Media practitioners across the region were recently involved in formulating guidelines to better handle issues that affect children.
From the 18th to the 20th of November, journalists, programmers and other media agents from Barbados, as well as Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean State (OECS), got together and formulated guidelines to protect the rights of children in the media, whether they are the perpetrators of crimes, or the victims.
The two-day workshop, a collaborative effort between The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, and the Association of Caribbean Media Practitioners (ACM) was held in Antigua and Barbuda.
Sonia Gill, Secretary General of the CBU, said the media sector has to ensure it contributes to the well being of children.
She stated that the CBU plans to work with all stakeholders to make sure that there are no blame games played.
Gill said that she expects the responsible coverage of children in the media to become routine across the region. She said that she would like society to know that the media are supporting and promoting the interests of children.
Gill added that her organisation will be introducing a category on the responsible coverage of issues related to children, for this year’s annual broadcast awards which will take place in Havana Cuba in October of 2016.
Patrick Knight, Communications Specialist at UNICEF with responsibility for the Eastern Caribbean area, said UNICEF got involved in the project because of the important role media plays in the development and protection of child rights.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) signed over 25 years ago, speaks to the role the media plays in protecting the rights of children.