Resources - Get Mad/Glad

Children’s views always matter!

21 July 2017

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) gives neither a MAD1  nor a GLAD2  to Sunday Independent and Daily Sun for their stories involving children. This is because despite both articles reporting on issues related to children, the journalists behind these stories failed to give a voice to those children thereby missing an opportunity to highlight children’s views in what could have potentially been great articles.

Kids turn up the heat in the kitchen” (Sunday Independent, 21/05/2017, p.12) reports on an annual event by the Jamie Oliver Foundation where children are taught about healthy cooking and eating. The chef who launched the initiative is quoted speaking about how he aimed to create an environment where children “stay away from sugar and junk food”. The article describes how the children had to practice the culinary skills which they are taught, however, none of them are quoted.

Daily Sun’s article titled “Smart school for Kasi kids!” (23/05/2017, p.9) reports on the opening of a new school with modern facilities in Braamfischerville, Soweto.  The school, according to the article, has smart science and computer laboratories, smart classrooms and a WiFi network. Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi is quoted in the article saying, “Children in the area will no longer travel long distances to school.” Again, none of the children who are beneficiaries of this technology were accessed for their views.

It is concerning that despite the fact that both articles report on positive developments in the lives of children, none include children’s voices. By failing to access children for their views, Sunday Independent and Daily Sun missed an opportunity to promote their right to expression and participation in the news. This goes against best practice when it comes to reporting on children including MMA’s Ethical Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media which have been endorsed by Sunday Independent’s mother body, Independent Media.

We urge both Sunday Independent and Daily Sun to continue reporting on stories about children but to ensure that they are also afforded an opportunity to express their views.

By Musa Rikhotso

1MADs refer to stories where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage
2A GLAD is an article where the rights and welfare of children have been protected