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Media and Children's Rights
The PressWise Trust
Mike Jempson, Director
The PressWise Trust
38 Easton Business Centre
Bristol BS5 0HE, UK
Tel: +44 117 941 5889
Fax: +44 117 941 5848
UNICEF (Central & Eastern
Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States and Baltic States).
1998-1999: Research in Bristol,UK; training in Bulgaria and Slovakia.
PressWise was commissioned by UNICEF to devise a practical handbook
on children's rights for media professionals, following projects
in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists
on: child exploitation and the media; reporting on child labour;
an international survey of journalism codes of conduct; and the
production of draft guidelines for reporting on children.
Aims and objectives
To produce a handy, practical guide to help media professionals
appreciate the rights of children and the value of the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as a story
Working journalists and UNICEF communications officers.
Media professionals and journalism trainers.
The public (especially children, young people and their carers)
and policy makers.
Involvement of children
Summary of project
A review of literature about children's rights was conducted, and
three journalists with experience in all forms of media produced
a succinct, pocket-sized booklet which grouped the Articles that
make up the UNCRC into story
themes, with challenging questions for media professionals to suggest
story ideas and encourage them to review their products. The draft
booklet was then used as the basis for training sessions with journalists
and UNICEF communications
officers in Bulgaria and Slovakia, and revised accordingly.
Strengths of project
The starting point was the needs of media professionals rather
than the preferences of child rights experts, creating a compact
finished product which has meaning for journalists who are looking
for 'the story' instead of exhorting media professionals to become
advocates for the UNCRC.
Those primarily concerned with promoting and protecting children's
rights find it difficult to appreciate the very different role of
journalists. Seeking to blend their different expectations revealed
the need for more contact and dialogue between the different disciplines
so that they can find genuine partnerships without compromising
the autonomy of either group.
The booklet has proved popular with journalists and child rights
workers and has been translated into many different languages. It
will take time to discover the extent to which it has an impact
on coverage in the countries where it is in use.
Encourage dialogue at all stages, and if there are conflicting
opinions make sure everyone agrees on the ground rules before seeking
Start from what the target audience wants and needs and work towards
The booklet is available for anyone to reproduce, and provides
a starting point for local projects, where it can be translated
and adapted for local use as a training instrument.
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