Report on the thirteenth session of the Committee on the rights of the Child

Summary: This report CRC/C/57 includes the
General Discussion on "the child and
the media" which was held on 7
October 1996 (paragraphs 242 -
257, pp. 42-48), as well as the list of
documents and contributions
submitted for the day (Annex VI,

Report CRC/C/57

The General discussion on the child and the media are
summarised in paragraphs 242 - 257, on page 42.

Here is an excerpt of that report, specifically paragraphs 256-257
which outlines the recommendations from the day of discussion.

256. On the basis of the discussions on the various issues both
at the plenary and by the three panels, the following
recommendations were formulated by the Rapporteur for the
thematic debate:

1. Child media. A dossier should be compiled on positive practical
experiences of active child participation in the media, such as
“Children's Express” in the United Kingdom and the United States.

2. Child forum within Internet. The UNICEF-initiated “Voices of
Youth” at the World Wide Web should be promoted and
advertised as a positive facility for international discussion on
important issues between young people.

3. Active child libraries. The experience of dynamic child
libraries, or child departments within public libraries, should be
documented and disseminated.

4. Media education. Knowledge about the media, their impact and
functioning should be imparted in schools at all levels. Students
should be enabled to relate to and use the media in a
participatory manner, as well as to learn how to decode media
messages, including in advertising.

Good experiences in some countries should be made available to

5. State support to media for children. There is a need for
budgetary support to ensure the production and dissemination of
children's books, magazines and papers, music, theatre and other
artistic expressions for children, as well as child oriented films and
videos. Assistance through international cooperation should also
support media and art for children.

6. Constructive agreements with media companies to protect
children against harmful influences. Facts should be gathered
about various attempts at voluntary agreements with media
companies on positive measures, such as not broadcasting
violent programmes during certain hours, clear presentations
before programmes about their content and the development of
technical devices, such as “V-chips”, to help consumers
to block out certain types of programmes. Likewise, experiences
with respect to the introduction of voluntary ethical standards and
mechanisms to encourage respect for them should be assembled
and evaluated; this should include an analysis of the
effectiveness of existing codes of conduct, professional
guidelines, press councils, broadcasting councils, press
ombudsmen and similar bodies.

7. Comprehensive national plans of action to empower parents in
the media market. Governments should initiate a national
discussion on means to promote positive alternatives to the
negative tendencies in the media market, to encourage media
knowledge and support parents in their role as guides to their
children in relation to electronic and other media. An international
workshop should be organized to promote a discussion on this

8. Advice on implementation of article 17 of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child. A study should be conducted with the
purpose of developing advice to Governments on how they could
encourage the development of “guidelines for the protection of
the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-
being”. Such a study should also serve the purpose of assisting
the Committee on the Rights of the Child in drafting a general
comment on article 17.

9. Specific guidelines for reporting on child abuse. To encourage
further discussion in newsrooms and within the media community
as a whole guidelines should be drafted by appropriate journalist
bodies on how to report on abuse of children and at the same
time protect the dignity of the children involved. Special emphasis
should be placed on the issue of not exposing the identity of the

10. Material for journalist education on child rights. Material
should be produced to assist journalist and media schools on child
rights standards, established procedures for child rights
monitoring, existing international, regional and national
institutions working with children, as well as basic aspects of child
development. The manual planned by the Centre for Human
Rights of the United Nations as a tool for journalist education on
human rights should be widely disseminated when produced.

11. Network for media watchgroups. The positive work of media
watchgroups in various countries should be encouraged
and “good ideas” transferred between countries. The purpose is
to give media consumers a voice in the discussion on media
ethics and children. A focal point for exchanges should be

12. Service to “child rights correspondents”. Interested journalists
should be invited to sign up on a list of “child rights
correspondents”. They should be provided regularly with
information about important child issues and with interesting
reports by others, and be seen as media advisers to the
international child rights community.

257. In view of the various contributions made and the
importance of the issues considered, the Committee felt that
there was a need to ensure follow-up to the general discussion.
It was therefore decided that a working group on the media and
the Convention on the Rights of the Child should be constituted
to consider further the various recommendations made. This
working group should include representatives of the Committee,
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the Department
of Public Information, the International Federation of Journalists
and non-governmental organizations. It was requested that that
working group should consider, in particular, constructive ways of
ensuring implementation of the 12 recommendations and
other proposals made during the discussion. The Committee
decided to authorize Mr.Thomas Hammarberg to represent it on
the working group and initiate its convening. The group is
expected to report to the Committee at a future session (May-
June 1997).

Please note that these reports were submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. They are hosted by Child Rights Connect and CRIN and the author's permission has been obtained for all reports listed. However, unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of either organisation and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by Child Rights Connect or CRIN.