yalda Hakim, a presenter and journalist with the BBC, told the launch event that the channel aimed “to give a voice to the voiceless” and “to make human rights sexy” in a world where attention spans are shrinking and sound bites rule.

IOHR director Valerie Peay meanwhile said “there are so many people in the world who cannot speak up, and it seems to be getting worse and worse.”

“You have got a lot of niche channels out there, but so far not one dedicated to human rights. We want to bring this into people’s homes.”

“We live in a world of 24-hour news cycles and often stories get lost and we see human rights being sidelined,” Peay said.

“(This) is about joining up the dots so people hopefully engage with human rights and make a difference.”

Where to view:

Right now, broadcasts can be viewed via the interactive platform or on IOHR website. The programmes will shortly be available via a mobile app.

What’s available now:

At the time of writing, three programmes are available for viewing:

On the vital work of supporting and welcoming refugee families in the UK under the community sponsorship scheme.


An intimate account by a mother about coping with the psychological traumas from terrorist attacks in the UK and Spain. She speaks in particular about the effects on her son from the attack at the Manchester Arena and the vital support that the Peace Foundation provides.


The International Observatory of Human Rights has launched “IOHR Ambassadors” in the presence of award-winning human rights lawyer Mrs Usha Sood. The programme is dedicated to developing the skills of young people who have a passion for human rights.