Journalists Talk About Media Violence Against Children

Summary: This study hopes to build awareness among journalists, civic organisations, and governmental agencies about violence. Its purpose is also to document the relationship between the media and violence against children and adolescents.

The investigation was developed in the framework of the UN Study on Violence Against Children by the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), and was promoted and financed by Save the Children Norway. It forms part of the effort of the Government of Nicaragua and a series of civil organizations to analyze the situation of violence experienced by children and adolescents.

The study was done during May and June 2005. The sample is qualitative, stratified and non-random. Two sample strata were chosen. A first stratum is made up of journalists and media directors and the other of communications officers of civil organizations that work in defense of children's rights, with a child rights focus. Through semi-structured interviews and focal groups, a total of 27 people were involved, of whom 18 are radio, television and written press journalists and the other 9 work in civil organizations.

 The methodology also involved following for 28 consecutive days what are called "red news" (nota roja)2 programs-a form of yellow or sensationalist journalism-- that are broadcast daily in Managua's TV channels. The monitoring centered on the news that directly involved children and adolescents.

It also includes news that indirectly affect boys and girls, even when they are not the center of attention, and those that simply made them indifferent witnesses and mute spectators of the violence reproduced in the news coverage.

Another instrument was the analysis of the newspaper op-ed pages in the 2004-2005 period, as well as bibliography related to the theme of the study.

Conceptual framework

It is recognized that the origin of violence is sociocultural or psychosocial, and thus can be overcome. Violence is defined as an exercise of power expressed verbally, physically, sexually and psychologically over other people. From the generational perspective, it has been a mechanism to educate through power, recurring to threat, pain, shame, blame, the exercise of influence and imposition of norms and rules.

 It is argued that violent behaviors are acquired through direct experience or the observation of such actions in arenas of socialization and of symbolic models such as those on television.

Owner: Save the Children Norway and CENIDHpdf:


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