The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana director, Phenyo Butale, says children are reporting and the voices of the children in Botswana are still low in the media coverage.
Butale said this when he addressed local journalists on Friday at a MISA children’s workshop, held in collaboration with the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI).
Butale said the children are the most vulnerable part of the society and therefore their issues should be taken into consideration. He said issues such as HIV AIDS, poverty and conflict vulnerability are major burning issues. Butale stated that there is need for promoting advocacy with the aim to empower children and their identity.
“A lot of children experience stigma and discrimination, deaths of parents and deprivation,” said Butale.
According to MISA Namibia specialist, Reagan Malumo, psychosocial support, intervention and psychosocial wellbeing of children have not been taken care of. He cited a couple of different local stories published which violated children’s rights.
He said it is important to understand children’s needs and also to respect children’s feelings when reporting. He stated that seeking consent from guardians before interviewing of children is a key element.
“Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance,” said Malumo.
Malumo stated that the media should be friendly to children so that children should be able to open up and cooperate. He added that the regional ethical guideline on child reporting should be one of best tools to use. He also said children’s voices need to be heard but not to be discriminated against. He stated that the local newspapers should do more about reporting on children and he urged the broadcast media to produce child friendly radio and television programmes.
“We should all become children’s rights advocates and the impact of children portrayal in the media should be positive,” said Malumo.
MISA Botswana officer Caroline Phiri-Lubwika echoed Butale’s words, urging the local journalists to increase coverage of reporting on children. She also urged the media to interact with children often. She said children are of great value as they are the future of the nation.┬á
Lubwika said that both boys and girls should be treated equally.
She criticized unfairly used photographs of children and students.
“Wrong and unbalanced children’s stories can lead to trauma and stigma,” said Lubwika. ┬á┬á┬á