Authors' note: We thank the ISQ editors and four anonymous reviewers for their comments, as well as Ken Roth, Carroll Bogert, Claudio Cordonne, Stuart Soroka, Yoko Yoshida, Jack Sandberg, Steve Rytina, and Giovani Burgos. This research was funded by the Canada Research Chairs program; Social Science and Humanities Research Council; Canadian Consortium on Human Security; and the Human Security Program of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. We dedicate this article to Heather Fisher, our research assistant, who died tragically in an accident after working on this project.
Transnational Information Politics: NGO Human Rights Reporting, 1986–2000
Article first published online: 8 AUG 2005
International Studies Quarterly
Volume 49, Issue 3, pages 557–588, September 2005
How to Cite
Ron, J., Ramos, H. and Rodgers, K. (2005), Transnational Information Politics: NGO Human Rights Reporting, 1986–2000. International Studies Quarterly, 49: 557–588. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2005.00377.x
- Issue published online: 8 AUG 2005
- Article first published online: 8 AUG 2005
What shapes the transnational activist agenda? Do non-governmental organizations with a global mandate focus on the world's most pressing problems, or is their reporting also affected by additional considerations? To address these questions, we study the determinants of country reporting by an exemplary transnational actor, Amnesty International, during 1986–2000. We find that while human rights conditions are associated with the volume of their country reporting, other factors also matter, including previous reporting efforts, state power, U.S. military assistance, and a country's media profile. Drawing on interviews with Amnesty and Human Rights Watch staff, we interpret our findings as evidence of Amnesty International's social movement-style “information politics.” The group produces more written work on some countries than others to maximize advocacy opportunities, shape international standards, promote greater awareness, and raise its profile. This approach has both strengths and weaknesses, which we consider after extending our analysis to other transnational sectors.