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Media and partners together against child trafficking, violence, abuse and exploitation

© UNICEF/MOZA-01896/T.Delvigne-Jean
Children from a primary school in Xai-Xai, province of Gaza.

Maputo 14 June 2007- Editors, journalists, government officials and civil society partners met this week to discuss the role that the media can play in fighting child trafficking, violence, abuse and exploitation in Mozambique. The workshop was held as part of the celebrations of the Day of the African Child. 

One of the aims of the workshop was to provide Mozambican journalists with information on children’s vulnerability to trafficking, violence, abuse and exploitation. The participants discussed the various causes of violence as well as the places and circumstances where it happens. 

The workshop provided an opportunity to raise the awareness of editors and journalists on the situation in Mozambique, particularly regarding sexual harassment and abuse of girls in schools.

Findings of two studies on sexual violence and abuse of girls in schools in Mozambique were presented at the workshop. The studies were conducted in 2005 by ActionAid International and Save the Children, CARE International, Ministry of Education and Culture, Rede CAME e Foundation for Community Development (FDC), respectively.

Journalists also had the opportunity to learn in detail about the current campaign against sexual abuse of girls in schools, led by ActionAid International in collaboration with other partners.

An ample debate ensued around the role of the media in the fight against child trafficking, violence, abuse and exploitation and the ethical principles that should be considered in covering these issues. The debate was based on an analysis conducted by UNICEF in Mozambique on press coverage during the first half of 2007.
According to the analysis, despite the seriousness of the situation in the country, issues of violence against children and their implications receive very little press coverage, and in-depth articles on the causes, manifestations and impact of violence on children are very few.

© UNICEF Mozambique/E. Machiana
Journalists from several Mozambican media attended the workshop and committed themselves to play an active role in the fight against child trafficking, violence, abuse and exploitation. Maputo, 11 June 2007.

The analysis also points out that the gender aspect in child violence and abuse is not considered in most articles, and that ethical principles for protecting the identity of the children affected are not always respected.

In relation to the role of media, the participants in the workshop concluded that:

  • The social responsibility of journalists should be promoted in fighting child trafficking, violence, abuse and exploitation, and the media and partners should work together.
  • Journalists should play an active role in the communities, reporting on cases of child trafficking, violence, exploitation and abuse; how to prevent it and the means available to respond to it.
  • Training should be provided for journalists on how to report on specific child rights-related issues.
  • The media should also be a channel for children to speak for themselves, respecting ethical principles for protecting their identities, as appropriate.

The workshop was co-hosted by UNICEF, FDC and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), in partnership with Save the Children and ActionAid International.

On the occasion, UNICEF announced that it is working with MISA to establish a network of child-friendly journalists in Mozambique. MISA also informed the participants that it is developing a database for the media, with reference documents and contacts of experts in issues related to children’s rights in the country.



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