e-tv prime-time news (30/09/2013) aired a story about the Social Development Department spending on child welfare services not being standardised across different provinces. Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards the journalist, Latashia Naidoo and the station a GLAD1 for highlighting an important issue on government spending on vulnerable children and protecting their identities while doing so.

The issue covered in the bulletin was interesting as it focused attention on vulnerable children and how the vast disparities in spending on child welfare by the different provinces affect them. The reporter explained that over one million orphans and vulnerable children in different provinces depend on child welfare and gave statistics on average spending per child in each province.

The coverage is very educative and ponders on reasons why there isn’t a standard budget in child welfare spending, with KZN having the least amount budgeted per child and Northern Cape having the most money spent on them by their provincial Social Development Department. A commissioner was interviewed and gave reasons for such disparities. A matter of different prioritisation was cited as one of the reasons for the unequal provision of child welfare services in provinces.

Throughout the bulletin, visuals of children in places of safety and those in need of social welfare services were shown. The visuals were done in such a way as to protect the children’s identities. For example, the visuals were shot from various angles, such as from the back or the side. In some instances their faces were blurred or pixelated. This is a good practice because MMA always encourages the media to protect the identities of vulnerable children.

More so, the issue of child welfare is given prominent placement in the news bulletin because it appears as the fourth item. This further demonstrates that this is an important issue that warrants coverage and decisive action from duty-bearers.

e-tv and Latashia Naidoo deserve a thumbs-up for observing children’s rights to privacy and dignity and for mainstreaming an important issue that affects their welfare.

1. On a weekly basis, MMA highlights cases of good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, otherwise referred to as “GLADs”, as well as instances where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage, referred to as “MADs”.