Two articles by The New Age “Madiba time to change jail unit” (18/07/2011, p.1) and “Gift for prison mums and their babies” (19/07/2011, p.7) share a GLAD as they were both written in the best interests of the children they reported on.
The first article “Madiba time to change jail unit” reported on the refurbishment of the mother and child unit at Durban’s Westville prison as part of Mandela Day celebrations where the general public is encouraged to do good. The second article “Gift for prison mums and their babies” was published as a follow-up article and also focused on the renovations by various individuals and stakeholders who took it upon themselves to revamp the child and mother unit into a friendlier environment for childhood development as part of the celebrations.
Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD to the articles as they clearly demonstrate how the journalist Chris Makhaye, went beyond the call of duty to protect the identities of the convicted mothers and their children.
The picture accompanying the first article showed the side profile of the mother and the child in a partially dark prison cell which gave away their silhouettes. This picture displays the considerable amount of thought and extreme care devoted to ensuring that the subjects are unidentifiable.
The second article also followed the same ethical guidelines by using pseudonyms to protect the identity of the children and their convicted mothers. It used the opportunity to highlight the unfavourable conditions surrounding children born in jail. “I have learnt my lesson. Through my actions my girl has never seen the sun and been able to play outside like other children,” one of the mothers was quoted as saying.
The picture published alongside this article also had the best interests of the child in mind. It displays a local service station owner who donated money towards renovating the mother and child section, holding a child born in the prison with the baby’s back facing the camera. The angle was seemingly deliberately used to hide the identity of the child.
MMA thus congratulates The New Age for making an effort in protecting the identity of the children in both the stories as well as making a significant contribution to the protection of children’s rights in the media.