Guidelines on media coverage of child issues revised

Over 20 people representing National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, and other line ministries met in Vientiane between Jan 20-23 to discuss the revision of the Guidelines of Reporting on Children issues.

Lao Youth Union, Aid Children with Disability Association (ACDA) and UNICEF were also represented at the workshop. The revision of the Guidelines of Reporting on Children issues is supported by USAID.

“Media reporting on children and young people should never put them at risk. We should follow the global principles and guidelines to help journalists report on children’s issues in a way that enables them to serve the public interest without compromising the rights of children,” said Director General of Mass Media Department Somsavath Phongsa.

To make sure that Lao media appropriately report on children issues, in 2005, with collaboration from UNICEF Lao PDR, the Lao Journalist Associattion developed media guidelines on reporting on children isses based on Media and Children’s Rights developed by UNICEF, according to Vice President of the Lao Journalist Association Pinpathana Phanthamaly.

Speaking at the training, UNICEF Communication Specialist Tabongphet Phouthavong stated that the Lao Media guideline has been used effectively for more than 16 years to proect children from media abuses. Now as the situation is changing, the guideliens should be updated, particularly the areas related to the internet and social media.

“The Internet, mobile phones and other electronic media provide children and young people with wide access to information, culture, communication and entertainment and with many of their extraordinary benefits, however, come hazards. The Internet and associated technologies have made abusive images of children easier to create and distribute, and provide significant new opportunities for abusers to access and make contact with children and young people online. And therefore, we need to protect children from online dangers,” said MrTabongphet Phouthavong.

During the four-day workshop, the participants seriously discussed, provided feedbacks, suggestions and revisions. They werealso briefed about Lao Generation 2030 by NCAWMC and SDGs and Children.

Following this workshop, participants from related ministries will consult with their colleagues and send the revised version to the Ministry of Inforamtion, Culture and Tourism. The second workshop to finalise the Media Guidelines on Reporting on Children Issues is expected to be oraganized in Borikhamxay next year.

Source: Lao News Agency