Human rights abuses at the Rio 2016 Olympics: activism and the media

Adam Talbot, Thomas F. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines activists’ use of human rights as a discourse to contest the impacts of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by drawing on a wider ethnographic project examining activism at Rio 2016. Focusing on two areas of contention, forced evictions and police brutality, the article considers the way activists framed their grievances and how mainstream international media outlets reported those grievances. While activists fighting against forced evictions explicitly used the language of rights in their activism, media accounts tended not to discuss these issues using this lexicon. Conversely, grassroots activists protesting around the issue of police brutality did not tend to frame their grievances in terms of rights, but these issues were discussed as human rights abuses in the media. This points to a dual role played by activists fighting forced evictions: while they are fighting to keep their own homes, they are also part of a wider discursive battle for the right to housing to be recognised and respected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages12
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number1
Early online date17 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Leisure Studies on 17/04/17, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • activism
  • human rights
  • media
  • Mega-events
  • Olympics
  • Rio de Janeiro

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Human rights abuses at the Rio 2016 Olympics: activism and the media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this