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General News Tue, 12 May 2009

G-MAP appeals to media to protect rights of children

Accra, May 12, GNA - The Ghana Media Advocacy Programme (G-MAP), a child-focused Non Governmental Organization (NGO), has called on the media to consider how best to protect the rights of children and help them to develop their potentials for national development. The NGO expressed worry that some media outlets were infringing upon the dignity and rights of children and called on the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), to collaborate efforts to address the problem. A statement signed by Mr Malik Abdul Jeleel, Executive Director of the NGO, cited the use of negative photographs and sensational expressions by some media outlets as practices that lowered the self-esteem of children.

It noted that media professionals were better placed to keep children's rights and their abuse on the news agenda, by examining policies and laws and checking persons expected to meet their commitments to children including the enforcement of United Nations Convention (UN) on the Rights of the Child. The statement reminded the professionals that Article 15 of GJA code of ethics states that "Journalists should protect the rights of minors and on cases of criminal and other cases secure the consent of parents or guardians before interviewing them." It said this was supported by the Oslo Challenge 1999 which enjoins journalists "to work ethically and professionally according to sound media practice and to develop and promote media codes of ethics in order to avoid sensationalism, stereotyping (including by gender) or undervaluing of children and their rights". The statement appealed to the media houses to initiate more programmes on children to enable them to contribute to issues affecting their rights and welfare.

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It commended UNICEF Ghana country office for providing capacity building platform for journalists in Ghana as a commitment to action on UNICEF's principles for ethical reporting concerning children and the protocol of the Oslo challenge. The statement advised UNICEF that as a long term measure, it should collaborate with journalism institutions in the country to include teaching of children's rights on their academic programmes to enhance its commitment. It urged all child rights NGOs to work together to ensure that the media respected the rights and dignity of children. 12 May 09

Source: GNA
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