top of page
Marina Shupac_April2022.jpg

Most journalists are human rights defenders

00:00 / 32:38

A conversation with
Marina Shupac

Also available in

Laura María Calderón Cuevas

Véronique Lerch

Brua |



The guest of our sixth episode is Marina Shupac, an award-winning journalist, self-shooting documentary filmmaker and human rights practitioner from Moldova.


Since she was a child, she wanted to be a journalist but was also already taking a stand on injustice due to her family’s commitment to a more just society in Moldova. She did not perceive it at that point as human rights but more as a political fight. As she grew up in a small town, she only learned about human rights principles when she moved to the capital for her studies.


Studying human rights gave her more self-confidence to cover those issues as a young female journalist. It also gave me a practical understanding of human rights obligations of my government and gave me more instruments to put pressure on government representatives when I interviewed them. I could ask more precise questions knowing the recommendations from human rights bodies. It made my work more credible.


She is currently working for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and considers that the challenges related to human rights are multidimensional and require people with different skills, and not only lawyers. She sees journalists as human rights defenders and worked on a human rights academy for media professionals. Most journalists are already human rights defenders even though they would not identify themselves as such. I really advocate to perceive journalists as people who also shape policies and hold authorities accountable. I really advocate to include journalists in human rights circles and human rights discussions.


Another of her childhood dreams was filmmaking. She managed to fulfil this childhood dream and studied documentary filmmaking at University College London on a Chevening Scholarship. In her first documentary, she follows Khadija, the wife of an Uzbek activist imprisoned for documenting human rights violations. Through the film, she wants to transmit through the images the power of humanity of Khadija and her love story. The language of love is universal and helps people to connect to the story of Azimjan and Khadija. What makes documentaries powerful is that it helps to touch the hearts of people, and not only their minds.  

Her pieces of advice to human rights graduates wanting to combine their creative passions and more classical human rights work:

  • Keep going 😊!

  • Be pro-active! For example, Marina keeps a list of film ideas and pitch those ideas on a regular basis.

  • Know how to present yourself and your work! What is your niche and your network? 

he organisation she recommends at the end for young journalists or filmmakers interested in social issues: One World Media – Stories shape our world. It matters how they're told.


Information about her documentary ‘Last chance for justice’ about the Uzbek human rights activist Azimjan Askarov and his wife Khadija: Last Chance for Justice (@lastchanceforjustice) • Photos et vidéos Instagram


An interview in which Marina gives more tips: ‘Last Chance for Justice’ – A Chevening story for the BBC | Chevening


The book that changed the way Marina sees creativity: Big Magic from Elisabeth Gilbert because this author distinguishes between what is your passion, creative calling and your job. It was liberating for Marina to know that it is possible to keep being creative even if it is not her full-time job. 

Marina Shupac_April2022.jpg

I was never asked about my studies, but always about the ideas I have.

Marina Shupac


Award-winning journalist, self-shooting documentary filmmaker and human rights practitioner from Moldova.
She studied documentary filmmaking at University College London on a Chevening Scholarship. Through the One World Media Global Short Docs Forum 2020, her graduation project, Last Chance for Justice, was commissioned by the BBC World News. The film won the One World Media Awards in the Student and Short film categories as well as the Special Mention at the International Human Rights Film Festival One World. Previously, Marina was awarded the Senior Minority Fellowship with the UN Human Rights Office and the Sakharov Fellowship with the EU Parliament. Coming from an ethnic minority background and born in the small town of Bessarabca, Marina is passionate about stories that diminish divisions between “us” and “them” and create solidarity among people.
Alumna of GC Caucasus
Follow her on Twitter @MarinaShupac

bottom of page