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