Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is pleased to award Newzroom Afrika a GLAD[1] for a story whose clip the media outlet shared on its Twitter page on the 15th of May, 2021 in which a child was accessed for his views.

The story is about a 12-year-old boy from Gauteng who has just been placed in a school after a long time of struggling. The mother shares her joy in the clip and says that she is elated that her son will finally start his 2021 academic year even though it is a term later. The child, Saadat Matshobeni has been struggling to be placed in a school since the start of the year after his family moved to Gemiston.

Often times in media coverage of children, the views of children are overlooked compared to those of adults. This was revealed in a monitoring exercise conducted by MMA in 2020 where children only spoke in 7% of stories about them meaning that adults spoke on behalf of the children.[2] The journalist, Malungelo booi,gave both Saadat and his mother opportunity to speak. By reporting on this story, the journalist highlighted the challenges that children face in accessing education. This story is most definitely in the best interest of the child because it empowers him with an opportunity and a platform to add his voice to an issue that is affecting many children in South Africa.

The clip reveals that the first time the story was reported, it got the attention of the Gauteng department of education who assisted with Saadat’s placement. For this, we commend the journalist and Newzroom Afrika for showing interest in issues affecting children and reporting them because this is one of the surest ways such issues will attract the attention of policy makers and duty bearers.

“I am feeling good. I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” says a beaming Saadat when asked how he is feeling.

Giving the child an opportunity to speak in the story is in line with MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media[3]  which state, ”Children have the right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try to include them.”

Watching the video, one can see how comfortable the journalist made the child feel, allowing him to speak comfortably. MMA always encourages journalists to do this when seeking views from children.

We hope that other media will be inspired to report on children in this manner. Well done, Neszroom Afrika!

By Bantse Pelle

[1] A GLAD is given to the media for reporting on children in a positive manner and for promoting their rights to speech and participation in media coverage




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