Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) neither gives a MAD[1] nor GLAD[2] to Daily Sun for the story that reports about children who received computers at a primary school in Tshwane. This is because while the journalist did not grossly violate ethical frameworks around reporting on children, they also did not report the story in an exceptional manner to be awarded a GLAD. Rather, the journalist failed to give a voice to the children thereby missing an opportunity to highlight the children’s views, which would greatly have contributed to making the story an outstanding one.

The article titled, “Kasi kids get computer lab” (Daily Sun, 31/07/2021) reports on a primary school in Atteridgeville in Tshwane that received a donation of 20 computers with WiFi connection from the Tshwane municipality. According to the article, the school was previously identified as one that needed a technological upgrade. A bright photograph showing pupils using the computers accompanies the article.

It is unfortunate that only adults are interviewed in the article even though the computers were donated to the school for the pupils. Daily Sun therefore failed to promote the children’s rights to expression and participation in the news. By excluding the children’s voices, the journalist has violated the children’s right to Freedom of Expression that is enshrined in Article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).[3] South Africa ratified the UNCRC in 1995. Furthermore, the journalist has missed an opportunity to empower the children by asking for their views on a matter involving them. MMA is of the view that the article would have had more weight if the voices of the children had been included.

MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media[4] advise journalists to access children saying, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

The 2020 media monitoring results show that only 7% of stories on children had children’s voices,[5] indicating that most coverage of children, whether positive or otherwise, is done without children’s voices.

MMA urges Daily Sun to continue reporting on stories about children but to ensure that the children are also afforded an opportunity to express their views when in those children’s best interest.

Written by Msizi Mzolo

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1] MADs refer to stories where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage

[2] A GLAD is awarded for an article where the rights and welfare of children have been protected