In their strive to promote efficiency and credibility within the media landscape in Sierra Leone, Initiative for Media Development (iMdev) in collaboration with UNICEF last week organized a two day workshop for journalist on ethical reporting on children’s issues outlining the responsibilities of the media to protect children.
The program was held on 15-16 September 2016 at Buxton Memorial Church Hall, Charles Street in Freetown and the workshop was attended by both Print and Electronic Journalists across
Western Area Urban and Rural.
Yeama Thompson is the Executive Director of Media Initiative and Development (iMdev) and long term practicing journalist dealing with children’s issues and an active advocate striving for media development in Sierra Leone.
Yeama informed Journalist that her organization facilitated the workshop to help improve the quality of children related reports in the local media content and to enable Journalists obtain an in-depth knowledge of victim reporting relating to children, maintaining that it is a critical issue among Journalist.
She explained “Reporting on children’s issues is different from normal reporting. The guiding principles for Journalist when reporting on children’s issue are that the best interest of the child should be protected, the dignity and rights of every child are to be protected at all times, respect the child’s right to privacy and confidentiality and Journalist should not publish/broadcast a story or image that might put the child at risk”.
The two days program was intensively educative as Journalist were provided with relevant materials and interactive sessions that helped enlighten their knowledge on how to report on children’s issues without exposing them to risk, stigmatization and neglect in society.
Yeama encouraged Journalist to focus on reporting on children’s issues and ensure they practice ethical reporting abiding to the norms of professional journalism.
The media relations officer UNICEF, Issa Davies said the training is part of UNICEF’s contribution to promote children’s issues in the country noting the media is a key factor in enhancing children’s right and protection.
Davies said his organization is working together with the Government Agencies, Ministries and Departments to ensure they provide safe environment for the development of the child and therefore urged that Journalist should be seen active in the propagation and promotion of children. He said UNICEF is planning a lot of packages to enhance and empower Journalist who are interested in promoting or reporting on children.
Journalist from different media institutions expressed their satisfaction over the training as most of them stated that they are now powered and more knowable to report on sensitive issues relating to children and how best they will ensure that children are protected in their reports.
Mariatu Kabba of Cotton Tree News and of Fourah Bay College explained to this medium that ‘as a media student at FBC I am opportune to attend this workshop as it has provided me with a vast knowledge that can help me in my studies and my future career in Journalism’
By Mariam S. Bah
Tuesday September 20, 2016, Awoko