Childrens' Villages, an organisation that builds families for children who have
lost parental care and those at risk of losing parental care, recently held an
advocacy seminar for journalists where they were trained on ethical reporting
on children and other issues.
During the two-day training, discussions were made on ways of partnering in championing the rights of children and how to report and respond to issues relating to or involving children.
SOS is the world’s largest non-governmental organisation and have been operating in The Gambia since 1982. It operates in 136 countries with work anchored in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN guidelines for the alternative care of children.
National director Mariatou Sallah said the organisation speaks out on the rights of children at global, regional and national levels, saying that their advocacy work is designed to change legislation, improve family welfare systems, reporting and responding to child protection cases. “However, there are still children at risk. They are exposed to abuse, exploitation, violence, neglect and discrimination.”
Mrs. Sallah said the media is one of the most valuable tools that can help promote the rights of children and ensure their protection from abuse and other forms of discrimination. “It is important for media professionals to not only expose the plight of children or the violations of their rights, but also to ensure that news reports or stories do not aggravate the situation of children or put them in any state of danger.”
Acting deputy national director, Youssuf Ali Bidjowe delivered a presentation on the SOS care promise that guides the work of the organisation in which he elaborated on the principles and values of SOS.
He said the principles are the child, parent, family and the community and the values include courage, commitment, trust and accountability. “The organisation however is focused on giving alternative care, family strengthening, advocacy and partnership for quality care.”
Lamin Fatty, national coordinator of Child Protection Alliance (CPA) spoke on the rights of children, ethical reporting and the role the media plays in advocating for the rights of vulnerable children.
He emphasized that the best interest of the child should be protected at all cost and that it is the responsibility of the state to protect, fulfill, respect and facilitate the rights of children.
He appealed top journalists to always remember ethical reporting when dealing with stories involving children in order to protect their privacy and dignity because of their vulnerability.