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Journalists trained to better promote children's rights

© UNICEF Mozambique/E. Machiana
About 15 journalists from Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces took part in a regional workshop in Nampula for training that will help them to better promote the rights of children in the country.

Maputo, 4 July 2007– Over 15 journalists from the northern provinces of  Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Nampula took part in a workshop held on  27- 29 June in Nampula, where they learnt how to improve use of the media to advocate children’s rights. During the event, the participants welcomed the initiative to set up a national network of child-friendly journalists.

This workshop was the first in a series of training activities organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) with the support of UNICEF and other partners with the objective of involving journalists from all the provinces in promoting children’s rights. The Human Rights League and the Nampula Provincial Directorate of Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare also collaborated in carrying out this training session in the northern region.

The training and discussion sessions were facilitated by experienced media and social welfare professionals and by specialists in human rights and children’s rights. Journalists from the written press, community radios and Radio Mozambique from the northern provinces took part.

The workshop dealt with the situation of children in the country, based on the conclusions of the report “Childhood Poverty in Mozambique: A Situation and Trends Analysis”, published by the United Nations in December 2006. During the event, participants also analysed the various national and international legal instruments for protecting the rights of children.

The interactive method used in the workshop allowed the participants to bring for debate the various real situations of the violations of children’s rights that are most common in their communities, such as child labour, depriving children of access to education, failure to register births, and the sexual abuse of girls, as well as the impact of these violations on the healthy and balanced development of children.

© UNICEF Mozambique/ E. Machiana
20 year old Beatriz is a journalist on a Lichinga community radio, in Niassa province. She believes that the network of child-friendly journalists will help journalists commit themselves further in defending the rights of children.

During the debates, the participants had the opportunity to identify the various ways in which the media can play a more active role in raising the awareness of communities, policy-makers, and those responsible for attaining children’s rights. From practical examples, and from guidelines produced by UNICEF, the participating journalists also analysed the ethical principles that should be respected when journalists cover children who are at risk.
   
“My radio programmes have focused on children and deal with questions concerning the violation of their rights, such as child labour, which is very frequent in Lichinga. I was interested in participating in this workshop to learn how journalists can help defend children’s rights”, said 20 year old Beatriz do Céu Patrício, who is a journalist on the Esperança community radio in Lichinga, capital of Niassa province.

In supporting the establishment of a network of child-friendly journalists, UNICEF aims to make the new generation of media professionals increasingly aware of the need to advocate, through quality journalistic coverage, that children should be at the centre of national development policies.

“The creation of this network is very welcome, since it will help journalists to commit themselves further in promoting the rights of children. We will have better orientation on how to report these matters and we will have more information about other parts of the country. I am ready to be involved in this initiative”, said the young journalist Beatriz. 

The network will have a data base with documents and specialist reference publications for journalists. It will organise debates and training programmes in matters concerned with children’s rights. It will provide a website with useful information for journalists and a space for publishing their articles about children. A monitoring system will also be set up with regular analysis of media content.

 

 
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