The positive portrayal and accessing of children in mainstream media is a trend that deserves encouragement and applause. It is for this reason that Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) this week awards a GLAD[1] to the Sunday Times newspaper for publishing an article where a child was both accessed and positively portrayed.  

The article headlined “Young coding aces still in short pants” (Sunday Times, 23/02/2020 p. 8) reports on how grade 6 pupil at Greenside Primary School Ihsaan Ahmed is proud of having created his very own webpage after learning coding skills and robotics at school. 

It details how “the 11-year-old and his peers at Greenside Primary School in Johannesburg are having ‘loads of fun’ since they began learning about coding and robotics last year.” This comes after the school together with a handful of other public schools began offering the subject prior to its official introduction across the country by the basic education department. It goes on to report that beginning in April, there will be 189 public schools that will teach coding and robotics as part of a pilot programme for pupils from grade R to grade 3. 

In the article, written by Prega Govender, the journalist does the due diligence and accesses Ihsaan, quoting him as saying, “coding makes us use our imagination to create a world that you have never seen before.”

As such, the journalist and her publication are to be commended for not only publishing a story that highlights the child’s skills and capabilities in a world that is rapidly moving towards the digital, but also for having accessed the child in question and giving him voice to speak. 

This sort of journalistic practice is promoted and encouraged by MMA’s Guidelines for Reporting on and Interviewing Children where it states “children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”[2]  This is what journalist Prega Govender did in the article in question. 

It is for these reasons then that MMA lauds Sunday Times and its journalist, Prega Govender, for championing ethical journalistic practice and principles. We further appeal to the publication to continue with this considerate and responsible reporting on children and look forward to reading more encouraging articles like this one. 

By Azola Dayile

[1] A GLAD is awarded to an article that reports about children in a positive way