Today was day 2 of a 3 day workshop for journalists on children's rights reporting. The workshop is being held by UNICEF and focuses mainly on children's issues in the media.
Some of the topics covered over the past 2 days included how to handle sensitive stories about children, and making the stories interesting without damaging children.
The workshop was held at the Black Orchid Resort in Boom and we found out more from Country Representative Christine Norton:
Christine Norton, UNICEF Country Representative
"Many people have express some concerns about the way in which children are portrayed particular when they are very sensitive issues and so the workshop purpose is merely to have a chance to dialogue with the media to give them an opportunity to network with each other and also and in particular to look at guidelines and ethical standards and how do we go about doing a news worthy story but at the same time respecting children's rights. We won't be able to set the standards there but we are certainly discussing with media what would be respected standards at an international level so that we could try to influence some level of change."
"Right now this session is discussing guidelines and some of what is being discussed and I think its a great opportunity - we have some 45 representative of the media here and they are putting on the table issues that they confront every day when a story is being told or there is an incident for instance of child abuse or some other sensitive issue - a child gets killed - how do you report, whether you show the child's face or whether you don't do that. How can you still tell the story but yet still respect the child. Of course everything is set against a background that's recognizing the convention of the rights of a child and the fact that children have a right to privacy, confidentiality and these sensitive issues put everything online and so it's about trying to strike a balance. The discussions on guidelines are really a discussion about what makes sense at an international level and what is approved or cleared or enforced at an international level and then trying to see what should happen here in Belize."
"It's an interesting discussion because I think some journalist seem to feel that well we don't have a clear set of guidelines to follow. At this moment they are discussing in fact what should a good set of guidelines look like. What should we consider and what should we talk about even beyond sensitive issues. When we want to tell a story of a child can we tell just negative stories or should we be telling also positive stories although many times young people too and others working in the field of children's rights often feel that the stories are skewed in one particular direction, perhaps there is always a negative story but never a story of a child empowered, never a story of a child when they are doing positive stories, inspiring stories and so I think one of the ideas here in the workshop is to try to think through how can we tell a broader picture even as we try to make it newsworthy."
45 members of the media from all over the country attended the workshops.