It is essential to map and identify the different target audiences and their information needs to decide on the right communication tools and channels.
Targeting the following groups is beneficial:
Colleagues in public administrations:
Information about fundamental rights should be made available amongst public officials in different sectors within public administrations, particularly colleagues with direct contact to individuals. They should understand the objectives of specific fundamental rights initiatives and how they can be supported. Communications staff should be well briefed about fundamental rights and incorporate this perspective in press releases.
Political leaders and elected representatives should be aware of fundamental rights initiatives and how these help to uphold national laws in this area. If they are well-briefed, local counsellors, mayors or national parliamentarians can do much to promote fundamental rights and draw media attention to these issues.
The media play an important role in raising awareness of fundamental rights. Establishing a contact point for media enquiries and supplying facts and figures to journalists can help boost the number of articles and interviews being produced on fundamental rights. The Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom has a Rapid Rebuttal Unit that works with journalists to provide accurate information on fundamental rights and to refute exaggerated or inaccurate news items.
Individuals and civil society:
The intended beneficiaries of fundamental rights initiatives can sometimes be unaware of government activities in this field. Producing information for individuals is critical if they are to understand their rights and be able to claim them. Reaching out to specific groups, such as people with disabilities or minorities, may require developing information in different formats and languages, and using different communication channels. Information to civil society is also crucial as they act as intermediaries and can mobilise the community to advocate for fundamental rights.
Communications are often targeted at like-minded colleagues and stakeholders rather than new audiences. However, the rewards from reaching out to what can seem like hostile or indifferent stakeholders can be surprising as the example below demonstrates.
Huddinge municipality’s gender equality-mainstreaming project aimed to ensure that women and men, and girls and boys were treated equally. It also aimed to ensure they had access to all the services and environments made available by the municipality.
Information about the project was sent to a broad range of stakeholders including the Boys’ Football Club. The initial response from the football coach was very negative but through direct contact, officials were able to discuss gender equality issues. The end result is that the football club is now open to girls and boys with mixed teams playing in competitions.
Source: Local focus group 2011, Huddinge, Sweden
Communication tools should be inclusive of people with disabilities so that they can reach everybody in society. This may require developing information in easy to read formats. For example, FRA produced an easy read booklet on what laws related to legal capacity (to make independent choices and decisions) mean for people with intellectual disabilities and for people with mental health problems.