Friday, October 15, 2010

Journalists Equipped on Child Rights, Protection…

Posted by Modou S. Joof on March 12, 2010 at 10:12pm
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) Journalists drawn from the Print and Electronic Media have concluded two-day training on Child Rights, Child Protection and Responsible Media Reporting and Coverage of Children Issues.

The media has been recognised as a critical and crucial stakeholder in the lives of children and in the promotion and protection of their rights. “It has the ability also to influence decisions and actions that
are taken or made on behalf of children,” the leading child rights campaigners, the Child Protection Alliance said.

It is based on this backdrop that the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) organised a two-day training programme at the NaNA Conference Hall in Kanifing, funded by End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT-INTL).

The training was aimed at increasing media practitioners’ involvement in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC); to promote balance, non-stereotypical portrayal of children in the
media; and to increase the participation of children in the development of
media programmes.

Presenting on Child Rights, the Programme Officer CPA, Bakary Badjie noted that journalists are champions of human rights. They act as the eyes, ears and voices of the public, drawing attention to abuses of power
and human rights, often at considerable risk.

Badjie argued that journalists, photographers and programme-makers frequently exposes the plight of children caught up in circumstances beyond their control, abused or exploited by adults.

However, he stressed that it is equally important to consider the children’s angle in more conventional news coverage. “A good way of testing the value of changes in the law or fiscal policy is to consider the
extent to which children will benefit or suffer as a consequence,” he said.

“The way in which the media represents or even ignores children can influence decisions taken on their behalf and how society regards them,” Badjie quoted UNICEF’s Media and Children’s Rights Report as saying.

The report according to him also has it that the media often depicts children merely as silent victims’ or charming ‘innocents’. According to him, providing children and young people with the opportunities to speak for themselves – about their hopes
and fears, their achievements and the impact of adult behaviour in their lives
– media professionals can remind the public that children deserve to be
respected as individual human beings.

On Child Sexual Abuse, the National Coordinator CPA, Njundu Drammeh said child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical, emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or commercial or other
exploitation resulting in actual or potential harm to a child’s health,
survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility,
trust or power.

“Child sexual abuse (CSA) is the involvement of a child in a sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, unable to give informed consent to or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and
cannot give consent,” the CPA Coordinator said in a rather more flexible

Drammeh also outlined the potential profile of a child sexual abuser as thus; in truth, the person who sexually abuses a child is usually close to the child such as a friend, parent, neighbour or relative;
usually extremely gentle and caring to the child; often one who has frequent
accesses to the child among other things.

He also pointed out that some of the impacts of sexual abuse on children include physical injury, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, death and unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion. VOL:2

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