Media Monitoring Africa


What is MADOAT and why does it exist?

MADOAT is an online media advocacy tool that highlights the best and worst examples of media reporting on children in the media. It helps to push for increased accountability among editors and journalists when it comes to reporting on children’s issues. At the same time, it creates an online opportunity for children to rate the articles and comment on them, thereby also interacting with media.

We achieve this by

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) does this through writing commentaries about stories that violate or promote children’s rights. On a weekly basis, staff members nominate stories about children from newspaper, television or online media that;

  1. represent good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, referred to as “GLADs”
  2. represent bad practice, where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage, referred to as “MADs”
  3. would have made great stories had all elements of ethical reporting and/or best journalism practice been adhered to, referred to as “Missed opportunities” or
  4. have a picture of children or headline that does not correspond to the actual story and vice versa, referred to as “Decorations”

At least two stories are selected and commentaries written from the list of nominated stories. MMA has a group of trained child media monitors who contribute to the commentary with their views after monitoring the stories. When this is done and before it is uploaded online, the commentary is sent to the journalist and editor to solicit their feedback and sometimes action. The feedback is uploaded alongside the commentary online.

The aims of the Children & Media Project

  • • To give meaning to the children’s right to participation.
  • • To ensure that children’s voices are heard in the media.
  • • To provide the children with human rights based knowledge and understanding of the media.
  • • To give the children critical media literacy skills.
  • • To ensure that the children’s monitoring forms a core component of the other aspect of the ECM project and is presented to journalists and media.
  • • To empower children.
To have a look at what has been written, click any of the following;

“Through MADOAT, MMA is able to champion children’s rights in the media and most importantly promote child participation,” says MADOAT & Social Media Project Coordinator, Lister Namumba-Rikhotso.


Other than campaigning for children’s rights in the media and promoting child participation, the Editorial guidelines and Principles on Reporting on Children in the Media developed by MMA with input from children, journalists and African Editors Forum are also promoted through MADOAT.

Trends in news stories

The MADOAT project has seen two trends since it began in 2007:

  • MADs – The indirect and sometimes direct identification of children who are suspects or witnesses in criminal cases or are victims of abuse continues.
  • GLADs – There is a steady increase in the number of children’s voices included in stories to do with them.

A pupil from Troyeville Primary speaks to a journalist at The Star via MAD OAT:
Child monitor: Do you write negative stories because they are there or because it sells newspapers?
Journalist: Both negative and positive stories are reported on but negative stories draw people’s attention and we can highlight the human element of it.