Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD1 to The Star for the article “Treading the adoption minefield” (15/01/2014, p. 20). The article, written by Botho Molosankwe is a good example of all round journalism. It educates and informs the readers on the challenges of adoption in South Africa and provides greater depth to the issue by unpacking the causes of these challenges; all the while protecting the identities of the children involved in the story.
The article speaks of how adoption is a relatively costly process that often takes time. It points out that these reasons, among others, have had a great impact on the decline in the number of children being adopted. This decline, the article explains, has resulted in a great need for adoptive parents in South Africa.
Botho Molosankwe uses the story of Mpho, a child who was successfully put up for private adoption by her young professional black mother to highlight the many causes that lead to babies being given up for adoption. The story of Mpho is also wittingly used by Molosankwe to highlight that stories such as Mpho’s are rare as there are many black children who wait for years to be adopted.
The journalist gave both the mother and the child a pseudonym to protect the child’s identity and went an extra mile to emphasise that the “names have been changed to protect the children”. More so, to show that the newspaper is mindful of exposing children’s identities, given that adoption is a sensitive topic, the article is accompanied by a creatively captured picture of orphaned babies sleeping at an adoption home. The picture does not show any of the children’s faces.
Furthermore, a number of sources were used in the article to give a much holistic perspective of adoption in South Africa. For example, the article quoted Pam Wilson from Child Welfare who cited “cultural beliefs, bureaucratic requirements” as many reasons that have resulted in a steady drop in the number of adoptions in South Africa. It also interviewed a private social worker who assured prospective adoptive parents that they “need not fear adopting.”
The article also provided a brief outline of who is eligible to adopt in order to help and inform readers and those who might be interested in adopting a child.
MMA congratulates Botho Molosankwe on her insightful and excellent reporting and for ensuring that the identities of the children involved in the story are protected.
1.On a weekly basis, MMA highlights cases of good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, otherwise referred to as “GLADs”, as well as instances where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage, referred to as “MADs↩