February 1, 2008

ARTICLES / REPORTING ON CHILDREN / GUIDELINES: NEDA cites role of media in creating child-sensitive environment (PHILIPPINES)

NEDA cites role of media in creating child-sensitive environment

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (31 January) -- Some journalists still use judgemental words such as "drunk", "epileptic", "fugitive", "escapees", "rugby addicts," etc. to describe children.

In fact, just this week, a local newspaper came out with a story of a woman, still considered a child because of her mental condition, who died due to bee stings.

The writer spelled out the name of the victim (who was alleged to be "sexually abused" when swamped by the bees) and those of her mother and abuser, plus a description of where it happened.

What the writer has done only corroborates the findings of a study done by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on the Philippine media's adherence to the guidelines in covering cases about children, that the confidentiality of the victim's name and other information had been breached.

"Per guidelines promulgated by the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) in 1999, the media should adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards in reporting and covering cases involving children," Regional Director Myra V. Balandra of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), region 10, said.


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