15 February 2011
Mass-media and child's rights
The round table „Mass-media and child's rights” unfolded by the Association of Independent Press on Friday (11 February 2011) in Chisinau hosted journalists, mass-media editors and experts who discussed the mirroring of child's image in press. The event served as a final step in the project for monitoring child's rights observance in mass-media, implemented by API with the financial support of UNICEF Office from Moldova.
During the round table, the participants presented the results of monitoring of the way in which children appear as protagonists of news and articles in newspapers, in the newsflows of news agencies and on information portals/websites. The conclusions of the monitoring team were drawn after six months (July – December 2010), time in which16 mass-media institutions, including 12 newspapers/magazines, 2 news agencies and 2 websites/portals, were monitored. As well, API examined the covering of cases of violence and abuse against children on several TV channels, and presented several thematic case studies by observing journalistic deontology.
The final monitoring report concludes that the main deontological errors in mirroring subjects about children are the disclosing of details likely to divulge the identity of children-suspects, victims or witnesses; infringing the principle of “two source” compulsoriness in case of news based on press releases or crime-based syntheses provided by the Ministry of Domestic Affairs, General Prosecutor's Office and information from the Emergency Hospital; focusing on subjects-tragedies/drama and sensational covering of cases when children became victims of physical and sexual violence, children who are in conflict with the law or are part of dramas, sufferings, conflicts.
The attendants together with the experts in the field of child's rights identified several solutions for a more professional and responsible media covering of subjects on children. Thus, mass-media institutions were recommended to re-evaluate their editorial policies, approaching cases of children in extreme situations in a more precarious and delicate way, in order to avoid causing other sufferings or exposing children to new risks. Experts recommended giving up the sensational and narrow approaching of subjects in favor of a more deep analysis of the case, complexity of phenomenon and reasons which have led to the respective situation. Mass-media editors were requested to reject the publication of subjects inconsistent with professional and ethical rigors, namely regarding the protection of child's identity, as well as the data which can expose the child publicly. The participants at the round table jointly agreed upon the need for a specialized training of journalists on the observance of child's rights in mass-media. As well, the need for joint discussions with professionals was highlighted, which would generate modalities ensuring the operative information on cases about children, without violating their rights. Proposals were made to amend the Broadcasting Code, by including the ban on using the image of child-victim. The participants at the discussions suggested that a new Annex to Journalist's Deontology Code should be drafted, including detailed deontology norms as regards the covering of subjects about children.
The event was attended by Alexandra Yuster, UNICEF Representative in Moldova, and Corina Fusu, Deputy Chairwoman of the Parliamentary committee for culture, education, research, youth, sports and mass-media, who also delivered speeches on the topic.
Final Monitoring Report (english) July - December 2010