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Calls for SA media houses to give children a voice in their coverage

Unicef South Africa’s Sudeshan Reddy on Wednesday said while the country had one of the best legislation and protection of children in the media in the world, he called for children to be treated as individuals with and rights.

Picture: 123rf.com

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JOHANNESBURG – The Development of Social Department has called for the media to improve their depiction of children and to safeguard their rights in dignity in their coverage.

The department on Wednesday hosted a virtual webinar following concerns around programming on children and a lack of children’s voice in the media.

Unicef South Africa’s Sudeshan Reddy said while the country had one of the best legislations and protection of children in the media in the world, he called for children to be treated as individuals with and rights.

“In general media coverage, children were either passive or they were victims, or they were voiceless. And that has definitely improved considerably.

“Some of us can recall how many years ago you would have children in the background being all interviewed, [and] you could see there was no consent given, there was very little cognisance of their dignity and their need for anonymity,” Reddy said.

Reddy said media should give children a voice in their coverage.

“Media is able to change negative behaviour [and] able to open up the minds of children, it’s able to inculcate tolerance, it’s able to show them that they’re part of something much larger [and] much wider, but that power is also enhanced when young minds themselves speak. So, we are not speaking about children, but we are actually having them speak themselves,” he said.

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