Media Release 26 April, 2023




JOHANNESBURG, 26 April, 2023 – Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has been scrutinising media coverage of children for 20 years to ensure compliance with ethical and legal guidelines for reporting on children. By examining the media’s portrayal of children, MMA has identified areas of improvement and shortcomings, using these insights to advocate for better coverage while offering the media suggestions on how to enhance their practices.

In South Africa, previous patterns show that the media frequently disregard ethical principles while covering stories involving children. Legal frameworks around reporting on children are flouted too. This includes revealing the identities of children in situations where the children need to be protected such as when they are victims, suspects, or witnesses to abuse and crime, and violating their right to freedom of expression especially when it is in the children’s best interest to speak.

The report being launched presents findings from a monitoring activity conducted in 2022 that
looked at news items on children reported over a five-month period. A total of 13 South African print and online media were monitored for aspects such as quantity of coverage, origin of the stories, topics reported, whether children were speaking, the protection and promotion of children’s rights and the quality of information in coverage, among others. The findings have been compared to the 2021 findings to show improvement in media coverage or the lack thereof.

With these findings, MMA hopes to motivate media organisations to uphold and safeguard children’s rights in their coverage, and to assist the media in enhancing their ethical standards when reporting on issues concerning children.

Speaking about the 2022 findings and media’s coverage of children in general, MMA’s Head of Programmes, Thandi Smith says, “Although we have some really brilliant child’s rights laws and regulations, and really great guidelines in our press code, we still seem to struggle with protecting the interest of children in the media. There have been some positive findings, such as the gender
representation of boys and girls, however, the rights violations of children in the media need to be addressed, and we need our media to do better when it comes to the coverage of children.”

To read the full report, click here

For further information, please contact:

Musa Rikhotso, Media Monitoring Africa, Tel: 011 788 1278 or email:

About MMA

Media Monitoring Africa‘s vision is a responsible, quality media that enables an engaged and informed citizenry in Africa and across the world. MMA aims to promote the development of a free, fair, ethical and critical media culture in South Africa and the rest of the continent. To achieve MMA’s vision, the three key areas that MMA seeks to address through a human rights-based approach are: media ethics, media quality and media

For more information about MMA and its work for children visit
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