Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) gives a Missed Opportunity to Daily Sun for an article that failed to access children in story thereby failing to empower them.
The article titled, “From jail to kota king” (Daily Sun, 14/09/2021) reports on Delisa Bhembe who celebrated his 40th birthday with children at an orphanage. It is reported in the story that one of the reasons for celebrating with the children at the orphanage was to make sure they felt loved.
Daily Sun should be commended for reporting these types of stories that ultimately ensure there is inclusion of all children in media coverage. However, Daily Sun does not access the children involved in the story despite them being in the photos with Delisa Bhembe that accompany the article. MMA believes that the children should have been interviewed about their thoughts and feelings about the event as long as doing so would not expose them to any harm, including potential harm.
By not adding the children’s voice to the story, Daily Sun contributed to children having a small voice share in media coverage of children. According to the 2020 media monitoring analysis on the coverage of children in the media done by MMA, only 7% of media stories on children have their voices in the news.
MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media advise media saying, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”
MMA encourages reporters to show initiative when reporting on children and include their voices when they are being featured in positive articles. We look forward to hearing children speak in such stories in future.
Written by Musa Rikhotso
Edited by Lister Namumba
 A missed opportunity is a story in which children should have been accessed but were not.
 http://188.8.131.52/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mma_editorial_guideline.pdf (Page 3)
The following engagement over the commentary took place between MMA and Daily Sun;
Thanks for alerting us of this missed opportunity. We will hopefully improve next time we write a story of this nature.
Reporting on children is a minefield on its own and we always try to be as cautious as possible not to harm the children.
When it comes to orphans housed at orphanages or other NGOs, it is even more difficult. We try not to exacerbate the situation of vulnerability that the children are already faced with or make them experience what is commonly known as the second trauma.
We do admit that in this case, we could have captured their voice, even without naming them.
Thank you so much for your swift response to our commentary. We will upload your response alongside the commentary on our website.
We do recognise and appreciate the difficulty in reporting on children faced by the media. This is why we are available to give tips where there is a struggle. So please, do not hesitate to get in touch with us anytime you are faced with a challenge.
I must mention that we have noticed improvement in coverage of children by Daily Sun especially where protection is involved. In fact, we will soon be sending you a GLAD of an article where a child was protected. So please, keep reporting on children ethically and where you have a challenge, reach out to us or other experts such as Centre for Child Law.
Got it, thanks.