Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Journalists Trained On Reporting Child Issues

Journalists for Human Right (JHR) will today end three days of training for over fifty journalists from both the electronic and print media on reporting child issues. The training is held at the Ramsey House, Liverpool Street and sponsored by the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

According to the Country Director of JHR, Yeama Thompson, the training was organized to sensitize journalists on how to report on children's issues in the country. She noted that reporting on children and young people carries added dimensions and restrictions especially in the identification of children at risk of retribution and stigmatization, adding that reporters must not err on the side of caution and the right of the child to protect them from harms.

She said that in interviewing and reporting on children, special attention should be paid to each child's right to privacy and confidentiality and to participate in decisions affecting them.

Thompson further stated that journalists must avoid questions or comments that are judgmental or sensitive to cultural values that place a child in danger or expose a child to humiliation.

Senior Media Trainer for JHR, Ewoku Andrew, said in reporting child issues like early child marriage, the reporter must not conduct any interview with the child unless after seeking consent from the child's guardian or parent.

He added that millions of young people around the world are exploited in different ways and that before a reporter writes any story concerning a child, he or she must have studied the Child Rights Act.

"Children are forced to work in factories, in backrooms, on the street as sex traders and they can also be sold as slaves or even drafted to fight in wars," he said and showered praises on journalists who are promoting children's rights and other well to do human rights organizations.

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