Samantha Power talks on human rights, foreign policy and the press

February 12, 2007

February 12, 2007Samantha Power, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government took part in the first brown-bag lunch hosted by the Shorenstein Center of 2007.

At the event Power spoke about the nexus of human rights, U.S. foreign policy, and the press. She focused her talk on three emergent trends: the wane of U.S. power on the international scene, which she believes is declining at a “precipitous pace”; a backslide on the direction of freedom and human rights; and an “increasing sense of vulnerability” that has led governments to drastically scale back freedoms of the press.

As Power explained, the implication of these trends is that American press coverage, once regarded as “a place of one-stop shopping” to effect change over international foreign policies, no longer exerts the same degree of influence that it once did.

Power also discussed the problem of accessibility in the regions where the worst human rights abuses are perpetrated, noting that many of the major investigative reporting breakthroughs on human rights violations came out of Washington and New York — not from journalists in the field.