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Building Media Capacity for Children Sustainability in Africa: Educational and Partnership Imperatives:

Building Media Capacity for Children Sustainability in Africa: Educational and Partnership... The “African common position” during the Special Session of United Nations (UN) General Assembly on children was that “Today’s investment in children is tomorrow’s peace, stability, security, democracy and sustainable development.” However, the African child remains the most neglected species in the continent as millions of them are still living in poverty, deprived of education, suffer from malnourishment and discrimination, abandoned and vulnerable to abuses including being used as child soldiers in warfare. This situation demands a revisitation of the world union’s call to care for the interest of the child as specified in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this regard, the media is fingered as having a role to play in ensuring the realization of children’s many unfulfilled dreams, a responsibility that requires greater capacity. Unfortunately, the current African media capacity for children is very low, a situation traceable to lack of skills and inadequate knowledge base. It is in this direction that this article argues that African media requires an educational framework purposely devoted to children and instituted within the media training purview, as well as partnership to effectively cater for the interest of the child in ensuring sustainable generation for the Continent. Keywords media capacity, sustainability, children, education, partnership, Africa CJMS refers to “the kind of education that trains individu- Introduction als as experts to meet the media needs of children” (Oyero, The plight of children has been of global concern in recent 2011a, p. 100). The education, as envisioned will train indi- times. Although children all over the world are threatened, viduals as journalists to set agenda for children in the media, African children are in more precarious situation. The politi- as well as train persons as producers of children programs to cal environment, economic situation, and social conditions fully meet children’s media needs and fulfill their rights edu- in Africa have not favored children on the Continent. cationally, culturally, and socially. This type of education Although efforts at making children’s issues a priority have would involve “research on children and the media for the been yielding results, with Africa becoming a better place for purpose of enhancing better practice in this specialised area” children in recent times than before, greater challenges still (Oyero, 2011a, p. 100). Strictly speaking, it will involve lie un-confronted. Africa remains a continent where many teaching of news and editorial courses, production tech- children die of avertable causes. It is in this regard that stake- niques in broadcast media and publishing techniques on holders have been tasked to carry out certain responsibility online platforms, and will be domiciled in higher institutions toward making the rights of the child achievable. As a crucial of learning such as a university. It will also teach research stakeholder, the media is saddled with some responsibilities methodologies in journalism and communication in relation in favor of children. To accomplish this tasks spelt out in to all aspects of children and the media. To drive this point United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child home, this article shows that generational sustainability for (UNCRC), the Oslo challenge and other documents, this article argues for specialism in journalism and media educa- Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria tion that focuses on children and children alone. This is what North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa we named as Children Journalism and Media Studies (CJMS) Corresponding Author: or Children Journalism and Media Education (CJME), and Olusola Oyero, Covenant University, KM 10, Idiroko Road, Ota 112242, can simply be put as Children Media Studies (CMS) and Nigeria. these nomenclatures can be used interchangeably. Email: olusola.oyero@covenantuniversity.edu.ng Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open Africa is anchored on children. It discusses some of the chal- Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the current lenges confronting children in the continent, and argues for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNICEF (2003) children-focused journalism and media studies as well as states the best way to meet six of the eight MDGs is to ensure partnership in fulfilling the role assigned to the media toward that the “rights of children to health, education, protection fulfilling children’s rights and building better future for the and equality are protected” (p. 2). The SDGs focus on the African continent. issues of eradication of poverty and hunger through food security and improved nutrition, ensure “availability and sus- tainable management of water and sanitation for all,” provi- Generational Sustainability sion of “inclusive and equitable quality education and The idea of generational sustainability has been at the cen- promote lifelong learning opportunities,” and as well as ter of global discussions with challenges to drive processes combating climate change and its impacts, including “mak- that will enhance its achievement. It is also obvious that ing cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and any mention of generational sustainability refers to the sustainable,” among others (United Nations, 2015, p. 14). preservation of future generation. As put in Beijing These are issues that directly affect more on children than Declaration “. . . Today’s children are tomorrow’s future adults. Hence, UNICEF (2013a) maintains that “goals generation, who must be enabled and equipped to achieve addressing children’ rights, equity and the MDGs ‘unfin- their full human potential and enjoy the full range of human ished and continuing business’ must remain at the core of the rights in a globalizing world” (UNICEF, 2001). While development agenda, for it to be truly sustainable and sus- addressing the issue of sustainable development, the con- tained” (p. 7). cern for children is mentioned by its very definition, the It has also been pointed out that “the rights and well-being idea of development “that meets the needs of the present of Africa’s children are public goods” (AU, UNECA, NPAD, without compromising the ability of future generations to & UNICEF, 2003, p. 13). A “public good” is something that meet their own needs” (Brundtland & World Commission is beneficial to the generality of people in a society, a conti- on Environment and Development [WCED], 1987, p. 45). nent or across the world. This implies that the profits of pro- This is in recognition that the future belongs to children and tection and realization of children’s rights will have rippling indeed they are the next generation. It follows then that if effects not just for Africa, but also for the rest of the world. the future generation is going to be sustainable, caring for Conversely, precarious condition of African children will the needs of children must be a priority. UNICEF (2013a) also affect the rest of the world. This is because the global- notes that “sustainable development starts with safe, ized and interdependent