Stereotyped reporting on children dominates the Georgian media, UNICEF report says
TBILISI, Georgia - 20 February, 2009
A UNICEF commissioned research revealed that Georgian media lacks overall professional standards, which should be used by journalists and media managers while reporting on children. A research on protecting media ethics and journalistic professional standards while reporting on children called "Ethical reporting on children in Georgia - Situation Analysis" was presented at the media forum attended by leading journalists and news producers of Georgia on 20 February. The main idea of the media forum was to generate a discussion on the topic and to identify next steps on how to further enhance child-friendly reporting in Georgia.
The research "Ethical reporting on children in Georgia - Situation Analysis" was carried out in May-July, 2008 with UNICEF support in order to obtain evidence on current child-friendly reporting practices in Georgia. The study was conducted by Zviad Koridze, an independent Georgian journalist.
One of the major issues observed in the Georgian media today is the absence of an overall code of ethical norms as only a few media outlets practice their own codes but they fail to create a favorable climate. Another observation is that stereotyped reporting on children dominates the Georgian media.
"Reporting on children's issues requires specific knowledge and understanding of international standards", said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. "We have to carefully analyze each word or phrase in the way they may affect the whole life of a child and everything we say about children should go through additional scrutiny and consideration", Barberis added.
According to the study, it is a common practice to publish comments on unverified facts and news and opinions are not always clearly separated. Journalists do not always avoid generalization while talking about children. Diversification of information, comprehensive analyzes of the problem as well as addressing multiple sources of information is another key area of concern.
Sensationalism and disclosure of names and identity of children in conflict with law or those of victims of violence are common practices. Discriminatory and stereotyped reporting is observed in relation to street children.
“We do hope that the forum will help journalists to take a more responsible stand while reporting on children.” said Giovanna Barberis, “The forum may lead towards a network of child-friendly journalists or a working group for the development of a stand-alone ethical code on child-friendly reporting. UNICEF will be happy to support Georgian journalists in their efforts to further enhance the responsible coverage of children’s issues in Georgia.”
For further information, please contact:
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer, UNICEF Georgia