Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD[1] to Parent24 and SABC News Online for their stories that interviewed children to express their views and added their voice to critical discussions around safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet the local 8-year-old YouTuber who is teaching kids about Covid-19”(Parent24, 24/04/2020) written by Siya Tsewu, is a story about a Grade 3 learner, Somelezwa Malange who has shared YouTube videos where she educates kids about the coronavirus and gives tips on how to stay safe.

The young girl is quoted from one of her videos accompanying the article saying, “Coronavirus is a virus that can travel from one person to another. It can spread through your mouth and your nose. Don’t touch your face! Unfortunately, there is no cure but we can prevent the virus from spreading from one person to another. Children, let’s support our president in fighting the virus.” The article is also accompanied by a bright picture of the child.

The second article titled, “Parents urged to ensure children adhere to lockdown rules” (SABC News Online, 11/04/2020), is about the Gauteng government appealing to parents to ensure that their children adhere to lockdown regulations. This article is accompanied by a video of young children speaking about how they keep busy during the lockdown and how the Coronavirus outbreak has affected them. One of the girls speaks about how it is difficult to stay at home all the time without seeing your friends. The video shows different children in their respective homes doing their daily activities and speaking about the impact of lockdown. 

By interviewing these children, the journalists adhered to The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC)[2] in article 7 which states, “Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by law.” South Africa ratified the ACRWC in 2000.

According to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media,[3] “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

These articles reflect on children’s views during a critical time in our country and it is vital that they are given platforms to voice their opinions.

MMA would like to commend Parent24 and SABC News Online for accessing children in their best interest and giving them an opportunity to add their voices during this crisis we are facing as a country. We hope to read more of these articles in the future.

By Nomshado Lubisi

[1] A GLAD is awarded to media for reporting about children in a positive way