The law obliges the media to respect the rights of children in their programs and to protect them from content that can harm their moral, intellectual and emotional development. The same obligations arise from the journalistic codes. Are the media in Kosovo adhering to these provisions or the rights of children are violated almost every day?
The negative impact of particular program content on the development of children is often discussed. The question arises as to whether the parents bear the responsibility if their child adopts a negative behaviour seen in media, or the media that are placing different program contents without taking into account the age group.
“The children program is fine, it’s good for their psychological development, and these other series I think are not suitable for children.”
“There are lots of shows that are good for children, they can teach them useful things, and there are those that are not appropriate for their age,” said the parents of the minor children.
According to psychologists, children are too exposed to the influence of media that do not work in the interests of their education and development.
“Protection of children is very important, that they are not abused and used for something that adults need and not children themselves. Children may be involved in the process of media, or participate in the realization of some show, in some quizzes, competitions where children themselves would create, according to their age and education, a show with the help of parents, television, journalists,” says psychologist Valentina Nikolic.
The Press Council of Kosovo, in cooperation with UNICEF, has developed guidelines to help journalists report on issues concerning children in order to protect them from media abuse.
“I will also mention the aspects of reporting related to social cases, when the media give a picture of a child or children, this is a wrong approach. The report can also be done without showing children’s pictures,” said Imer Muskolaj, President of the Board of the Press Council of Kosovo.
“In universities, especially in journalism, we need to work on providing space in curriculum on the ethics reporting, especially on children’s reporting, so that journalists get a true picture of their rights,” says Brandao Co, in front of the UNICEF Kosovo Office.
“The publication of information, photographs and personal data without the knowledge of the parent violates children’s rights. The face of a minor can be publicized in the event that the photo leads to the finding of a lost or wanted minor. In comparison with the previous years, the moment of reporting on children has improved, but to a lesser extent”, says Flutura Kusari, lawyer for media law.
When interviewing and reporting on children, special attention is needed in order to ensure the right of every child to privacy and confidentiality. Their opinions must be respected, children must take part in decisions that affect them and must be adequately protected against abuse, and these are some of the guidelines of the Kosovo Press Council’s Code of Conduct.