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From Wednesday 18th to Friday 20th November, 2015 the OECS Commission in Collaboration with USAID, OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project, UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Area, CBU and UNDP held a media workshop at the Halcyon Rex Cove in Antigua where journalist from the Caribbean region received training in Responsible Coverage of Children issues.
Guidelines were given on how to interview children in criminal situations so as not to create any greater risk of harm and stigmatization. The Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment was represented by media practitioner Mr. Marius.
The OECS was represented by media practitioner Mr. Raymond O’Keiffe and OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Representative Mrs. Lyndel Archibald.
Lyndel Archibald Representative for the OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project provided feedback on the training Workshop “Coming out of the first Juvenile Justice meeting we recognize that there was a need for policy to guide the media in terms of reporting on child issues and so CBU has been engaged to develop a policy document. The meeting today is to get feedback and to develop the framework for a tangible document that the media can work with.”
In accordance with the Convention of the Right of the Child, journalists were taught how to protect the identity of children on such issues as Child Sexual Abuse, Child Discrimination, Social Media Exploitation and Neglect.
The Communication Specialist for UNICEF Patrick Knight noted the importance of the workshop. “The Convention of the Rights of a Child which was signed 25 years ago points out the role of the media in the promotion and development of children rights so when (CBU) Caribbean Broadcasting Union approached us with this idea we thought this was great. The media can also work as advocates to protect children’s rights.”
Media Practitioners were also issued strategies to follow when interviewing a child. Some of these include: Did the child agree to the photograph or recording? Did you obtain consent? Did the images and sound bites use to illustrate your story appear too sexual? Is the information factual or accurate?
Reporter for Antigua Ms. Elisa Graham emphasized the need for journalist to follow these guidelines so that change can occurs. “Most of us are just thinking about getting the story but now we realize it is about child’s rights. We learnt skills that would assist us as media practitioners in reporting on children issues. We should also report on the positive issues and try to develop the child and all of that so definitely the workshop is very helpful.”
Media Practitioners welcome the opportunity to support the Caribbean Media Workers and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union to produce this guide for journalist and broadcasters.