By Chioma Obinna
The United NationsChildren Fund, UNICEF,has urged media practitioners to protect the rights of children through ethical based reportage and in accordance with best global practices.
Speaking during a two-day media workshop on ethical reporting on children in Ibadan, Oyo State, UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, said unethical reportage about children could expose the children to more harm.
“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.
Ejiofor said guidelines are meant to support the best intentions of ethical reporter in serving the public interest without compromising the rights of children.
In his presentation – “Equity Focused Child Rights Reporting and Understanding the Role of the Media in Reporting Rights Issue”, UNICEF Media Consultant, Dr. Goke Rauf, who is also Director, School of Communication and Information Technology, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ogun State, urged the media to adhere strictly to the ethics of journalism particularly in reporting issues that concern children.
“Practising ethical journalism should ensure that the immediate and long-term well-being of children is not jeopardised and maintaining ethical standards is the responsibility of every journalist”
He said the media should strike a balance between protecting a child from harm and respecting their right to know.
He urged journalists to be equipped with the Child Rights Act and other relevant laws so as to guide against portraying children in a way that could subject them to embarrassment, ridicule and stigmatization.
“In reporting, the truth, journalists should be guided by other values which include national security, public interest, privacy of others, freedom of others and more importantly, the child’s right especially when the matter affect the children.”