The First Child Safety Forum, held yesterday (Tuesday) under the theme, Responsible Media… Safe Child, has released a nine-tenet recommendations document, which emerged from a private Media Talk session held on the sidelines of the event, to promote the role of Emirati media in becoming positive advocates for children and safeguarding their rights.
The session brought together a dozen media managers and officials from various local media outlets in the UAE, who highlighted ideal media practices when reporting on child victims of abuse and violence in light of professional guidelines, as well as the need to strictly follow them.
The recommendations are as follows:
- Raise coordination levels between departments concerned with child protection in the UAE, and unify their efforts under one umbrella.
- Activate social responsibility of academic institutions and families to raise awareness about children’s issues.
- Have child law specialists in each emirate with a direct communication channel with media outlets and online news platforms to coordinate mechanisms to address children’s portrayal in media.
- Adopt high standards in the selection of media professionals who handle child related cases.
- Refer to legislative authorities and laws and regulations when addressing children’s issues that are not sufficiently clear.
- Ensure that upon joining any media organisation, media professionals are well informed about children’s privacy, and respect their psychological state.
- Intensify ‘child rights’ awareness programmes through traditional and digital media platforms.
- Prepare special media content targeting parents’ awareness on ways to protect their children and how to deal with them during emergencies.
- Use of innovative awareness and educational tools in order to reach all members of society and official bodies.
The media talk was hosted by the Child Safety Department (CSD), and affiliate of Sharjah’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA), in partnership with the National Media Council (NMC) and Ministry of Community Development (MoCD).
Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Department Director, CSD, Ibrahim Al Khadem, Ibrahim Khadim, Media Content Director, NMC and Eman Hareb, Director of Community Protection Department, MoCD, moderated the discussion.
Participants discussed their experiences and challenges when handling children’s issues in their respective areas of responsibility, in particular, abuse and violence against children. Participants put things into perspective by relating real-life examples of positive and negative cases of media coverage of children’s issues. Each participant also put three suggestions on the table about how to safeguard and protect children’s rights in the media.
Each entity also elucidated ways in which they can collaborate to get the support they need in protecting children’s rights and identities from judicial, police, or child protection authorities.