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Media and Children's Rights


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The PressWise Trust

Contact details

Mike Jempson, Director
The PressWise Trust
38 Easton Business Centre
Felix Road
Bristol BS5 0HE, UK
Tel: +44 117 941 5889
Fax: +44 117 941 5848
Email: pw@presswise.org.uk
Website: www.presswise.org.uk

Project partners

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 source.


Working journalists and UNICEF communications officers.

Target audience

Media professionals and journalism trainers.

Wider beneficiaries

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.

Lessons learned

Encourage dialogue at all stages, and if there are conflicting opinions make sure everyone agrees on the ground rules before seeking resolution.

Good ideas

Start from what the target audience wants and needs and work towards meeting them.


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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