nature of our current world system healthy and well-educated children. Societies can only exposes the rest of the world to whatever happens in one develop in a sustainable manner if the basic needs and place. As the Ebola virus was ravaging some parts of West rights of children, particularly the poorest and most vulner- Africa, the rest of the world was jittery over the possibility of able, are met” (p. 7). its spread. Already, the effects of conflicts in some parts of Children are also pivotal to the challenge of development the world, Africa especially, are very visible as nations have in Africa. Africa’s development is anchored on the develop- to cope with burdens of refugees, cost of military interven- ment of its human capital, which is a process that begins with tion, and safekeeping and pressure for financial aids on children. When children are given proper childhood, and humanitarian grounds. When children grow up without their all-round development catered for, and when they are appropriate childhood, they turn out to be a huge burden on protected from circumstances that can endanger their well- the rest of the world. They are easily predisposed to involve- being, they will grow into robust and rich resources for their ment in crime, liable to being brainwashed, and recruited to continent and be in a position to in turn work for the develop- terrorists groups. ment of their own people and nations. Thus, The Many Plights of the African Child . . . development . . . is only possible by taking a path that builds the capacities and transforms the productivity of Africa’s human The African child remains the most neglected species in the resources. These Africans will then build and improve their continent as millions of them are still living in poverty, institutions and the systems with which they operate. The place deprived of education, suffer from malnourishment and dis- to start is with priority to children . . . and with children’s rights, crimination, and abandoned and vulnerable to abuses includ- which encompass their survival, growth, development, ing being used as child soldiers in warfare (Corry, 2017; protection and participation. (African Union [AU], UN Listverse, 2009). The issue of education remains problem- Economic Commission for Africa [UNECA], Network Path and Application Diagnostics [NPAD], & UNICEF, 2003, p. 9) atic. Although there has been significant improvement in access to primary education, completion rates have remained It is then not surprising that global development goals address abysmal. For example, World Bank (2012) reports that com- issues that affect children as spelt out in the Millennium pletion rate at primary level in Central African Republic and Oyero and Salawu 3 Chad in 2009 was less than 40%. “Access to secondary Moreover, chronic malnutrition determined by stunting is a school remains a greater challenge in Africa” (African Child more challenging difficulty in Africa. About 38% of children Policy Forum [ACPF], 2013, p. 16). There is a huge deficit in Africa could not grow properly due to malnourishment and of secondary education with a significant gender dimension. this situation has not witnessed any significant improvement A substantial number of children in many countries are still over the past 20 years. A lot children in Africa also lack basic left out of secondary education with exception of a few coun- micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and zinc, which are tries such as “South Africa that has achieved near universal essential for growth and development—a situation known as access to secondary education for girls (97 per cent), and “hidden hunger.” Many children born are stunt with only a slightly lower level for boys at 93 per cent” (UNICEF, Madagascar having 49%, Niger 43%, Malawi 42%, Rwanda 2012, p. 106). 38%, and Nigeria 33% (UNICEF, 2016). Access to education is poor at both primary and second- Similarly, not much has been achieved of the children’s ary levels. For example, net enrollment for primary educa- right to freedom of expression and their right to be heard. tion for boys/girls is as low as 39%/37% in Liberia, Child rights to free expression and to be listened to is glob- 43%/38% in Eritrea, 47%/34% South Sudan, and 53%/56% ally recognized and well-articulated in Article 12 of the in Sudan (ACPF, 2016). “More than half of the 59 million UNCRC, Article 7 of the African Charter on the Rights and out-of-school children live in sub-Saharan Africa” and Welfare of the Child, and other documents. According to these children have limited prospects for re-entering school these provisions, children should be listened to, and their (UNICEF, 2016, p. 44). There are also problems with qual- views given due weight in accordance with their age and ity of education in form of unqualified teachers, over- maturity (Lansdown, 2011), but the current situation is far crowded class rooms, and unacceptably high teacher–pupil from the case. Although there have been establishment of ratio. The situation is worsen by low pay for teachers with children parliaments in many countries, these parliaments its attendant consequences of low morale, absenteeism, and are too elitist and the members, taken from the better-off teachers seeking for extra means of income generation to urban schools, are not informed of the challenges faced by make ends meet at the expense of teaching the pupils. Some their poorer counterparts (McIvor, 2002). In many other even completely abandon the teaching professions in favor places, children are not consulted even on issues that affect of more rewarding businesses. “Out of 53 African coun- them. For example, more than 46% in West and Central tries, 20 have pupil-teacher ratios at primary level that are Africa and 35% in East and Southern Africa maintained far below the recommended ratio of 1:40. In some coun- that decision-makers in their locality never consulted them tries, teachers are compelled to cater for 80 pupils or more” whereas others were oblivious of existence of any consulta- (ACPF, 2013, p. 17). Millions of children are also caught tive structure within local authorities. The highest number up in emergencies as case is with the Central African of children who said they were not consulted at all was Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan, with their education found in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Malawi (ACPF, decimated or jeopardized. “Many are drawn into fighting as 2009). This predicament undermines the potential of chil- soldiers or forced to support armed groups” (Human Rights dren and their position as future generation. Failure to cater Watch, 2016). for children and their critical needs is a compromise of the Child’s health also largely remains at low ebb. The per- generation to come because they are the future generation. centage of children under the age of five dying during the neonatal period is increasing. In 2015, neonatal deaths accounted for 45% of total deaths, 5% more than in 2000. Global Efforts in Favor of Children High numbers of children are still dying before the age of 5 Since 1989, when the most profound statement about chil- years with worst cases in Angola (157), Chad (139), Somalia dren was made through the UNCRC, greater consciousness (137), Central Africa Republic (130), Sierra Leone (120), has been given to children’s rights and the space for child’s Nigeria (109), and Benin (100) (UNICEF, 2016). Besides, interest