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Media Practitioners In The Caribbean Focus On Guidelines In The Profession To Protect Children

Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 20, 2015 (SKNIS):  In an effort to effectively and efficiently report on children’s issues in the Caribbean region, media practitioners from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), as well as Barbados, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, have pledged their dedication to implementing guidelines that would assist them in protecting the rights of children. This was done on day two of the training workshop on Responsible coverage of Children’s Issues, being held in Antigua from November 18-20.
Julius Gittens, Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) facilitator, reflected on the past two days of the workshop which paid special attention to the Guidelines for the Coverage of Children’s Issues.
“For the past two days, media practitioners from across the Caribbean have been working on adapting a set of guidelines for ethical coverage of children’s issues,” he said. “ We are beginning at the level of ethical reporting, then looking at what the law encourages to do and how to do that within the boundaries of the law, as well as how we promote and support the tenant of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).”
Mr. Gittens recognized the media practitioners for the work they have been doing.
“It has been very encouraging that broadcasters, journalists and people who create content that goes not just throughout the Caribbean, but globally, have been able to come up with a set of guidelines, not rules, not laws, but points and pointers to take reporters forward in being able to tell the story,” he said, adding that this should be done with respect to the needs and responsibilities of caregivers and the rights of children.
Wesley Gibbings, President of ACM, said although media practitioners are faced with real challenges in reporting in the Caribbean, “guidelines should be developed and rigorously applied when it comes to coverage of children’s issues.”
He stated that though the challenge exists, the onus is on journalists to carry out their duties.
“Journalists need to act professionally and do their jobs,” he said, while noting that they need to continue to make the case for free and fair reporting on all issues, but they also need to be aware of the challenges.
Elisa Graham, reporter with ABS TV in Antigua, described the workshop as timely and stated it was “very well placed.”
Steve Maximay, Consultant, highlighted the presentations of day one and summed up day-two’s proceedings, stating that “much concentration was placed on learning more about the CRC, and urged practitioners to familiarize themselves with the CRC as it is the only way they can be either protectors of the rights of the child or investigate the short comings.
The workshop ended on Friday, November 20, where participants further discussed guidelines and assessed the challenges where it relates to implementing the said guidelines. A highlight of day three was a press conference which gave participants the opportunity to recap the training workshop and explain how they will implement what they learnt in their respective organizations.

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