Children and the Media
MISA strives to build the capacity of the media in southern Africa to report positively, informatively and from a base of knowledge and advocacy on child rights issues.
This is particularly important in southern Africa where more than 50 percent of the population in many countries is below the age of 18, increasing the importance of the youth vote, both regionally and internationally.
MISA Lesotho has partnered with Save the Children International, United Nations international Children’s Emergency Fund and World vision Lesotho to create opportunities and safe spaces for the production of children’s media, sensitise journalists on child rights, develop codes of ethics for reporting on children’s issues and rights and promote fair, honest and accurate reporting on the experience of childhood.
Since 2009, MISA Lesotho has been running Children In The Media Project which is a platform for children to assess media reports on issues that affect children in Lesotho. Some of the findings from the project’s children’s focus group discussions determined that in Lesotho;
- The media carries/airs about two reports per month on average about children for both print and electronic media.
- Children voices are not captured in media reports.
- Children make news when they are involved in negative events or situations.
- Media does not consider the rights of children in their reports
- Media do not adhere to the ethical principles of journalism when reporting on children.
In spite of these observations, MISA Lesotho finds the media is still a strategic and critical player in promoting children’s rights and responsibilities education and plays a strong role in increasing children’s awareness and protecting such rights and responsibilities. Raising awareness so that children’s rights and responsibilities are protected are key in achieving the world that is holistically human friendly.
In this project the children are not just targets for awareness and education, but also are in forefront in the project implementation as they are the ones producing publications, video and radio programmes with stories generated from interviews by children and adults on relevant positions with other children from across the ten districts of Lesotho.
This approach is effective in that children’s rights and responsibilities are not discussed in abstract, but in context that everyone identifies and relates to, through practical life experiences. It is an approach that allows children to have more space to freely air their views in a way that will enable adults at all levels to make sound decisions that are responsive to the needs of the children.
The project is undertaken with a strong conviction that children’s rights and responsibilities are key in the development of a society conducive for the wellbeing of children.
The legal framework that this project utilises, is the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2011. together with the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child as well the AU and SADC instruments relevant to the protection of the African Children’s Rights.
The relevant institutions in the implementation of this project are UNICEF, Ministry of Social Welfare and various NGOs including World Vision International Lesotho, Child Counselling Unit and Save the Children.
Children’s Reporting Awards
Each year, MISA invites journalists in southern Africa to submit their child-focused reporting for consideration for the Media Institute for Southern Africa’s Regional Children’s Reporting Awards.