Bullying is a major issue in schools. The vice can be physical, verbal, or emotional and is usually repeated over a period of time. This usually impacts the victim negatively and could lead to a person growing up having lack of confidence etc or worse they could become a victim of suicide. For failing to unpack the issue and access the children as sources in an article about homosexuality and bullying, Daily Sun gets a Missed Opportunity[1] from Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).

The story titled, “Teacher removed from Tiro’s school” (04/09/2022) reports about a teacher who allegedly discriminated against a learner because of the learner’s sexual orientation in the presence of other classmates. It is alleged that the learner killed himself after experiencing this discrimination. The teacher, according to the article has since been relieved of her duties at the school and an investigator has been appointed to probe the matter.

In the article, the journalist only accesses the Gauteng education department spokesperson and the boy’s aunt. The voices of the learners at the school are neglected. Here, children should have been accessed to share their experiences at schools in relation to bullying or discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. This would have been an opportunity not only for the journalist to delve deeper into an issue affecting children to an extent of them taking their own lives but also to have children share their views on an issue affecting them.

The failure to include children’s voices goes against best journalism practice when it comes to reporting on children. MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media  advise journalists stating, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

The journalist failed to unpack the issue of homosexuality in schools. There was also a failure to include self-help information in the article that would have helped victims or would-be victims of bullying or discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. MMA urges media to always include self-help information to articles about children reporting abuse.

We encourage Daily Sun to continue reporting on children and to find ways to include their voices when it is in the children’s best interest.

Written by Msizi Mzolo

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1]A missed opportunity is a story in which children were not accessed when they could have been