Media professionals strengthen capacity in child rights reporting

The Ministry of Information and Culture (MICT) and the Lao Journalist Association (LJA), together with UNICEF, today held its third orientation workshop on the Guidelines for Media Reporting on Children.

The workshop was held in Paksan district, Borikhamxay Province from Aug 25-27. The workshop aimed to enhance Lao media professionals’ understanding of children’s rights and their capacity to ethically report on child rights issues in the country.

The workshop provided an important opportunity for media professionals in the Lao PDR, including Southern provinces to review and learn more about the media’s role in child rights reporting and the main topics concerning this area, alongside the ethical considerations that need to be accounted for prior to publishing content or reporting on such topics.

“The media plays a vital role in advancing the child rights agenda in the Lao PDR, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed children and women at greater risk due to disruptions to key social services. It is thus imperative that the media understands these risks that women and children are facing and is capable of reporting about them in a manner that is both ethical and accurate,” stated President of the Lao Journalist Association Savankhone Razmountry.

“This kind of workshop has already been organized in Vientiane for central key media outlets, in Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces for Northern media professionals in July and early August 2021. In addition, 10,000 copies of the Guidelines for Media Reporting on Children, which were developed and produced through generous support from USAID and the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), will be printed and distributed to media professionals across the county,” added Mr. Savankhone Razmountry.

In 2005, the Lao Journalist Association under MICT, in collaboration with UNICEF, published a handbook for media professionals entitled “The Media and Children’s Rights” to help guide media professionals, such as journalists and editors, in reporting on stories and news concerning children. The latest Guidelines for Media Reporting on Children disseminated during this workshop was updated based on the 2005 guidelines and is designed to further strengthen media professionals’ understanding of children’s rights and how child rights issues can be reported in news stories as well as print and broadcast media in a manner that protects the rights and dignity of children. This also includes children’s rights to privacy, which is becoming increasingly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic where people are relying more on digital technology for communication and the rapid dissemination of information.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you the Mass Media Department of MICT and the Lao Journalist Association, for the achievement in developing and disseminating the Guidelines for Media Reporting on Children. UNICEF remains committed to supporting the Government in order to promote and realize the rights of every child through further implementation, monitoring and reporting on children and children’s issues,” remarked Communication Specialist of UNICEF Lao PDR Mr. Tabongphet Phouthavong.

A sixteen-years-old, Ms Phouthasaone Vongvilay, Youth Media reporter of Borikhamxay Province who attended the workshop, excitingly said that: “This workshop provided great opportunity to media professional as well as youth media reporters to strengthen capacity and skills on reporting on children issues. During this workshop, we also expect to learn more about the ethics on reporting on children issues, what and how we should and shouldn’t report, how to take appropriate photos and video clips, write good caption and publish news in social media to protect children for internet abuses. We will use these knowledge and skills to improve our youth media activities and radio programmes.”

Source: Lao News Agency