Barbados Youth Development Council
c/o Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports
Elsie Payne Complex
From: The Barbados Youth Development Council
To: Local Media Houses, Governmental Leaders
Subject: Be sensitive to the Rights of our children, Let their voices be heard
The Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC), on behalf of the youth of Barbados is using the occasion of Child Month to lend our support to all child-friendly initiatives by the media in Barbados.
We at the BYDC are encouraging all editors and producers at print, radio, television and web-based media houses to continue to be sensitive to the rights of children, whose individual and collective issues come to their attention. Wherever possible we implore all media houses and website owners to continue to publish and broadcast positive news about children and adolescents.
Further to this, it is our hope that more news agencies would be willing to publish articles and contributions of our nation’s children.
We are also asking all news media managers to choose stories related to children wisely and not to succumb to the excitement for imbalanced, sensational negative stories that may bring bigger earnings.
It remains the duty of the media to be the watchdogs of society and to release information to the public for our individual and collective benefit. We take this opportunity to remind you of this responsibility.
In this regard the BYDC feels the need to speak out against the use of music, photographs or video footage that are inappropriate for the possible listening ear or viewing eye of our children. There is no such thing as X-rated radio. We are also asking media houses not to show the faces of children or their relatives who are suffering in sensitive and extreme cases of poverty, abuse or any other situation that can lead to further harm of the child. Use of the parent’s photo serves only to provide a point of association.
In recent months the publication of two photographs of a child with a deformed sexual organ and his mother brought an intense sadness and shame to our hearts, knowing that such an article can likely be used against that child later in life. This is an example of what we consider irresponsible journalism.
Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed and ratified by an Act of Parliament in Barbados says “All organizations concerned with children should work towards what is best for that child.”
Article 12 says “Children have the right to say what they think should happen, when adults are making decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account.”
Article 13 of this same Convention says, “Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others.”
Article 17 also says “Children have the right to reliable information from the mass media. Television, radio and newspapers should provide information that children can understand, and should not promote materials that harm them.”
The Barbados Youth Development Council looks longstanding and positive relationships with all media houses concerned as we seek to become more creative and involved in this same process of highlighting the work and activities of young Barbadians.
In this vein, we will be embarking on some exciting programmes that will involve the energies of children and adolescents in coming months. We look forward to engaging media houses on how best they can perhaps fit some of the products of these programmes into their weekly or monthly publications and productions.
For further information contact:
Barbados Youth Development Council
bydcexecutive (At) gmail.com