New Report on Media Coverage of Children’s and Women’s Issues Launched
Georgetown, Guyana, September 21, 2010 - A new report on media coverage of issues relating to women and children was recently launched by the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security (MLHSS) in collaboration with UNICEF as part of a strategic plan to improve the media’s role in advocacy of children’s and women’s issues in Guyana.
The report which reflects current trends is based on data gathered during the period 2008-2009 and was prepared by Dr. Paloma Mohamed, Director of Communication Studies of the University of Guyana with technical support from UNICEF and the Documentation Center, MLHSS.
In presenting the main findings of the report, titled “Media Trends- Covering Women and Children’s Issues in Guyana,” Dr Mohamed noted that there was an increase in positive stories on children, detailing successes, achievements, sport and other activities. It was also noted that stories pertaining to children and women only accounted for 2.9 % of all stories in the media during the two year period. However, coverage of children in 2009 saw a 25.3% increase in the total number of stories.
Further she mentioned that the media has erred in sensationalising the pain of victims, while displaying lapses in their ability to follow up coverage on positive developments, such as the capture of a suspect in a fatal domestic violence case.
Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, UNICEF Representative to Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to support the recommendations of the Report which include: the establishment of a Media Code of Conduct and capacity building to ensure coverage of issues pertaining to children and women is in accordance with internationally recognized guidelines such a UNICEF’s guidelines for ethical reporting on children, the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Declaration. He emphasized the important role of the media in advocating for the protection of Children’s rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). He noted that ‘children have a voice and many great ideas, but the bottom line must be the manner in which those ideas are translated into the mainstream media for consumption by society.’
Dr. Braimoh highlighted that UNICEF is committed to facilitating a participatory approach toward the process “We do not intend, as agencies of government or the United Nations, to impose criteria under which the media should work, but we intend to facilitate the context in which the media will examine their own challenges and focus much more on women and children’s issues.’
As part of the participatory process, members of the media fraternity also benefitted from a one day training workshop aimed at providing information on improving the media coverage of sensitive issues pertaining to children and women and a forum for feedback on the establishment of a national media awards scheme.
He added that UNICEF is looking forward to working with the Guyana Press Association (GPA) and all relevant stakeholders in achieving these goals.
The UNICEF Representative also took the opportunity to formally announce the setting up of the UNICEF Media Awards and engage partnership with members of the media fraternity in the finalisation of a framework for the award scheme.
For more information
Leslyn Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Guyana, Tel. 623 7056; 592 226 7083; 227 3662; 225 9993
Tamar Hahn, email@example.com, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel. +(507) 301 7485
UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.