has been broadened. That space, ever since, has wit- opportunity for treatment and utilization of health services nessed several other gatherings and deliberations such as the is low. For example; “only about a quarter (26 per cent) of World Summit on children (1990), Asia Summit on Child all HIV-positive children in sub-Saharan Africa had access Rights and the Media (1996), the UN Committee on the to antiretroviral treatment (ART) in 2009” (UNICEF, Joint Rights of the Child (1996), the First All African Summit United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS [UNAIDS], (1997), the Second World Summit on Television for Children World Health Organization [WHO], & United Nations (1998), the Oslo Challenge (1999), the West African Regional Population Fund [UNFPA], 2010, p. 5), though this increased Summit on Media for Children (2000), the Africa Charter on to 40% in Eastern and Southern Africa (UNICEF, 2013b, p. Children’s Broadcasting (2000), the African Common 11). However, the number of children living with HIV is still Position on Children (the declaration and Plan of Action very high with countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Toward an Africa fit for Children) at a Special Session of the Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of Congo topping the UN General Assembly (2001), and so on . Central to all these list (UNICEF, 2016). 4 SAGE Open assemblies is the concern for the interest, development, and and social potentials to the fullest and that they should be involved in the production process. They should also be welfare of children. protected from commercial exploitation, guaranteed right to Another peculiar feature of summits on children is the freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion and adoption of statements and instruments that foreground the must be ensured equitable access to programmes. In addition to commitments made by stakeholders at such gatherings. For the afore-mentioned is the affirmation of the sense of self by example, at the 1990 World Summit on children, commit- children through their culture and language and creation of ment was made by world leaders to take determined action opportunities for learning and empowerment to promote and on the well-being of children having realized that it requires support the child’s right to education and development. The political action to give priority to children’s rights, survival, Charter further stipulates that children’s programmes should be protection, and development. World leaders also promised to wide ranging in genre and content, but should not include be involved in international cooperation and identified a gratuitous scenes and contents that encourage violence, sex and 10-point program toward the well-being of all societies. drug abuse. The Charter also requires regular and appropriate timing for broadcasting children’s programmes, provision of Some of these commitments include implementation of the sufficient resources for qualitative children’s programmes and Convention on the Rights of the Child, children’s health compliance with internationally agreed policies with particular enhancement, working for “optimal growth and develop- reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ment of children in childhood,” working to strengthen the (Omotosho, Oyero, & Salawu, 2014, p. 136) role and status of women, and “supporting the efforts of par- ents, other care-givers and communities to nurture and care At the 3rd World Summit on Media for Children, the partici- for children,” as well as catering to reduce illiteracy, poverty, pants reaffirmed that the right to communicate, participate, and ameliorate the plight of children in difficult circum- and be informed, is an essential human right of the children, stances (UNICEF, 1990). as identified in the UNCRC. Hence, the respect for dignity In many of the assemblies, the media’s roles in boasting of man and the right to democratic participation in media for the interests of the child are clearly highlighted, placing children demand holistic policies at all levels form global to demands on the media to play active role in supporting the local levels. To ensure the rights of children, communication rights of the child. The UNCRC calls on the States to “recog- process should be “pluralistic, multicultural and should nize the important function performed by the mass media guarantee freedom and diversity of opinion and expression.” and ensure that the child has access to information towards In this regard, it was agreed that consideration should be the promotion of child’s social, spiritual and moral well- given to existing national regulations, regional and interna- being and physical and mental health” (Art.17, CRC). At the tional conventions, charters, declarations, and recommenda- 1996 Asian Summit on Child Rights and the Media held in tions, which address the question of children and audiovisual Manila, the Philippines (HURIGHTS, 1996), the media is media, especially the International Charter on Media for charged to adopt policies that are consistent with the princi- Children. Besides, it is important to engage the media who ples of nondiscrimination and the best interests of all chil- have the social responsibility on issues such as this and dren, by raising awareness of every sector of the society to make it clear that their participation is essential in address- support children’s interests and protect them from every ing children’s needs and support them for their overall form of abuse, be it economic, commercial, or sexual exploi- development. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the tation as well as from materials that promote sex, violence, growing expressions of concern on the impact of media pro- conflict, and horror. The Oslo Challenge also affirms that grams containing violence, consumerism, gender, and eth- nic stereotyping on children and the need to “preserve the child/media relationship is an entry point into the wide and cultural diversity in a rapidly globalised world, as well as multifaceted world of children and their rights to education, the need for urgent and coordinated action among the media freedom of expression, play, identity, health, dignity and self- actors, in view of the rapid evolutions of technology” respect, protection; and that in every aspect of child rights, in any element of the life of a child, the relationship between (Rajcevic, 2001). children and the media plays a role. (Onumah, 2004, p. 65; The Despite all the aforementioned efforts and many others at MediaWise Trust, 2003) improving the lots of children, the progress has been very slow and the outputs are not commensurate with the invest- In 2000, the Commonwealth Broadcasters met to ratify ment. Children are still in critical situation and their rights the African Charter on Children’s Broadcasting (ACCB). still trampled upon in many developing nations. The media The thrust of the Charter is that broadcast programming responsibility in galvanizing the rights of the child is also far should serve the best interest of the child both in quantity and from being realized and a lot still remains undone in protect- quality. It states that ing the rights of the child. This is what informed a rethinking of the pathways to enabling the media to be actively involved . . . children’s programmes should be of high quality, made in result-oriented deliveries in favor of children. A