MICT strengthens the capacity of media professionals to report on child rights issues

The Ministry of Information and Culture (MICT) and the Lao Journalist Association (LJA), together with UNICEF, on Jul 6 held its first orientation workshop on the Guidelines for Media Reporting on Children.

The workshop, held at the National Cultural Hall, was aimed at enhancing 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 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 Mr. Savankhone Razmountry, the President of the Lao Journalist Association.

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 congratulate MICT, and particularly the Lao Journalist Association, for their 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 Ms. Beate Dastel, UNICEF Representative a.i. to the Lao PDR.

The guidelines on the Media and Children’s Rights were developed and produced through the generous support from USAID and the government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia.

Source: Lao News Agency