Hi all, Please leave this short intro and work on the page below. As discussed in the lecture, there is, as yet, no guidelines in the Radiobroadcasting Code of Practice for the treatment of children. Some students expressed a desire to begin drafting such guidelines on a wiki page. I'll be watching this page with interest. Cheers, Ben.


Guidelines for the treatment of Children

Reports on the controversial issue of children have caused many sensations. Therefore, guidelines are needed for the standard of reporting. The followings are quoted from http://www.mgf.gov.mv/downloads/Children's%20Rights%20&%20Media.pdf

Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Issues Involving Children

All journalists and media professionals have a duty to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards and should promote within the industry the widest possible dissemination of information about the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and its implications for the exercise of independent journalism.
Media organisations should regard violation of the rights of children and issues related to children's safety, privacy, security, their education, health and social welfare and all forms of exploitation as important questions for investigations and public debate. Children have an absolute right to privacy, the only exceptions being those explicitly set out in these guidelines.
Journalistic activity which touches on the lives and welfare of children should always be carried out with appreciation of the vulnerable situation of children.
Journalists and media organisations shall strive to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct in reporting children's affairs and, in particular, they shall
1. strive for standards of excellence in terms of accuracy and sensitivity when reporting on issues involving children;
2. avoid programming and publication of images which intrude upon the media space of children with information which is damaging to them;
3. avoid the use of stereotypes and sensational presentation to promote journalistic material involving children;
4. consider carefully the consequences of publication of any material concerning children and shall minimise harm to children;
5. guard against visually or otherwise identifying children unless it is demonstrably in the public interest;
6. give children, where possible, the right of access to media to express their own opinions without inducement of any kind;
7. ensure independent verification of information provided by children and take special care to ensure that verification takes place without putting child informants at risk;
8. avoid the use of sexualised images of children;
9. use fair, open and straight forward methods for obtaining pictures and, where possible, obtain them with the knowledge and consent of children or a responsible adult, guardian or carer;
10. verify the credentials of any organisation purporting to speak for or to represent the interests of children;
11. not make payment to children for material involving the welfare of children or to parents or guardians of children unless it is demonstrably in the interest of the child.
Journalists should put to critical examination the reports submitted and the claims made by Governments on implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their respective countries.
Media should not consider and report the conditions of children only as events but should continuously report the process likely to lead or leading to the occurrence of these events.
(source:http://www.mgf.gov.mv/downloads/Children's%20Rights%20&%20Media.pdf)

Guidelines

Children and Media: UNICEF Guidelines and principles.

Commercial Radio Codes of Practice


While there is no explicit mention of the treatment of children in the radio standard, Clause 1.5a reads:

All program content must meet contemporary standards of decency, having regard to the likely characteristics of the audience of the licensee's service (ACMA, 2004).

This implies that, whereever a specific issue is not covered by the code, the producers must use their judgement to perceive whether a segment would be considered 'decent' for their audience.

Child Protection


Some suggestions for the protection of children when involved in the media:

- Children should be under parental guidance until the age of 18 by their parents/guardians within all associations of the media.
- Subjects that are considered for adults (such as sex, alcohol, and drugs etc.) should only be discussed when there is a genuine social benefit that may result, i.e. not for entertainment purposes. In these instances the child and parent/guardian should be forewarned and willing participants, and should be given the option of speaking under anonymity.
- In the event that the parent/guardian is not present or not seeing to their responsibility as stated above, the protection of the child should be handed over to a 'Children protection board'.
- A 'Children protection board' should be established whereby a group of adults, educated in children rights and protection, should assume responsibility in the absence of the parent/guardian.
- Psychological support is given to the children involved before, during and after a media-related release to guide them through the public reactions towards the media attention personally linked to them.


References


Australian Communications and Media Authority (2004), Commercial Radio Codes of Practice & Guidelines