IOL gets it spot-on in positive portrayal and voices of children.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)’s “Still invisible and still not heard” is a 2021 analysis of how children were covered in the media. This analysis reveals that children received very little coverage (only 10% of all coverage) in general and specifically their voices were ignored with only 7% of all stories about children[1] directly or indirectly quoting them.

It is important that the media reflect positively on children who achieve wonderful results in any endeavour that they embark on, whether academic, cultural, sports, or even when they are building their communities. It is critical that we hear the children themselves as well as those who support them and cheer them on. In this case IOL deserve a GLAD[2] for the positive reporting of these youngsters and giving them a voice.  

 MMA would like to celebrate the efforts made by Independent Online (IOL) for not continuing the above-mentioned trend. In its article titled, “Durban High School duo sidestep their way into provincial selection” (17/03/2023), written by Ntuthuko Mlondo, IOL reports on two boys from KwaZulu-Natal who have been selected to play for the province’s Under-14 touch rugby team and will be playing at an interprovincial tournament in March, 2023.

What is remarkable about the article is that the two boys get a chance to talk about their excitement and hopes of doing well and winning medals at the upcoming tournament. The two boys have obviously worked hard to attain their spots in the team and their hard work and inspired performance is well reflected in the story not only through the words of their coach but also through their own words.

For example, one of the Boys, Mawande, had this to say about his preparation; “I have been training to the best of my ability for this tournament, and I am trying to go with the right mindset.” The other boy, Ewan, expressed his confidence and self-belief when he said; “I expect us to achieve gold, and I am looking forward to gathering experience,”.

By including the children voices, the journalist adhered to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media.[3] The Guidelines urge media to access children stating, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

We urge IOL to continue reporting children’s issues in this manner and we look forward to reading more stories that report on children and involve them on issues that affect them.

Written By George Kalu

Edited by Ntombi Kubeka


[2] A GLAD is awarded when a journalist reports on children in a manner that promotes and protects the children’s wellbeing, reflecting their views fairly and with dignity, protecting their privacy when needed and portraying them positively.

[3] See p.3

Comments from media

“Hi there Ntombi, 

I’m sorry I missed this. 

Yes, I am very pleased by this honour, and I want to reiterate IOL’s vision to ensure that the most vulnerable among us has a voice and a platform to share their views, opinions, hopes and dreams. We are fully committed to building South Africa’s most inclusive news and information platform, and our reportage on children is especially important, given the crises we face in terms of violence against women and children, and the apparent lack of opportunities for our young people. 

In this vein, we are committed to writing uplifitng, inspiring and useful stories about our young people and children, while also highlighting the challenges they face on a daily basis. We need to look after the future of this country, and thus it behoves us to provide as much coverage in our media about children, their challenges and successes. 

Have a great week further,