Allow children to voice their views

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) gives a Missed Opportunity[1] to Daily Voice for an article that fails to access a child who performed very well at an annual creative writing competition in Cape Town.

The article titled, “Athlone pupil wins Western Cape Education Department essay competition” (13/02/2023) reports on a young boy child who came first during a writing competition for his story “Battling the Bully”, which reportedly had a strong message about bullying. In addition to the fact that his story was issue based, it was also chosen because of the child’s ability to produce a story with the best grammar.

Bullying in schools is a systemic problem that affects many schools across South Africa. Experts define bullying as a repeated aggressive behaviour characterised by a power imbalance and the intent to cause harm. Pupils who are bullied often feel threatened and powerless. A young boy who produces a story which can help fight bullying deserves to be interviewed and heard. The child has demonstrated his capacity to understand a challenge that children are facing at school, and which is also a social crisis.

It is very unfortunate that the journalist did not take time to interview the child after winning such a great competition. The journalist acknowledges the child’s intelligence and creativity yet at no point the child is quoted in the article.

Ignoring children’s voices  in the media is a violation of their rights outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child[2] (UNCRC) Article 13 and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children[3] (ACRWC) Article 7. Both were ratified by South Africa respectively in 1995 and 2000.

Furthermore, MMA’s 2021 media monitoring results[4] on reporting on children reveal that only 7% of children’s voices were heard between May and September 2021 in media coverage of them. Unfortunately, Daily Voice’s article perpetuates the stereotype of ignoring the children voices in the media.

MMA asks that Daily Voice always makes sure to include children’s voices when reporting on stories involving children especially when the children are achieving something outstanding and doing so does not expose the children to harm, including potential harm.

Written by Jacques Ndong

Edited by Ntombifuthi Kubeka

[1] A missed opportunity is a story in which children should have been accessed but were not.


[3] african_charter_on_rights_welfare_of_the_child.pdf