diagnostic specifically for them, for development of their physical, mental look at the African media in the light of the demands placed Oyero and Salawu 5 on it for children’s purposes shows a lack of capacity to give deliberate attention to children in news coverage, no deliver the expected. Hence, the call for educational frame- matter how unimportant or unworthy children may be for work and partnership to serve as the basis of lasting media news production” (p. 106). Hence, journalism and media capacity engineering to meet the demands placed on it. education that is informed of this ideal will not only keep journalists abreast of this responsibility but also persuades them to give prominent place to children in media coverage. Education does not only transmit culture, but it also builds Imperatives of Children Journalism and and sustain cultural heritage; when media education that Media Education caters for children is well developed and implemented, a The media performance in attending to issues that affect chil- crop of journalists with understanding of children’s needs dren has been very poor. Oyero’s (2011b) study on Nigerian and societal expectation from media will soon develop, and and Ghanaian newspapers on the coverage of children shows children will be properly and better catered for in the media. “a gross under-reportage. In a study that examined five years Every form of education should be designed to solve of newspaper content, reports on children accounted for less problems. It is thus appropriate that journalism and media than one percent of the total stories reported” (p. 102). The education is designed to respond to the problems facing chil- situation is similar with studies conducted by McManus and dren who constitute the future generation. There is dire need Dorfman (2002), Moss (2001), and McNamara (2004) in of media professionals who are equipped with necessary which all show underrepresentation of children and young skills to cater for children’s needs. These needs are multiple people. The result of another study on South African and and diverse. Popularizing child rights among the African Zambian media is not too different. Children continue to be populace is one very central. People need to be informed and underrepresented in mainstream news media in both South educated about human rights of children, so that such rights Africa and Zambia. It was reported that “only 10% of 68 687 could be preserved and ensured. This is necessary to change news content in South Africa focused on children, while of people’s orientation about unfavorable ideas they hitherto the total of 9,859 news stories which appeared in the moni- held about children. Similarly, children themselves need to tored media in Zambia, children only made up 530 (5%) of be educated about their own rights, not only for them to ask the content” (Rikhotso, Morwe, Namumba, Kalu, & Singh, for such rights where possible, but also for them to embrace 2014, p. 6). the culture to practice the same for their own children. This problem is not far from the ignorance of most jour- Another is the advocacy aspect of children’s rights. nalists about children’s issues and their rights, as well as the Journalism and media for children is different from main- expectations of the society from them. Many journalists are stream journalism because it sets out to promote a cause— not informed of the contents of declarations and conventions the cause of children. The claim by mainstream journalism such as the UNCRC, the Oslo Challenge, the West African and journalists is that they are impartial and free of external Regional Summit on Media for Children, the Africa Charter influence, which is usually untrue. The process of news cov- on Children’s Broadcasting, and so on, where children’s erage itself—news selection, angle of coverage, prominence issues are declared as priority as Africans delegates at such given to it, and presentation style—often results in bias. In meetings are often limited, and the spread of resolutions at this regard, advocacy journalists are different from tradi- such meetings are so ineffective in their reach to get others tional journalists because of their readiness to stand by their informed. Most journalists in Africa are trained in linear position and pursue it until they see desirable change. They direction of journalism practice based on the orientations of are usually unequivocal in the pursuit of their goal, and use founders of the institutes who received their own education the values of good journalism to explore issues affecting from the West without consideration for emerging needs of their community or audience (Advocacy Institute, cited in the current times. The journalism practice of the early times Highway Africa, n.d.). Child rights issues need to be con- in Africa was political in nature (Salawu, Oyero, Moyo, & stantly brought to the fore to remind stakeholders and gov- Moyo, 2016), and such was the direction of journalism edu- ernment of their necessary obligations to children. This is cation received. Nationalism struggles and other political achievable through dissemination of quality information interests formed the basis of early journalism practice in through the media who set agenda for such issues and frame Africa, and so developmental issues such as child rights were the issue to shape public dialogue. “The aim of media advo- not envisaged. This journalism orientation can best be cacy and advocacy journalism is to increase the capacity of changed from educational perspective with inculcation of groups within society through in-depth and contextualized new values for developmental areas of the society like the reporting, and in doing so to bring about social change” children’s rights into journalism and media curricula. (Advocacy Institute cited in Salameh, 2005, p. 25). All of The thinking here is that the needed attention that children these require media persons who are properly schooled in the deserve in the media can be obtained by a process of media art of children journalism and media to deliver. education that is rooted in children ideals and orientation. Understanding that children issues are development-centered Oyero (2011a) notes that “it is obligatory for the media to further underscores the need for media education that cares for 6 SAGE Open them. Child rights have become a development issue, and journalists disrespects children and lessens the gravity of every development effort that does not incorporate children child abuse. This occurs because journalists use language that will hit the rock. It is as a result, as earlier noted, that UNICEF minimizes the emotional impact of abuse. To him, therefore, emphasizes that MDGs can only be realized if specific chil- “specialism in writing FOR children” is excellent idea and in dren’s needs are met. In the same vein, the idea of sustainable fact the training should be compulsory for all journalists’ (C. development compels ensuring that the ability of the future Goddard, email personal communication, September 6, generation to meet their own needs is not compromised. 