Protect Child Rights And Dignity Journalists Told

Advocacy group, Child’s Rights International, has appealed to journalists to avoid the disclosure of children’s identities in their reportage because it violates their rights and dignity.

To ensure these rights and dignity are protected, Child’s Rights International, in collaboration with United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), yesterday launched the “Child Protection Code of Ethics for Journalists”, which is to serve as a guide to the media.

The code of ethics was launched under the theme, “Making the Worth of Children Matter through Reporting” in Accra. The Child Protection Code of Ethics for Journalists also serves as a compliment to Article 14 and 15 of the GJA code of the ethics which emphasizes the need to report child-related issues in a manner that guarantees the safety of children.

Also, it would aid the enforcement of Article 28 (1c) Children’s Act 560 Section 2, Juveniles Justice Act 63 section 2 and Child and Family Welfare Policy Guiding Principle 2.3 which also champion the course of children.

To encourage media practitioners to uphold this code of ethics, Bright Appiah, Director of Child’s Right International, said his outfit initiated award scheme for  journalists whose reports are focused on children rights and protection.

Head of the UNICEF Child Protection Programme, Johanna Eriksson Takyo, said though the advancement of children’s rights, whatever happened to them–good or bad–should be discussed, adding that  it must be done in a manner that would promote the development of the child.

With the benefit of hindsight, Ms. Takyo remarked: “when opening the papers, we often also see children’s rights further violated by the way children are portrayed, the pictures that are revealing the face and identity of the girl who has been trafficked or raped, the very detailed account of  what happened to a child  who was abused, the gory picture of a child who died because of maltreatment.”

She indicated that although the media must bring to the spotlight, issues concerning child protection, abuse and exploitation, the reportage should not expose the child to further violation. Johanna Eriksson Takyo hoped that the introduction of the Child’s Protection Code of Ethics for Journalists would be instrumental to promote good reporting ethics among journalists.

GJA President, Dr. Affail Monney, also complained bitterly about how ethical conducts were lacking in present day media operations, referring to it as “professional diseases”. He indicated that the sort of things journalists either write or said undermined the integrity of professionalism, urging media practitioners to project child-related issues with decorum.

By Bernice Bessey

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