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Media and the Children’s Rights Campaign

How media practitioners can effectively contribute to the promotion of Children’s Rights

Seminararbeit 2009 16 Seiten

Politik - Internationale Politik - Thema: Frieden und Konflikte, Sicherheit



1.0 Introduction

2.0 The Media and Children‘s Rights
2.0.1 The Media as a Children’s Rights campaigner
2.0.2 The Media as a Children’s Rights violator

3.0 The Media in transition to promote the Rights of Children
3.0.1 Training Media practitioners
3.0.2 Impact on the Masses

4.0 Sample Project: A Deutsche Welle (DW) Children’s Radio Partnership Project

5.0 Bibliography

1.0 Introduction

A free press is a basic instrument for the promotion of democracy and development. The Media can make a spectacular impact in generating change in all spheres of human life. On the other hand, it can also act as a perpetrator leading to instability and the spread of hatred. A balanced and fair reporting can ensure that the freedom of the press is not misused to violate human rights. Children’s rights are especially more sensitive as the children cannot decide on their own on matters affecting them. In most cases their rights are violated, especially when they are portrayed as helpless victims. It is therefore important that both the masses and media practitioners are aware of the rights of children so that both can play a significant role in promoting them.

„The media, especially newspaper, radio and television, are powerful tools in raising awareness and could make good partners in an advocacy campaigns to promote children’s rights. Children make for interesting and appealing stories, and the media is usually sympathetic to their needs„ (CRC: 2009).

In this paper, an analysis will be made of the media in general and its roles especially in the promotion of children’s rights. Media here refers to old media i.e. both print and electronic, because the codes of conduct for different media are similar in most cases. Here, the dual role of the media will be analyzed briefly, i.e. the media as a promoter of children’s rights on the one hand and on the other, how the media violates children’s rights. Children here, imply a person under the age of 18 years and shall include all spheres of children’s lives, from those living with their families, to the street children and also those recruited as child soldiers in war zones. The change that can be made through training media practitioners on children’s rights is the focus of this paper. It is upon the realisation that children’s rights are violated by mass media and the masses can in turn only be educated by informed media practitioners that this paper is based i.e. the training of media practitioners on children’s rights and how they can utilize their careers to impact positively on the society. This is an analytical paper in which the problem as well as some suggestions for possible children’s rights training will be discussed. Evidently, some instances of children’s rights violations by media practitioners are done unintentionally and therefore the problem should be easier to eradicate through awareness campaign and training.

2.0 The Media and Children‘s Rights

In order to educate the public, first there is a need for the promotion of children rights education amongst media practitioners. This is because, without basic knowledge of human rights, media practitioners will not effectively be able to educate the masses on the issue. They will continue to infringe on the rights of children and in many instances, lack to give the emphasis required to important issues affecting them.

The promotion of children’s rights became vibrant in the 19th century having started as a movement to protect children from long hours of labour force and its corresponding health defects which later turned into an organised campaign. „The League of Nations of 1924 and the successive United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, declared that children need safeguard and protections separate from those of adults and that these protections should begin even after birth“ (Poe: 2009).

The convection on the rights of the child is the „first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights i.e. civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights“ (UNICEF: 2008). The convection is as a result of a consensus in 1989 by world leaders based on the recognition that people under the age of 18 needed special care and protection.

„It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family cultural and social life. The four co-principles of the convection are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. “

(UNICEF: 2008).

Governments, which agree to ratify the convection, accept the obligation to protecting and ensuring children’s rights are respected. They act as caretakers of children’s rights and hold themselves accountable for that commitment before the international community. It is the most endorsed human rights treaty in the world, with the exception of only two countries (cp. UNICEF: 2008). It is however a fallacy to assume that the mere existence of children protection laws is enough to ensure that children co-exists without any form of violations on their rights. Of absolute importance is the diffusion of positive social values and other children’s rights which depends on the commitments of the society towards children’s issues (cp. Nwanko and Okwemba: 2002). Mass media practitioners can use the mass media to enlighten the public about issues involving children by incorporating and acknowledging children’s rights into their working practises. This will help fill the loopholes left behind by law enforcing agents and help create more awareness on the matter.

2.0.1 The Media as a Children’s Rights campaigner

“Press Freedom is a cornerstone of human rights. It holds governments responsible for their acts and serves a warning to all that impunity is an illusion.” Kofi Annan, UN secretary general international herald tribunal, June 2,1999

A free mass media, has a duty of fairly informing, educating and entertaining its masses. Adherance to journalistic ethical standards is the foundation stone for the contribution to development by the media because it ephasizes on responsibility in journalistic practises. The promotion of children’s rights can effectively be improved when media practitioners acknowledge children’s rights in their daily working practises. This is because the media is a powerful instrument that can effectively be utilized for the right course hence impacting positively on the society. It can promote the interests of the child through massive campaigns intended to reach targeted audiences. An accurate coverage of issues affecting children’s daily lives can be done through news and feature items and reporting of children’s rights violations based on journalistic codes of conduct. Important is also the creation of social and legal environment for the constant care of the best interests of the child, support to the individuals and associations acting towards the affirmation of the environment suitable to development of the child based on the principle of the UN convection on the rights of the child and support for individuals and organisations promoting children’s rights. Children cannot make decisions on their own and it is therefore a requirement that media practitioners „use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects“

(Pulliam: 1996-2009).



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
509 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
Media Children’s Rights Campaign




Titel: Media and the Children’s Rights Campaign