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Montenegrin journalists discuss about ethical reporting on children and minorities

BUDVA, 26-27 October 2013 - With UNICEF’s support, the NGO 35mm organized a two day training on ethical reporting on children in Budva for journalism students and journalists from Montenegrin media. During the first day, the participants discussed the best ways to report about minorities, while the second day focused on different challenges posed by investigative journalism. The trainers and lecturers were well-known national, regional and international experts in the field of journalism and human rights.

UNICEF Regional Chief of Communication John Budd had a session with the participants about ethical reporting on child rights and in particular, about the dilemmas that editors and journalists face in terms of publishing a child’s photo, identity and other information when reporting on a particular child right through the child’s story.

“When you’re looking at balancing between explaining what a story is and doing it through a child, please, make sure the child is protected. It’s the most important thing. The best interest of that child is the most important thing, because you don’t know, we don’t know if we report it, it might actually badly affect that child,” John Budd, UNICEF CEE/CIS Regional Chief of Communication pointed out.

UNICEF CEE/CIS Regional Chief of Communication John Budd during the training on ethical reporting on children - UNICEF Montenegro / 2013

The participants enjoyed the vivid discussion about child’s right to privacy and protection and the need to report about the situation in order to improve the child’s life. As Đurđica Ćorić, daily Pobjeda journalist explained “all participants, students and journalists who already have significant experience in reporting about marginalized groups, will leave this seminar with additional knowledge about how to properly report on these things in future.”

In particular, ethical reporting about Roma and Egyptian children in Montenegro was in the focus of the discussion. Participants agreed that proper media reporting has the potential to place their issues in the centre of the public agenda and thus, encourage the relevant authorities to take urgent actions to improve their lives. However, the need to always protect the child was emphasized, as otherwise, the reporting can negatively affect the child’s life.

According to Budd, “many times minorities’ rights are violated in every single way. So, it is very important that journalists do cover and do report on what is happening in minority communities, but they must insure that the reporting that they undertake is free from discrimination.” He also pointed out that a child has all sorts of rights including the right to protection and privacy. “So, it’s absolutely essential that reporters do consider that and insure that a child is protected from being doubly discriminated against: first, their rights might be violated through discrimination, but if you report them in the wrong way, their rights are violated again.”

One of the journalism students who attended the training Rajko Vučetić thinks that media representation of Roma and Egyptians will change as a result. “In future, the Roma and Egyptian population will be represented in a different light compared to how they were portrayed so far. This seminar is excellent for students and during these 2 days we have learnt a lot about reporting in a different way, which will be of great use to us in future.”

During the 2 day training, UNICEF guidelines that help media to cover children in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner were distributed to the participants in order to support the best intentions of ethical reporters: serving the public interest without compromising the rights of children.

Download the resource "Principles for ethical reporting on children" (in PDF format)



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