TimesLIVE empowers Children amidst tragic circumstances.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is excited to award a GLAD[1] to TimesLIVE for their efforts to give a voice to children in sensitive and complex situations. All too often, children are excluded from discussions that directly impact their lives. TimesLIVE coverage demonstrates a commitment to highlighting the perspectives of children, which is a positive step toward fostering a more inclusive and understanding society.

14-year-old KZN girl arrested for alleged murder of her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend expresses remorse” (29/05/2023) written by Belinda Pheto tells the story of a young girl who has been arrested for allegedly being involved in the murder of her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. The incident occurred in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The 14-year-old girl expressed remorse for her alleged actions. “Since committing this crime, my life has not been the same,” said the girl. By sharing the perspective of a young person involved in a tragic incident, the article highlights the importance of providing opportunities for children to contribute to the narrative surrounding their actions and experiences. Furthermore, the emphasis on the reconciliation and reintegration process for incarcerated children is crucial. It brings attention to the significance of offering support and resources to help children rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society after such challenging circumstances.

By accessing these children, Belinda Pheto adhered to The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) in article 7[2] which states that, “Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by law,” South Africa ratified the ACRWC in 2000. Furthermore, by promoting children’s views in this sensitive and complex story she adhered to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media[3] which states, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

MMA would like to commend TimesLIVE and reporter, Belinda Pheto for their inclusion of children’s voices and emphasis on the reconciliation and reintegration process for incarcerated children. By amplifying the remorseful expressions of the 14-year-old girl and shedding light on the importance of support systems, the article brings attention to critical issues. However, the lack of mention regarding counselling and the setting of the discussion leaves unanswered questions. Going forward, it is vital for journalists to provide transparent and well-rounded reporting, ensuring that readers are fully informed about the support structures in place and the circumstances surrounding children’s expressions in sensitive cases.

Without this information, readers are left wondering about the environment in which the conversation occurred. Was it conducted in a formal counselling session, a legal setting, or a controlled and supportive environment?

We hope to read more of these articles empowering children and creating a platform for their voices to be heard in the future.

Written by Nomshado Nkosinkulu

Edited by Ntombifuthi Kubeka

[1] GLADs are awarded to media for reporting on children positively and accessing them.

[2] https://www.un.org/en/africa/osaa/pdf/au/afr_charter_rights_welfare_child_africa_1990.pdf

[3] https://mma-ecm.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mma_editorial_guideline.pdf