Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) gives neither a MAD nor a GLAD to Daily Sun and The Citizen for their stories involving children where despite the articles reporting on positive and developmental things the children are involved in, the journalists failed to give a voice to these children. By not accessing the children in the stories, Daily Sun and The Citizen missed an opportunity to enrich the stories with the children’s perspective.
“School tourney promises to be bigger and better” (Daily Sun, 01/08/2018, p.23) reports on an annual secondary school soccer tournament held in Alexandra organised by Sibusiso Zwane, a former Jomo Cosmos soccer player. Zwane is quoted in the article saying, “Our aim is to create the role models for our youth through sports and we want a better tomorrow for them.” Despite the story being about children and their empowerment, none of them are accessed and/or quoted.
The article titled, “Catching up with maths is FUN” (Daily Sun, 02/08/2018, p.23) reports about a Non-Governmental Organisation that has stepped in to help pupils from some schools in Soweto struggling with mathematics as a subject. Accompanying the article is a photograph of children with the caption, “Pupils who attended the after-school maths extra lessons at Ikaneng Primary School in Soweto.” None of the children are accessed.
Also by Daily Sun is an article titled, “Kasi school wins prize!” (02/08/2018, p.28) which reports on a primary school, Lerole in Botshabelo kasi in Mangaung, Free State which came out second in the national school nutrition competition. Despite an accompanying photograph including a child identified in the caption as Tshepang Mofokeng, the journalist failed to give a voice to the child or any other children from the school.
“Pupils learn to look at the future” (The Citizen, 01/08/2018, p.8) reports on the opening of Rhodesfield School of Engineering by the department of Education. The school, located in Kempton Park, “will teach pupils everything about aviation and engineering”, according to Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi who is quoted in the article. Again, none of the children who are beneficiaries of this technology are accessed for their views. The story is accompanied by a photograph of pupils looking at a turboprop.
It is concerning that despite the fact that the articles report on positive developments in the lives of children, none include children’s voices. By failing to access children for their views, Daily Sun and The Citizen violated the children’s right to expression and participation. This goes against best journalism practice when it comes to reporting on children as advised by MMA’s Ethical Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media. The Guidelines urge journalists to try and include children’s views on matters that affect them when in their best interests.
We urge both Daily Sun and The Citizen to continue reporting on stories about children but to ensure that the children are afforded an opportunity to express their views.
By Musa Rikhotso
 MADs refer to stories where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage
 A GLAD is an article where the rights and welfare of children have been protected
The following was the response to the commentary from Daily Sun;
Thanks for getting in touch.
We do, at most of times, do our best to include children’s voices in our stories.
And am certain you will also attest to that.
We work under extreme deadline pressure and limited space, hence some of these comments by children are not included in our pieces.
It’s no excuse though, we will continue to work hard and sensitise our journalists to always be aware to seek comments from such key sources of such stories.