“The media should play a greater role as advocates for children.”
This is a statement by Acting Chief Welfare Officer, Leroy Morvan, at Media Practitioner workshop on child abuse earlier this week.
“Advocacy for and on behalf of children should not be limited to highlighting in the media a news story about a child which has caused national attention,” he noted.
According to him advocacy should be “all encompassing with a focus on critical issues affecting children.”
Morvan warned that media practitioners should always be mindful of what should and should not be reported when it comes to sexual related matters involving children.
“While there is a duty to report, one should not allow sensationalization to override the best interest of the child,” he stated. “Once stigmatized, a child who is already victimized and traumatized, could have a tarnished image for the rest of his or her life.”
He stated that “some self examination” is needed by the media in Dominica “as to whether a more proactive role should be taken on the issue of being advocates for children.”
Meanwhile Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs, Sylvanie Burton, said the workshop is an important step towards child protection in Dominica.
“This workshop is timely as on a monthly basis we see the increase in the incidence of child abuse cases in our society,” she said. “Clearly the problem of child violence does not affect only Dominica. It is a worldwide phenomena whose impact is enormous, hindering the healthy development of millions of children across the world and as such it requires partnerships, solidarity and building of alliances such as the media.”