Countering populism to protect, promote and communicate fundamental rights in these changing times

During this year’s European Forum Alpbach, FRA's Director, Michael O'Flaherty chaired a debate on how to protect, promote and communicate fundamental rights at a time when populism is on the rise.

The Director spoke of the need to change mindsets as we communicate about human rights. As populists try to appeal to people who are less interested in politics and just want to live their lives, we need to find ways to reach them and counter populist views that human rights benefit others rather than every member of society. Participants underlined the importance of adding emotion to facts and humanising stories to help reach the disengaged.

These views echoed some of the suggestions that were made during the Agency’s expert meeting on how to better communicate common values, fundamental rights and freedoms. Ultimately, as one speaker put it “communicating simply isn't dumbing down or condescending - it's getting a point across that resonates and can achieve change.”