OCA Hosts Workshop for Media Practitioners

Photo: JIS Photographer Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison

Story Highlights

  • Several media practitioners participated in a sensitisation workshop hosted by the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) on Monday, April 30 at the The Courtleigh in Kingston.
  • Facilitator, Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, told participants that the objective of the workshop is to have a fulsome discussion in terms of what is happening to children in the media landscape and the need to exchange ideas and have conversations.
  • Mrs. Gordon Harrison said that the OCA has been surveying the media landscape to look at stories that are published every day, noting that every story that impacts children is tracked.

Several media practitioners participated in a sensitisation workshop hosted by the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) on Monday, April 30 at the The Courtleigh in Kingston.

Facilitator, Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, told participants that the objective of the workshop is to have a fulsome discussion in terms of what is happening to children in the media landscape and the need to exchange ideas and have conversations.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison said that the OCA has been surveying the media landscape to look at stories that are published every day, noting that every story that impacts children is tracked.

“We have noticed that there have been an increased number of news stories that refer to children; we are also seeing some less-than-child-sensitive headlines, and we have seen some reported practices that demonstrate the need for conversation about media sensitivity,” she said.

The Children’s Advocate cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adding that the principles enunciated in the convention are common-sense principles, which speak to the rights of people.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison said the convention has brought to the fore the recognition that children are people in their own right. She appealed to those in attendance that when they make reports, whether in print, footage or audio, they should be child sensitive.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison noted that because children have a right to access information, they are consuming material issued by the media in various forms; therefore, the media must ensure that appropriate information is shared with children. She argued that any information that can expose or even hint at the child’s identity is inappropriate.

“The risk of stigmatisation is real, because when a child attracts a particular label, sometimes it can follow him or her into adulthood,” she explained. Mrs. Gordon Harrison also cited Article 16 on the Rights of the Child where it mentions that it is important that media themselves do not abuse children. The integrity of the child should be protected in reporting cases, for example, involvement in criminal activities, sexual abuse and family issues.

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