Unicef Tasks Journalists On Child Rights Abuses
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has urged journalists to place children’s well-being at the centre of child right abuses’ reportage in accordance with best global practices.
The UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, made the call on Wednesday in Ibadan at the opening of a two-day media workshop on ethical reporting on children. Ejiofor revealed that reportage given to incidents of child rights abuses in the country, if not in accordance with ethical journalism, often end up doing more harm than good.
“We all know that reporting on children and young people has its special challenges. In some instances, the act of reporting on children places them or other children at risk of retribution or stigmatisation. “Hence, the aim of this workshop is to share with journalists some developed guidelines and principles that would assist them cover children in an age appropriate and sensitive manner,’’ she said.
Ejiofor said the workshop was also to familiarize participants with the equity focused child right-based approaches to reporting the child and to share experiences on best practices worldwide.
UNICEF Media Consultant, Dr Goke Rauf, who took the participants through a course in ethical journalism, said that the potential impacts of the news on the child and society at large must be considered.
“Practicing ethical journalism should ensure that the immediate and long-term well-being of children is not jeopardised. “Maintaining ethical standards is the responsibility of every journalist,” he said. Rauf, who is also the Director of Communication Studies, Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology, Abeokuta, said the media should strike a balance between protecting a child from harm and respecting their right to know.
“Media has a way of mixing fantasy with the truth and children are likely to believe every information that they are exposed to, So we need to be careful,” he said.