Friday, July 13, 2012

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEDIA PRACTITIONERS ON REPORTING STORIES RELATING TO CHILDREN

We the media practitioners in The Gambia

Cognisant of our duty to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards in our work with and for children;

Aware of the significant role media practitioners can play in raising awareness on the rights and welfare of all children, particularly as enunciated in the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia and the Children’s Act 2005;

Mindful of the fact that the way the media portrays children can have a profound and sometimes devastating impact on children, on society’s perception and attitude towards children and how adults and others relate with or behave towards children;


Cognisant of the rights of children to appropriate information, to privacy and confidentiality, and our duty to investigate and bring to the attention of the public and the relevant authorities violations of the rights of children, especially their abuse and exploitation;

Willing to support and encourage the participation of children in media activities and programmes and to be always mindful of the vulnerable situation of children;

Concerned about the need to maintain the highest ethical conduct in our reporting- written, verbal or imagery- of issues relating to or affecting children in particular, we shall:

1.    Strive for standards of excellence in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, responsibility, balance and objectivity when reporting on issues relating to or involving children; and immediately correct inaccuracies when they occur.

2.      Always withhold the name or obscure the visual identity of any child who is a victim, perpetrator, witness and/or plaintiff in any situation. And at all times ensure that we do not write stories in a way that could lead to the identification of a child.

3.    Not publish or broadcast a story or an image which might put a child, siblings or peers at risk even when identities are changed, obscured or not used.

4.    Respect and uphold the rights and dignity of every child in any circumstance.

5.    Protect and promote the best interests of each child over any other consideration.

6.    Avoid the publication or broadcasting of journalistic materials relating to children, which are sensational or stereotypical.

7.    Give children, in accordance with their age and maturity, the right of access to the media to express their opinions without discrimination or inducement of any kind.

8.    Ensure that the information provided by a child is verified to be accurate and special care will be taken to make sure that any such verification does not put child informants at risk.

9.    Avoid the use of sexualized messages and images of children.

10.    Obtain the permission or consent of the child and his or her parent or guardian before interviewing, videotaping, taking or using the child’s photograph. Where appropriate and necessary, such consent or permission should be in writing and the child or parent or guardian should know that the story might be disseminated locally and globally.

11.    Verify the credentials of any organisation or person purporting to speak for or to represent the interest of a child.

12.    Not pay or coerce a child or parent, or guardian for providing information or material that involves a child.

13.     Reject personal inducements when reporting issues relating to children.

14.    Always make it clear if material is being published or broadcast as a result of sponsorship.
15.     Not ask a child to fabricate a story.

16.    Not publish or broadcast a story if we are not sure it is in the best interest of the child.
17.    Not stigmatise vulnerable children when reporting on child-related issues.

18.    Seek permission, when required, from the originating source before reproducing any material relating to children.

19.    Not promote harmful traditional practices when reporting on children’s issues.

20.    Protect the identity and the whereabouts of sources of our information where such individuals so require especially when it relates to children.

21.    Expose all violations of the rights of children.

Adopted by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) at the William Dixon Colley Memorial Hall, GPU secretariat, Fajara, on the 12th Day of July 2012.


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