It is a known fact that minority rights are easily violated, more especially those of children. That’s why it remains very important that media’s reporting of children’s stories is done with special care, without discrimination and with ethical consideration of children’s rights. Sunday World and Daily Sun receive a GLAD from Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) for ensuring this.
Case in point is the article titled “Mother fights to get her baby back” (Sunday World, 26/02/2017, p.4) where a mother and child are unfortunately involved in the traumatic case of a baby-swop over and above the mother’s erroneous diagnosis with HIV and Aids prior to the child’s birth. While the chilling truth of this story permits shock and awe because of its topical nature, it can also easily fall prey to media houses’ sensationalist and commercialist interests. This was not the case in this story as the journalist, Ngwako Malatji took deliberate measures to ensure that the child’s identity is protected even going as further as stipulating within the article that the woman cannot be named “to protect the identity of the child”. Additionally, the child’s mother’s face is blocked while her child faces the opposite direction of the photographer’s camera gaze in the accompanying photograph.
Similarly, “Boozing kids fury!” (Daily Sun, 28/02/2017, p.3) by Everson Luhanga, pays attention to detail in the story about children who were shown drinking beer in Mzansi Magic’s popular lifestyle programme, Our Perfect Wedding. Daily Sun does a good job blocking the image to hide the faces of the children in the photograph that accompanies the article. Interesting to note also is the angle of the article which brings in expert views from a doctor as well as a director at the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
A parent who is not a mother to any of the children in the story is also quoted saying, “We know that children drink at functions and parties in the township, but putting it on TV makes it look as if it is acceptable.”
Sunday World and Daily Sun are commended for their comprehensive reporting but more importantly, for recognising the importance of withholding the identities of the children involved thereby protecting them from potential harm which could easily affect their development and growth.
We urge both media to continue reporting on children in this manner as their issues need to be highlighted and identities protected where applicable. We also urge other media to emulate Sunday World’s and Daily Sun’s efforts.
By Motshabi Hoaeane
 A GLAD is MMA’s way of highlighting good practices by the media when reporting on children, which protect and promote children’s rights, and represent them in a positive and ethical way.