Children have varied experiences and views from different economic and cultural backgrounds, yet media still shy away from adding the children’s voices to coverage about them. Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) gives neither a MAD[1] nor GLAD[2] to Daily Sun for its article involving children. Besides the story giving a positive outlook about the good that people do for children, the journalist reporting this story missed an opportunity to tell a great story that could have been achieved by accessing the children involved for their views.

MUVHANGO STARS’ BIBLE DRIVE!” (Daily Sun, 28/06/2021) reports on children from Christ Centered Church, Atteridgeville in Pretoria who received bibles as a donation from a South African actress, Constance Sibiya. These children were donated bibles in order to teach them about the word of God, according to the story.

That the story reports about a donation that was made to children and goes on to include a photograph that includes children with their names in the caption, posing with their new Bibles, should have made the journalist interview the children and include their views to the story. Hearing the children’s views about the donation and how they think it will help them would have enriched the story. Further, MMA believes that the children would have loved to share their experience about how it was interacting with a famous actress.

It is disappointing that a great story that involves children is told without the children’s voices. By neglecting to access the children for their views, the journalist has violated the children’s right to Freedom of Expression that is enshrined in Article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).[3] South Africa ratified the UNCRC in 1995. Further, the journalist has missed an opportunity to empower the children by asking for their views on a matter involving them.

MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media[4] advise journalists to access children saying, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

An analysis conducted by MMA on how children were covered in the media in 2020 showed that there had been a decrease in children’s voices in the media from 10% in 2019 to 7% in 2020. We urge Daily Sun to access more children so that this percentage can go up in the next analysis.

While we appreciate the effort by the journalist to report an issue involving children, we ask that Daily Sun accesses children for their views rather than neglecting them.

Written by Yinhla Ngobeni

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1] A MAD is given to the media for irresponsible coverage on children

[2] A GLAD is given to the media for reporting on children in a responsible manner that is in the children’s best interests