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Media urged to champion child rights protection

BY: Arku Jasmine

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, illuminates the many situations in which children suffer, and more significantly, reminds the world that children also have inherent human rights that must be upheld.

Children’s basic human rights, as enshrined in the CRC are legally binding and governments that have ratified the Convention are obliged to bring their legislation, policy and practice into accordance with these standards.

The media play a vital role in promoting human rights, democracy and development. Especially in conflict situations, the media bear powerful responsibility for informing the public and raising awareness in a fair and balanced way at the national and international levels.  

But the media can also be misused to manipulate and mobilise people, to dehumanise potential victims, and to incite.

All journalists and media professionals have a duty to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards and should promote within the industry, the widest possible dissemination of information on the CRC and its implications for the exercise of independent journalism.

Media organisations should regard violation of the rights of children and issues related to children's safety, privacy, security, their education, health and social welfare and all forms of exploitation as important questions for investigations and public debate. Children have an absolute right to privacy, the only exceptions being those explicitly set out in these guidelines.

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Journalistic activity which touches on the lives and welfare of children should always be carried out with appreciation of the vulnerable situation of children and media organisations should strive to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct in reporting children's affairs.

The media should not consider and report the conditions of children only as events but continuously report the process likely to lead or leading to the occurrence of these events.

Addressing a workshop organised by the Ark Foundation Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with Plan Ghana, also an NGO, to sensitise journalists from the Eastern Region to child protection issues in Koforidua recently, the Deputy Programmes Manager of the foundation, Mr Samuel Kyei-Berko, lamented that child rights violation was common in some communities in Ghana.

He, therefore, tasked journalists in the country to give prominence to children rights protection issues in the discharge of their duties, to enable the country to deal with any abuses.

He asked the media to set the agenda for parents, stakeholders and government to tackle the violation of children’s rights.

“As media, you need to intensify children’s rights advocacy by reporting on all abuses of children and referring such cases to the appropriate agencies for redress,” he said.

Source: GNA/Ghana