The Films and Publication Board, together with the Department of Home Affairs, have launched an internet-based hotline to report on incidences of child pornography. While this news has reached several newspapers 1, Daily Sun’s article “Anti-child pornography website launched” (01/07/08, p. 14) by Zanele Mazibuko merits a Glad nomination. This is primarily because the article provides additional information which can be used to protect children from sexual abuse.
According to research by the Media Monitoring Project (MMP), children and the issues they are concerned with are underrepresented in news items 2. It is significant, therefore, that Daily Sun has given attention to this website which tries to tackle one of the challenges children face.
The article describes some of the dangers that use of emails and cell phones can pose to children, such as exposure to paedophiles and pornography. Comments by the Home Affairs Deputy Minister are included. The article explains why the website was launched and what creators of the website want to achieve, namely to curb the spread of child pornography. It explains how members of the public can make use of the website to report any possible paedophile activity or sexual images discovered on the internet or through mobile phones.
What is distinctive about Daily Sun’s article, compared to other coverage looked at, is that it provides the details for the website and hotline, so that members of the public can access these easily. It also accesses tips, direct from the website, which can be used both by parents to protect their children, and by children to protect themselves, from exposure to sexual imagery and abuse.
MMP hopes to see more coverage of this kind which protects the rights of children.
1. For example, Sowetan (03/07/08), The Star (07/07/08) and The Citizen (02/07/08).
2. Daya, B., Vreenegoor, B., Bird, W. & Harries, G. 2004. “Children: Dying to Make the News”. Media Monitoring Project: Johannesburg.