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Child Abuse and the Media

Friday, August 9, 2013

The media has an important role to play in shaping public knowledge, attitudes and creating awareness. The media should assist government in child abuse preventive education and community building. As such the media should be used to provide balanced and worthwhile information on:

o Child abuse and neglect.
o Sexual exploitation
o Life skills
o Parenting skills
o The needs and positive development of children

Instead of reporting negatively about abused children the media should play a watchdog role or function to ensure constructive and well balanced reporting on children's issues. The media should avoid negative education at all costs such as publicizing materials that is damaging to children and their family. Moreover the media should not foster the impression that violence and indiscriminate sexual activity are normal.

The media should continuously provide vital information on the available services for abused and children to create awareness among community members.

Children should also have an opportunity to play a role in the media because children learn better and grasp information more quickly from each other. Children have the right to speak out on matters that affect them. Their opinions must be heard and respected.

The media should facilitate a process where children can openly speak about matters that are important to them and to the people around them. As such, grownups should ask them what they think and listen to what they have to say instead of shutting them up.

It is important for children to be given the opportunity to be heard where their future is discussed. This is to ensure that they meaningfully participate in matters that affect their rights and well-being.

The media should denounce negative cultural and religious practices that are detrimental to the well-being of children such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages.

On the basis of the foregoing statements, no person shall publish the name and address of any child brought before a children's court or the name or address of any school which that child is or has been attending, or any photograph of that child, or any matter likely to lead to the identification of that child.

Any person who contravenes any provision of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction thereof.

 

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