2011). In the same vein, Professor Norma Pecora of the Development journalism should be people-centered, by focus- School of Media Arts and Studies, Scripps College of ing on ideas, programs, activities, projects, and events that are Communication, Ohio University, believed “the idea as related to improving people’s living standards. Development worthwhile in helping media practitioners understand the par- journalism defends the interests of the people and motivates ticular needs of the child” (N. Pecora, email personal com- the audience to actively cooperate in development ventures munication, May 19, 2011). Dean, school of communication, (Okorie, Oyesomi, Oyero, Olatunji, & Soola, 2013; Wimmer Lagos State University, Nigeria, Professor Rotimi Oltunji, & Wolf, 2005). From this perspective, CJMS draws from corroborated the need for this specialization: development journalism, and as such should be taught as a separate educational program with all essential contents. Yes a specialized training on children journalism will both be It is important to know that CJMS deserves this type of necessary and timely. Children constitute a critical mass in every specialism considering the significant place of children in society and attention to their peculiar needs and not sufficiently the world. One can observe that there are other societal issues addressed in mainstream media, Moreover, for the purpose of that have been accorded similar educational status because of niche marketing, it is needful to devote attention to children’s their importance, as obtainable with environmental journal- journalism. Thirdly, such a medium will provide needed avenue for children themselves to get involved in news creation, ism, health journalism, science journalism, financial report- dissemination and consumption as they relate to the plights of ing, and so on. It is therefore not out of place to ensure that children. (Interview, September 2017) journalism education for children issues is entrenched in our journalism training centers in Africa. While recognizing some efforts being made in this direction in places like Ghana The imperatives of CJMS are further justified by children’s and South Africa, much is still required to be done beyond right to media entertainment. African children have not got short-term courses and modules, to instituting a full blown right doses of good entertainment from their own media. program both at undergraduate and graduate levels. It is thus Television programs are generally skewed in favor of politics the right step in the right direction for UNICEF, Rwanda whereas children’s needs are neglected. Most of the chil- partnering with the National Commission for Children and dren’s programs are foreign whereas local contents are lim- Media High Commission to have launched a Child Rights ited to children’s parties organized by schools and monthly Media Module, a guide to ethical reporting and communicat- birthday parties organized by media houses (Omotosho et al., ing of children’s rights and issues in Rwanda in September, 2014). It appears that African broadcast organizations lack 2017. Siddartha Shrestha, the chief of communication, advo- the wherewithal, both in skills and commitment to produce cacy, and partnerships at UNICEF Rwanda notes that quality children’s program. Africa’s airwaves are bombarded “Children are the future of any nation and effective reporting with children’s programs from foreign countries like the about them would increase and maintain children being at United States and Britain. Nickelodeon, Disney, and the heart of the development agenda,” emphasizing the need Celebrity Big Brother have taken over the African’s children to train more journalists and journalism students to ensure media world because Africa has not lived up to expectations that child rights promotion and advocacy is adequately and to provide viable local alternatives. Incidentally, the quality effectively featured in the present and future media environ- of production, the narratives, and other elements of these for- ment. Shrestha affirms that the training of both private and eign productions are far better than the locally produced pro- public university lecturers as well as media practitioners, grams; hence, children have greater preference for them. The reaffirms the commitment to advocate for children’s rights few local programs for children have not met the expecta- (Bizimungu, 2017). tions of the receivers as they often complain of them as being As Oyero (2011a) notes that this idea is a welcome one uninteresting, unexciting, and boring. going by opinions of some scholars and therefore should be This, unfortunately, is a dangerous trend that children and nurtured to fruition. Professor Chris Goddard, director of young people find pleasure in these foreign programs which Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia, Monash come to create their culture and define their reality in opposi- University, lent his support to the idea of specialized journal- tion to their cultural systems and demands. This, of course, ism education on children. According to him, he had “long breeds conflict as children try to express themselves from the thought that ALL journalists should have training on writing cultural background that has been created for them by the ABOUT children.” He confirmed that findings from his cen- foreign entertainment, contrary to their cultural systems and ter’s research have shown how pattern of language use by expectations. The African youth culture is now driven by the Oyero and Salawu 7 characters, stories, and values of the global network of Again, one critical aspect of children and media experi- imported children’s programming. The Nickelodeon televi- ence that is lacking in Africa is research. African children’s sion channel is available in at least 171 world markets media experiences are neglected in research activities. This (Hendershort, 2004; Pecora, 1997) and the popular gap exists due to the absence of children media education Nickelodeon character, SpongeBob, is available to children system where scholars focus on researching about children. in many African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Pecora, Murray, and Wartella (2007) cited by Pecora and and South Africa; but where are the African locally produced Osei-Hwere (2008, p. 15) observe that for a period of “20 programs for children? Omotosho et al. (2014) lament about years of analysing the research done on children and televi- Nigerian children that they are now “more familiar with sion, there was no discussion on African children published Ben10, Dora the explorer and Barney than they were with in US academic journals.” A lot of issues regarding children Tales by Moonlight.” They note that TV programs in the and media in Africa require serious research. African chil- 1990s had better contents in form of educational materials, dren as media audiences need to be investigated to under- moral, and value-based issues, but the opposite is the situa- stand their pattern of media reception, choices, consumption tion today with foreign TV programs and cartoons. This pattern, and preferences. Making the media content more automatically translates, not only to loss of African value appropriate to different categories of African children also system, but also loss of identity. This poses a challenge to requires further learning in which research is a priority. The media education in Africa. There is need to train producers of aspects of children rights is still very much in place and good media stories that will attract and sustain the interests largely un-researched. How the media can effectively accom- of African child; hence, the importance of CJMS. plish the tasks assigned to it by the world body in respect