Highlighting the remarkable achievements of children in the media holds significant importance. By showcasing their extraordinary talents, resilience, and positive contributions, we not only celebrate their accomplishments but also inspire and uplift others. Weekend Argus missed an opportunity[1] by not extensively accessing children.

In an article titled, “Seven-year-old shines in lead role in short film”(19/02/2024), reports Marley Valentine (7), who caught the attention of film-makers after her lead role in a short film titled Death Angel where she worked alongside actresses Chavonne Matthys and Angelica Jeremias. The article focuses on covering her talent and how she impressed Style Community Arts projects and Film with her energy and talent. However, Marley was only accessed once, she was quoted saying, “I can’t wait to walk the red carpet one day.” The rest of the article focused on Marley Valentine’s mom, speaking on behalf of her.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) believes that when an article revolves around children or places them at its core, thorough interviews with the children should be conducted to capture their perspectives. However, this should only occur when it is clearly in the best interest of the children to express their views. The emphasis is on ensuring that such engagements prioritise the well-being and welfare of the children involved, recognising the importance of responsible and ethical reporting that respects the rights and interests of the young individuals.

It’s essential to recognise that South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).[2] Article 12 of the Convention emphasises that “a child capable of forming their own opinions has the right to express those opinions in all matters affecting them, and to have their views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity”. The article provides different pictures of Marley in her element, yet the journalist missed the chance to thoroughly engage with her, neglecting to allow her to share her experience with the readers.

MMA urges Weekend Argus to continue covering stories concerning children, their achievements, and their obstacles. However, it’s equally important to ensure that children are provided with the chance to voice their perspectives, emotions, and encounters, of course only when it is in the children’s best interest to do so.

Written by Ntombifuthi Kubeka