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Child Rights Are To Be Respected While Reporting

UNICEF Deputy Representative says at children's at children's press festival

Tehran, 8 December 2009 – The dignity and rights of every child are to be respected in every circumstance, Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Iran, said at the Kanoon’s festival for children’s press.

“UNICEF has developed some principles to assist journalists as they report on issues affecting children.  They are offered as guidelines that UNICEF believes will help media to cover children in a beneficial, age-appropriate and sensitive manner.  The guidelines are meant to support the best intentions of ethical reporters: serving the public interest without compromising the rights of children,” she said.

Delivering a speech on UNICEF guidelines for ethical reporting, Ms DiGiovanni reminded the audience that reporting on children and young people has its special challenges.  In some instances the act of reporting on children places them or other children at risk of retribution or long-term stigmatization.

“In interviewing and reporting on children, special attention is to be paid to each child's right to privacy and confidentiality, to have their opinions heard, to participate in decisions affecting them and to be protected from further harm and retribution, including the potential of harm and retribution,” she said.

In her address, the UNICEF Iran Deputy Representative spoke about the best interests of each child to be protected over any other consideration, including over advocacy for children's issues and the promotion of child rights.

“When trying to determine the best interests of a child, the child's right to have their views taken into account are to be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity,” Ms Giovanni said.

Among the guidelines it was also mentioned that a story or an image which might put the child, siblings or peers at risk even when identities are changed, obscured or not used, is better not to be published.

Recalling the theme for this year’s Children’s Day “Listen to Children!” which was also taken by Kanoon as its motto for this year, she spoke about a joint programme with the Ministry of Health and Hamshahri journalism school to train young journalists from adolescent friendly centres in 6 cities. These children are peer educators in Adolescent Friendly centres and educate other children in schools, in their neighbourhood and community on health issues and especially HIV/AIDS. Journalism has given them the chance to open up and talk about their experiences and challenges.

UNICEF Iran Deputy Representative also invited television and radio broadcasters to send in their programmes for the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Prize held in November every year.

“Young people are often overlooked by the mainstream media, since most countries’ airwaves do not make much room for youth perspectives. However, there is so much about this world that young people need to learn – from politics and history to culture and ethics. Moreover, children and youth are often considered only as an audience, but they can make a tremendous contribution, too – with their views, experiences and ideas. It is important to tell these stories in a way that sparks young people’s interests and invites them to join in the conversation,” she added.

All Rights All Children! is the motto of this year’s International Children’s Day of Broadcasting. Further information about the prize could be found on UNICEF Iran web page.



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