UNICEF tasks media on proper reportage of children

By The Nigerian Voice
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged the media to always report issues concerning children in accordance with ethical guidelines and principles so as to safeguard and secure their future.

UNICEF Communication Officer, Blessing Ejiofor said this today at a 2-day media workshop on Ethical Reporting on Children organised by UNICEF, held in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Ejiofor noted that if the media continue to report the children without following the ethical guidelines and principles, such children would be at risk of retribution consequently.

According to her, "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 stigmatization."

"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. The guidelines are meant to support the best intentions of ethical reporter in serving the public interest without compromising the rights of children", she added.

The Director of School of Communication and Information Technology, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ogun State, Dr Goke Rauf while presenting a paper urged the journalists to adhere strictly to the ethics of journalism profession, particularly in reporting issues that concerned the children.

He urged the journalists to equip themselves with child right act and other relevant laws so as to guide against portraying the children in a way that could subject them to embarrassment, ridicule and stigmatization.

According to him, “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.”

“Also, Nigerian mass media should brace up to their responsibilities and reclaim their pride of place credible platform by doing all things possible to reserve the trend where some lazy traditional media now rely on social media as source of news items”, he said

Journalists drawn from both print and broadcast media attended the workshop which was aimed at intimating the journalists with some developed guidelines and principles that would assist them in covering and reporting children in the best and most appropriate way.