Children on e : a qualitative and quantitative study of children's rights on the e-TV News agenda

Rutter, Chantal Antonia (2005-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Television is a powerful tool in the diffusion of information to the masses. It is therefore influential in the way society perceives and responds to children, and in so doing it has an influence on the provision and protection of children's rights. According to international and locally conducted studies children are not high on the media agenda, are seldom given a voice or status, and if they are, issues around them are mostly formulated by adults. This assignment sets out to determine whether the same conclusion can be drawn from South African free-to-air television station e-TV. In particular it seeks to establish whether e- News has been successful in placing children's rights in on the public agenda or whether it has reported on children in an ad hoc manner. Children's human rights issues have been defined in accordance with the United Nation's Children's Rights Charter and the South African Bill of Rights, which makes specific provision for the child/children. This assignment takes its lead from a Media Monitoring Project study. Like the MMP report this research is conducted within a human rights framework and concedes according to Section 28 (2) of the Constitution that "the child's best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child". The methodology employed in this assignment, while replicating a Media Monitoring Project study, also employs discourse analysis in the form of interviews and questionnaires conducted with e-News members of staff. The methodology was applied to a sample of 71 stories which included reference to a child or children and which were broadcast on e-News Live at 7 and e-News live at 10 between January and August 2004. In brief it was found that the rights to privacy, dignity and freedom of speech were satisfactorily upheld (as per the Bill of Rights), but that issues about children are mostly sourced by and commented on by adults. Furthermore it was found that children's rights do not form an implicit part of the e-News agenda. Given that a human rights framework is normative for e-News, it is recommended that children's rights be placed in context, that stories challenge stereotypes about children and that e- News should consider appointing 'children's correspondents'.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Televisie is n' kragtige medium vir die verspreiding van inligting na die samelewing. Om hierdie rede speel televisie n' invloedryke rol op die manier waarop mense met kinders omgaan en dus het dit ook n' groot invloed op die voorsiening en berskerming van kinderregte. Volgens internastionale en plaaslike studies is kinders nie hoog op die media se agenda nie. Hulle word selde status verleen en indien wel, word kwessies wat hulle raak, dikwels deur volwassenes geformuleer. Hierdie opdrag wil bepaal of hierdie gevolgtrekking ook spesifiek betrekking het op die televisiestasie, e-TV. Daar word spesifiek gefokus op e-News se agenda met betrekking tot kinderregte en of dit suksesvol genhandhaaf word of nie. Kindreregte-kwessies is gedefineer soos in die Verenigde Nasies se Handves van Kinderrregte en die Suid-Afrikaanse Hanves van Menseregte wat specifiek focus op voorsiening vir kinders. Hierdie opdrag is volg die voorbeeld van n' verslag van die Media Monitoring Project (MMP). Soos die MMP-verslag word hierdie narvorsing binne n' menseregte-raamwerk gedoen en neem ook artikel 28 (2) van die Suid-Afrikaanse Grondwet in ag, wat stipuleer dat die kind se belange van kardinale belang is asook elke aspek wat die kind betrek. Die metodologie wat in hierdie opdrag gebruik word, repliseer tegelykertyd die MMPstudie en maak gebruik van diskoersanalise in die vorm van onderhoude en vraelyste onder e- News personeellede. Hierdie metodologie maak gebruik van n' steekproefvan 71 nuusstories wat verwys na n' kind/kinders wat tussen Januarie en Augustus 2004 op e-News Live om 19hOO uitgesaai is. Ter opsomming is bevind dat privaatheidsregte, waardigheid en vryheid van spraak van kinders bevredigend benader is. Kwessies wat kinders aanraak word egter meer deur volwassenes aangespreek as deur kinders self. Daar is egter ook bevind dat kinderregte nie n' intergrale deel van e-News agenda vorm me. Gegewe dat n' menseregteraamwerk bye-News toegepas word, word dit aanbeveel dat kinderregte binne konteks geplaas word en dat berigte sal streef daarna om stereotypes oor kinders te verander en dat e-News oorweeg om kinderkorrespndente aan te stel.

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