of Preservation of African values, culture, and ideals for child rights in Africa in particular requires rigorous research. future generation is another compelling reason for CJMS. This can only be done by academics in African institutions The experience of African child should capture both past and whose interests lie in children and media. the present; this will be possible when children, from their The aims of CJMS therefore will be to provide “to equip childhood, are made to understand African histories, prov- students with knowledge of children journalism/media prac- erbs, stories, and so on through creative productions in forms tice in Africa and the world through the study of concepts, of video, films, and literatures. The Nigerian Television theories and methods that provide such knowledge” (Oyero, Authority’s children’s program, Tales by Moonlight is a good 2011a, p. 108). It will teach students about modern develop- reference point to this. The program features children gather- ments and technology for production of children’s programs, ing around an elderly person to listen to well-dramatized as well as information processing for and of children through African stories. The program is an adaptation of part of cul- the mass media, with emphasis on online journalism. tural life of the traditional Yoruba society in Nigeria where Furthermore, it will aim at engineering efficient and effective children were made to sit with the elders at moon-times to communication support services for various human and listen to stories. The program educates children about their national development projects aimed at the fulfillment of the traditional cultural life; it imparts wisdom and educates chil- rights of the child. The program will also gear toward dren about good values and morals in the society. Pattern of research activities on a continuous basis into the state of such a program and other similar ones need to be sustained African child “communication media, and make the findings by being incorporated into CJMS and taught as part of indig- available to policy makers towards formulation of appropri- enous communication system in media institutes. ate policies for the operation and management of the Africa’s CJMS will expand the media world of children as profes- communication industry for the benefit of children” (Oyero, sionals who can cater for the best interest of the child and are 2011a). trained to meet children’s media needs. The current imperial- The core contents of the program will include the ism of African children media airwaves by the foreign media following: would only be tackled if professionals who can provide via- ble alternatives are trained to do so. It thus follows then that Theories of children media: This course introduces stu- the training of children media professionals will provide the dents to mass communication theory as it relates to practi- much-needed alternative that will meet the children’s cul- cal applications in today’s society. To assist in the use of tural, social, and educational needs. This is the only thing mass media, students need to better understand how theo- that will ensure that the cultural rights of the African child ries can explain the role of media in the lives of children are met. There is no way that the global media network will as individuals and as members of social group. This meet the children’s cultural needs. It is against this back- knowledge is important to help guide and critique today’s ground that the CRC requires the media to disseminate mate- changing media industries as it affects children in con- rial of social and cultural benefit to the child and, in particular, temporary Africa. give consideration to “the linguistic needs of the child who Children media research: This course provides an over- belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous” (The view of qualitative and quantitative research methods United Nations, 1989, art 17). used in the investigation of topics related to studying the 8 SAGE Open children media. Methods covered include textual analy- world. It deals with the issue of costs and benefits that sis, ethnographic methods, qualitative approaches to his- accompany the production of children media content, as torical research, and feminist approaches to media well as the plan, production, and delivery of this content. research as well as survey and content analysis. The Emphasis is given to the economic gains of running a course should examine the important steps, tools, and course of this nature. techniques used in these methods. Particular attention is paid to the application of these methods in doing research on children and media, including impact assessment of Media Partnership for Generational Sustain- media content on children and determining the suitability ability of programs for children. Legal and ethical aspect of children journalism: Within As earlier noted, from a statement in Oslo challenge, “the the broad scope of journalism ethics, the specific ethical child/media relationship is an entry point into the wide and consideration for reporting about children and media pro- multifaceted world of children and their rights” because duction for children. It discusses ethical and moral stan- media plays a role in every aspect of a child’s life. Children dards for the Mass Media in the coverage of children and need the media to survive and grow. Media generally serve ethical responsibilities of individuals, groups, and media today as one of the most central socializing agents in forming organizations on children. It will examine how mass com- behaviors, attitudes, and worldviews (Kolucki & Lemish, munication law works in this country with an emphasis on 2011). Comstock and Scharrer (2012) note that “children and the Convention of the Rights of the Child and its domesti- adolescents’ viewing of television and other screen media cation in the form of Child Rights Act in the country. account for a substantial portion of their time expenditures, Communication for children development: This course and children between the ages 8 to 18 spend 5 hours daily deals with the role of communication–mass media, multi- watching television” (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). TV media, indigenous, and other communication channels in in particular plays a great role both in the social life and edu- the overall development of children. It targets various cational life of children. Children learn subjects like maths, methods of appropriate communication for stakeholders English language, chemistry, and so on from TV. Sesame in respect of fulfillment of children’s rights. Street is an example of impactful TV program that helps chil- Educational broadcasting for children: This course deals dren’s scholarly achievement (Fish, 2014; “The Sesame with various methods and techniques involved in produc- Street Effect,” 2015). Television and other media as well are ing programs for radio and television that will serve edu- social media that affect every aspect of daily life such as cational purposes for children. dressing, shopping, eating, talking, and so on. Media also News writing and reporting: A course focusing on news make children conscious of their environment and grow up reporting and writing techniques used in both traditional as active and conscious citizens as opposed to being apa- print media and Internet publishing and broadcast media. thetic (Livingstone, 