Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) wishes to award News24 a GLAD[1] for its article titled, “Grade 10 pupil who killed classmate, then himself, had been showing grandfather’s gun to friends” (14/01/2022). The GLAD is awarded because the journalist protects the identity of a child involved.

The article which is written by journalist, Ntwaagae Seleka, reports on an incident that happened in Daveyton, Gauteng. It reports that two grade 10 pupils both aged 16 years were playing with a firearm belonging to the grandfather of one of them when the gun went off, hitting fatally the other child behind his ear. A third pupil, whose identity has been withheld, is reported to have run off, and thereafter the shooter, in a state of panic, turned the gun on himself. Both the deceased children are identified.

Given that this is a tragic story involving children, the journalist ethically reported on the matter, taking care to protect the identity of the third pupil who is involved. The journalist further mentioned, to the benefit of the reader, that the child’s identity has been withheld in efforts to minimize harm. The addition of the reason why the child’s identity is withheld further qualifies the article by Seleka for a GLAD.

This ethical practice of protecting the identity of children when necessary and reporting in their best interest is in line with MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media.[2] The Guidelines state that “always hide a child’s identity where the child might be at risk” and further note, “When interviewing children, respect their privacy and confidentiality and make sure you protect them from harm and potential consequences”.

Identifying the child would have exposed them to potential harm such as victimisation or retribution.

MMA commends News24 and its journalist, Ntwaagae Seleka for ethical reporting on children. We encourage them to continue reporting ethically and in the best interests of children.

Written by Azola Dayile

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1] A GLAD refers to an article where the rights and welfare of children have been promoted and protected.