Saturday Star’s articles “Ernie’s boys shine at annual golf tournament” and “Primary school soccer in new discovery” (15/08/09, p. 19) are ones to get mad about. While the sports related articles are about children, they do not access children themselves.

In “Primary school soccer in new discovery” (15/08/09, p. 19), the chairman of Johannesburg Primary Schools soccer is accessed, but the children are not. If the children were accessed, they would have been able to say how they felt about the sport and how it has made a difference in their lives. This would not only add value and interest to the story, but would also protect and promote children’s rights to express their opinions.

Significantly, another article by the same reporter, which appears on the same page, “Versveld twins rising stars of golf”, sponsored by Momentum, pictures and accesses the boys who are the subject of the article. The article gives good background on how the twins started playing golf, and how they feel about their coach, golf and the tournament in general. This is an example of an excellent story about children where children are named, pictured and given the opportunity to speak for themselves.

Media Monitoring Africa commends Saturday Star for featuring children’s stories and publishing their photographs. However, wherever possible, such stories should include the views and experiences of children.

Children have a right to express their opinion and have that opinion taken into account in matters affecting them, and the right to freedom of expression1. This places responsibilities on all members of society, including the media, to respect and facilitate these rights.

Too often, children’s views and opinions are disregarded by the media, even where stories are about them. Media Monitoring Africa hopes to hear more children’s voices in Saturday Star and to see more articles like “Versveld twins rising stars of golf”.


1See Articles 12 and 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which South Africa is a signatory to.