Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD[1] to City Press for its article titled, “Still learning amid the mud” (14/07/19, p.6) which accessed a child in a matter that affects them.

The article written by Lubabalo Ngcukana, is about a primary school in Eastern Cape with poor facilities and infrastructure. The structure of the Lower Ntlaza Junior Primary School is reportedly made out of mud, which has high risks of collapsing.

The principal of the school is quoted speaking of the efforts made to seek help. “We are always full of envy when we see what they are doing in these new schools they are building in rural areas such as ours, where they have science and computer laboratories, flushing toilets, libraries and playing fields for children,” She says.

The journalist also spoke to a pupil at the school and not only accessed him but also highlighted the issue of quality education and lack of proper infrastructure through his eyes. Seven-year-old Ayabonga Mjali is quoted saying, “I wish my school was also like other nice schools which we see around. It is not nice to learn in a mud school because we don’t know if the classroom will collapse on us. We are scared and hope that government will do something about our school and build it to be nice as well.”

City Press adhered to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children (ACRWC)[2] Article 7 which states that “Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views should be allowed to express his or her opinions freely”. South Africa ratified the ACRWC in 2000.

By giving the child an opportunity to have their voice heard, the journalist promoted his freedom of expression which is also highlighted in MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media.[3] The Guidelines state, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

MMA is pleased that a child was accessed in an article that would normally be reported without a child’s voice. We commend Lubabalo Ngcukana and City Press for accessing the child in a manner that afforded him the opportunity to express himself. We hope to hear more children speak in such stories in future.

By Nomshado Lubisi

[1] GLADs are awarded to media for reporting on children responsibly and for accessing them