All Sides of the Story

The media plays an important role in protecting and promoting children’s rights, and in many instances, in exposing their abuse and their triumphs. The South African Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and other media, and access to information. These rights do not stand alone, however. The right to privacy, dignity, and specific rights protecting children are also constitutionally guaranteed. Satisfying the public’s right to hear stories about and affecting children, while at the same time respecting children’s rights to privacy and dignity, is a delicate and difficult balancing act. Journalists reporting on children are confronted with ethical dilemmas of an extraordinarily complex and diverse nature. This guide reflects these difficulties whilst providing journalists with a resource to deal with them.