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Media and children’s views

 

Media and children’s views

The Convention on the Rights of the Child includes provisions to guarantee “The right to freedom of expression’ (Articles 12 and 13), to ‘encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child’ (Article 17), in accordance ‘with the development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’ (Article 29).

   Voices of the children are poorly echoed in media articles, as the child is considered as a ‘rather passive source of information, without rights or power’. Positive events involving children or achievements of children are rarely presented in the mass media. Most often, the mass media focuses on topics related to sensational news, which picture children primarily as victims of different forms of violence, in conflict with law or part of different conflicts or dramatic situations. More worrying is the fact that in some cases of children in difficult situations such as victims of abuse, trafficking or conflict with the law, the child’s personal data have been disclosed. Furthermore, there have been instances when journalists assumed as true accusations against children, although they have not been proved in court. In other cases, the identity of suspects, victims or witnesses has been revealed. Consequently, a change in the editorial policies regarding children, both regarding topics and the approach, together with the full observation of professional and ethical requirements are needed.

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