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Oct 5, 2012

UNICEF trains media on child sensitive reporting

The merits of the Council and the ethics of the driver license suspension will surely be discussed in all outlets of the media. But fairness and a healthy balance is always a concern when presenting similar issues. And that is why three consultants from the UK are in Belize to promote international standards in reporting on issues involving children. Organized by UNICEF, the workshop is providing training to media personnel on how to maintain ethical standards in telling sensitive and taboo stories that involve the rights of children while preserving the message to an adult audience.  News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The United Nations Children’s Fund is a major advocate for children’s rights and the media is a primary outlet to disseminate information to the public. That is why they are hosting a workshop, sensitizing media representatives on reporting issues involving minors and to promote children’s rights.


Christine Norton

Christine Norton, Country Representative, UNICEF

“As you know, UNICEF has a collaboration with the government of Belize to promote children’s rights and to ensure that their rights are fulfilled. Part of that, of course is trying to see how we can support the government in building capacity of institutions. Of course, media is one of the institutions and in our view, an extremely important institution. For UNICEF, I would say the media is an important partner in trying to advance children’s rights.”


The training is being facilitated by three representatives from the UK based organization MediaTrain.


Oliver Wates, Representative, MediaTrain

“Media Train is a company which specializes in training both journalists and people in organizations like UNICEF how to talk to journalists, how to get their messages across in an effective way. in this particular workshop, our function is, if you like, to act as a bridge between the human rights lobbyists, the human rights campaigners like UNICEF and the government and other organizations which work for children’s rights and the media, the journalists.”


Christine Norton

“The three consultants that we have here are really skilled people who have been working with BBC and the Reuters, they have worked with UNICEF in other parts of the world, they have many years of experience in various circumstances. They, therefore, are in a great position to talk about international standards in media, international standards that work in the context of children’s rights. And from what I have seen, I think people are appreciating their knowledge and skills. They are going to be helping people with writing skills, how to tell a story effectively, how to shape a story and how to do so respecting ethical standards and some of the child’s rights issues.”



Oliver Wates

UNICEF Country representative, Christine Norton says there are numerous issues to cover in three days; including ethical guidelines and the use of social media.


Christine Norton

“Today’s workshop really is looking at children in media and as you know there’s been a lot of voicing of concern about images of children in media and the way in which the media interacts with children. So this is one aspect, trying to dialogue a little bit about that and to share some thoughts and views and to look at some of the ethical guidelines and value systems basically in Belize that try to shape that discussion. The other one is to give the media themselves a chance to interact with each other because generally, I suppose one media house may be seen as competing with another and not really having the time for dialogue and thinking through together the challenges that  media houses face in Belize.”


According to Norton, while UNICEF has a role to support government in protecting children’s rights, it in turn needs the support of the media. The idea of a media association was among many coming out of the workshop; all with an aim is have to child-friendly television programming and news reporting.


Christine Norton

“Trying to figure how do we ensure that media programming is of an ethical nature, respecting children’s individuality and privacy, confidentiality in challenging and sensitive issues, but yet still trying to tell the story and tell the story and tell the story completely; sometimes we get a very biased story that influences attitudes in the country, it influences the way in which people perceive children and really shifting, we want the young people particularly who work in the media to understand that children are subjects of rights, not objects of rights.”


Oliver Wates

“Because of our history and we’re all former international correspondents ourselves, we’re able to if you like, to see both sides of the question, the difficulties of being a journalist, how to present a story like that in a way which is attractive to the audience and the needs of the children’s rights campaigners in terms of getting hat message across to try and make the situation of children in Belize better and try to solve some of the problems.”


The MediaTrain team includes facilitators Marian Hens and Antonia Paradela and is led by Oliver Wates, who says that while he has seen talented journalists at the workshop, it is clear that a lack of resources is a major problem for the local media.


Oliver Wates

“From what I’ve seen of Belizean journalism, I mean there are some very talented people that I’ve seen in this workshop in only two days. The main problem is obviously lack of resources; it always is the problem with journalism. If you have the money and you have the time to research the stories properly. Too many journalists are under too much pressure and that is a problem, especially when you have, if you like, such a fragmented media scene here. It’s a very small market, obviously in international terms and you have a very large number of different media organizations. Now I’m very impressed, if you like, with the dynamism of that but it does mean that the resources are spread quite thinly.”


Christine Norton

“We don’t see this as the only training that we will have. I think we began a process last year with the media where we had some dialogue; we had some discussion in the context of UWI where we do capacity building work. We have had some initial discussion last year, we promised that we would continue and this is a second chance to d that. We have as well young media journalists, youth media and so the youth media is a part of this workshop. We want to continue both to strengthen youth media and to get a chance for young people as well to have a voice in media and to lead.”


Norton says their first training was done in 2011; the current workshop is the second and certainly not the last media initiative by UNICEF. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “UNICEF trains media on child sensitive reporting”

  1. Storm says:

    I hope churches monitor this program. UNICEF has done good work in the past, but in recent years it has become the greatest international promoter of what some call the “homosexual agenda,” creating school curriculum to “teach children tolerance” for alternative sexual lifestyles, and under the guise of health, to promote in children all manner of birth control and the “right” to anj abortion.

    I hope churches have folks watching every presentation by UNICEF, because otherwise our children may be subjected to propaganda and brainwashing. Once this camel gets its nose under the tent, it won’t be long before the whole camel is sleeping with us.

  2. Eva says:

    We also the UN again to bring their crap to Belize and “train” or media on do’s and don’ts when it comes to children. We do not need the UN to tell us #@!$……If children are capable of doing a crime, then hell yes the media should show their face and call their names. Me thinks…

  3. Soledad says:

    “UNICEF is an important partner in promoting children’s rights’????????????That’s why Belize going to hell with all this external influence. Like we didnt know how to raise our children in belize…Now thanks to UNICEF we can’t whip their @$$ in school, we can’t show their face and call their names when they commit a crime, they having sex earlier bcaz they giving them condoms and teaching them how to wear it etc etc…and UNICEF partners Peace Corps is telling our kids that it’s ok for a man to rape their @$$ and they shouldnt tell their parents what they learning in HFLE class???!!!! I think it’s time Belize chase all those foreign ppl out along with their $$$ and go back to good old fashion cat-o-nine tails for criminals and whipping in school.Look at what is becoming of our children although we have so many children organizations that saythey care about their development. It’s not working!! Parents, single-mothers, take your children to church and reclaim what Belize knows as real values and stop di beg fi funding bcaz we have to take all the rubbish that comes along with the $.

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