2008). Thus, media’s role in children’s Students will be introduced to the basics of accuracy, clar- lives covers the mental, social, physical, and spiritual well- ity, word choice, journalistic style, story structure, and being. It is therefore important that African media organiza- deadlines. It will teach style and structure of news stories, tions and agencies collaborate to better the lots of children. news sources, newsroom practices, and procedures with As obtained in opinions gathered, partnership is required in reporting assignments for both print and broadcast media creation of awareness, training, and in experience on how to on children issues. report children. Journalists can establish Children’s Club of Children television production: The course deals with respective organs. This can take place in schools and reli- theory and practice of TV production. Supervised direc- gious organizations. Media can also organize Summer tion in all aspects of media presentation meant for chil- Schools where the opinions of children will be aggregated, dren of different ages. and opportunities will be presented to deepen children’s Children TV cartoon production: The course will involve knowledge and skills on human rights–related issues. theory and practice of TV cartoon production for African Collaboration will boost media efforts at popularizing the children, bringing African cultural values to bear on the rights of the child and enhance their advocacy project. content of the production. Information available at a region will not be limited to the Child audiences: The course examines the way children region alone but reach other parts of Africa. Such partnership of different categories experience media news and enter- could also galvanize the process of helping children when tainment in the context of social influences and expecta- successful experiences in that direction in one part of the tions. It examines children’s attitudes and behaviors to continent are shared with others. The aspect of media pro- different media, and the influence of new media on chil- duction for children will also benefit a lot from partnership dren’s consumption of media content. among African media. There could be joint production of Economics of children media: This course deals with the children’s programs, thus reducing the burden of financial business and financing of children media in a developing and human resources for such projects. It will also be easier Oyero and Salawu 9 to secure necessary funds from donors as a network to pursue ORCID iD children’s media contents. Partnership could also facilitate Olusola Oyero https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7795-5516 sharing or exchanges of media content among various media organizations in different parts of the continent, thus fulfill- References ing one of the UNCRC guidelines of encouraging “interna- African Child Policy Forum. (2009). The voices of children and tional co-operation in the production, exchange and youth in west and central Africa: A synthesis report of the chil- dissemination of such information and material from a diver- dren’s and youth polls in ten central and west African countries sity of cultural, national and international sources” (Art 17b). (Unpublished survey report). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Author. Partnership will also ensure that common challenges fac- African Child Policy Forum. (2013). The African report on child ing the continent, as relates to media concerns, are tackled wellbeing 2013: Towards greater accountability to Africa’s cooperatively. One can readily think of the quest for peace in children. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Author. African Child Policy Forum. (2016). The African report on child Africa and the need for the media to orientate Africans to be wellbeing 2016. Getting it right: Bridging the gap between peace-minded. One way of accomplishing this is by nurtur- policy and practice. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Author. ing children with ideals of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Network and altruism. If children from today are inculcated with val- Path and Application Diagnostics & UNICEF. (2003). The ues of peace, then in 20 years’ time with those values imbibed young face of NEPAD: Children and young people in the and the process sustained, one can guarantee the continent New Partnership for Africa’s Development. New York, NY: enjoying a great deal of peace than it currently does. UNICEF. This partnership then is a project that should be pursued Bizimungu, J. (2017, September 6). Bringing child rights to the either by exploring existing platforms or initiating new attention of media. The New Times. Retrieved from https:// ones. The Network of African Journalists is an existing search.proquest.com/docview/1935728946?accountid=145057 forum that can be used for this purpose. Those who report Brundtland, G. H., & World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future: Report of the for and about children among them could form a subnet- World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: work to fulfill the objectives of reporting for children. The Oxford University. same applies to Commonwealth Broadcasters Association Comstock, G., & Scharrer, E. (2012). The use of television and other (CBA) who already formulated and adopted the ACCB. screen media. In D. G. Singer & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook African participants among them and other broadcast orga- of children and the media (pp. 13-44). London, England: Sage. nizations could initiate this partnership to serve as a verita- Corry, S. (2017). Celebrating the day of the African child. Retrieved ble means of ensuring the interests of children in their from https://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2017/06/19/celebrat- activities. Child Rights International Network (CRIN) could ing-the-day-of-the-african-child/ be a rallying point for many other partnerships as desirable Fish, S. M. (2014). Children’s learning from educational televi- for children’s overall well-being. sion: Sesame Street and beyond. New York, NY: Routledge. Hendershort, H. (Ed.). (2004). Nickelodeon Nation: The history, politics, and economics of America’s only TV channel for kids. Conclusion New York: New York University Press. Highway Africa. (n.d.). Introduction to advocacy journalism. As the world commemorates the 29th anniversary of the Handout Multimedia Training Kit. Retrieved from old.apc.org/ adoption of the UNCRC, it is important that Africa brings english/capacity/policy/mmtk_advocacy_journ_handout.doc issues affecting children to the fore and the media which has Human Rights Watch. (2016). The education deficit: Failures to crucial role to play in this direction be placed on a pedestal to protect and fulfill the right to education in global development effectively fulfill its obligation to children. Considering the agendas. Amsterdam, NY: Author. years that have gone since the UN General Assembly adopted HURIGHTS. (1996). Asian summit on child rights and the the UNCRC, it instructs to see a better and fulfilling future media. Retrieved from http://www.hurights.or.jp/asiapacific/ no_05/06asiansummit.htm for the children in the next 30 years, and the process cannot Kolucki, B., & Lemish, D. (2011). Communicating with children: be allowed to drag. Children remain the future that Africa Principles and practices to nurture, inspire, excite, educate waits to see and the necessary investment in children to have and heal. New York, NY: UNICEF. a better continent is uncompromisable. Lansdown, G. (2011). Every child’s right to be heard: A resource guide on the UN committee on the rights of the child general Declaration of Conflicting Interests comment No.12. Save the Children. Retrieved from https:// www.unicef.org/french/adolescence/…/Every_Childs_Right_ The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to_be_Heard.pdf to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Listverse. (2009, July 6). Top 10 terrible issues facing children worldwide. Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2009/07/06/ Funding top-10-terrible-issues-facing-children-worldwide/ The author(s) received no financial support for the research, author- Livingstone, S. (2008). On the future of children’s television—A ship, and/or publication of this article. matter of crisis? In T. Gardam & D. Levy (Eds.), The price of 10 SAGE Open plurality: Choice, diversity and broadcasting institutions in the Communicatio, 42, 136-154. doi:10.1080/02500167.2016. digital age (pp. 175-182). Oxford, UK: Reuters Institutes. 1140667 McIvor, C. (2002). Hard lessons from Zimbabwe’s children’s par- The Sesame Street effect. (2015, June 17). The Atlantic Daily. Retrieved liament (CRIN Newsletter. No. 16, pp. 28-29). Child Rights from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/ International Network. sesame-street-preschool-education/396056/ McManus, J., & Dorfman, L. (2002). How U.S. newspapers portray The United Nations. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. child care (Issue 11). Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Media Studies Treaty Series, 1577, 3. Retrieved from http://www.ohchr.org/ Group. EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx McNamara, P. (2004). Silent victims and pretty props: The repre- UNICEF. (1990). World summit of children: World declaration sentation of young people in Irish national newspapers. on the survival, protection and development of children. New The MediaWise Trust. (2003). The Oslo challenge. Retrieved from York, NY: Author. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/wsc/ mediawise.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/The-Oslo- declare.htm Challenge-and-beyond.pdf UNICEF. (2001). Beijing declaration on commitments for chil- Moss, S. (2001). The economic impact of the child care industry dren in the East Asia and pacific region for 2001-2010: in California. Oakland, CA: National Economic Development 5th East Asia and pacific ministerial consultation. Beijing, and Law Center. China: UNICEF East Asia & Pacific Regional Office. Okorie, N., Oyesomi, K., Oyero, O., Olatunji, W. R., & Soola, E. O. UNICEF. (2003). The Millennium Development Goals: They are (2013). Effective use of information sources for breast cancer about children. New York, NY: Author. care: Interplay of mass media and interpersonal channels. Paper UNICEF. (2012). State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in presented at the Creating Global Competitive Economies: 2020 an urban world. New York, NY: Author. Vision Planning and Implementation - Proceedings of the 22nd UNICEF. (2013a). Sustainable development starts with safe, International Business Information Management Association healthy and well-educated children. New York, NY: Author. Conference, IBIMA 2013 (Vol. 3, pp. 2231-2243). UNICEF. (2013b). Towards an AIDS-free generation—Children Omotosho, Y., Oyero, O., & Salawu, A. (2014). Children’s pro- and AIDS: Sixth Stocktaking Report, 2013. New York, NY: grammes on Nigerian television stations: A case of media Author. neglect. e-bangi Journal of Social Science and Humanities, UNICEF. (2016). State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance 10(1), 135–153. for every child. New York, NY: Author. Onumah, D. (2004, November 22). Media literacy and the Nigerian UNICEF, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, World child. The Guardian, p. 65. Health Organization, & United Nations Population Fund. Oyero, O. S. (2011a). Institutionalising Children journalism edu- (2010). Children and AIDS: Fifth stocktaking report. New cation in Nigerian media/communications studies. Global York, NY: United Nations Children’s Fund. Media Journal African Edition, 5(1). Retrieved from http:// United Nations. (2015). General Assembly. Transforming our globalmedia.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/59 world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Oyero, O. S. (2011b). Presenting children’s rights’ issues in (Official document). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/ga/ Nigerian and Ghanaian Newspapers (Forte Hare Papers, search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E Vol. 17, pp. 84-111). Alice, South Africa: University of Fort Wimmer, J., & Wolf, S. (2005). Development journalism out of Hare. date? An analysis of its significance in journalism education Pecora, N. O. (1997). The business of children’s entertainment. at African universities. Retrieved from http://epub.ub.uni- New York, NY: Guilford Press. muenchen.de/archive/00000647 Pecora, N. O., Murray, J. P., & Wartella, E. (2007). Children and tele- World Bank. (2012). African development indicators. Washington, vision: Fifty years of research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. DC: Author. Rajcevic, M. (2001). 3rd world summit on media for children (Final activity report). Retrieved from http://www.wsmcf.com/past_ summits/pdf/finrep3.pdf Author Biographies Rideout, V. J., Foehr, U. G., & Roberts, D. F. (2010). Generation M2: Olusola Oyero is an associate professor and coordinator, graduate Media in the lives of 8- to 18-year-olds. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser studies in the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant Family Foundation. University, Ota, Nigeria. He teaches communication theories and Rikhotso, M. O., Morwe, K. L., Namumba, L., Kalu, G. A., & research, development communication and journalism. His research Singh, R. (2014). Children in the news, seen but not heard. interests include child rights and the media, media and democratic Johannesburg: Media Monitoring Africa and Media Network governance. on the Child Rights and Development. Abiodun Salawu is professor of Journalism, Communication and Salameh, B. A. (2005). Training kit on: Community media: Media Studies and director of the research entity, Indigenous Empowering media sector in Hebron-Palestine. West Bank: Language Media in Africa (ILMA) at the North-West University, International Palestinian Youth League. South Africa. He has taught and researched journalism for over two Salawu, A., Oyero, O., Moyo, M., & Moyo, R. (2016). A survey decades in Nigeria and South Africa. He has to his credit, scores of of research foci and paradigms in media and communication scholarly publications in academic journals and books. master’s dissertations and doctoral theses in south Africa. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SAGE Open SAGE

Building Media Capacity for Children Sustainability in Africa: Educational and Partnership Imperatives:

SAGE Open , Volume 8 (1): 1 – Mar 19, 2018

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Abstract

The “African common position” during the Special Session of United Nations (UN) General Assembly on children was that “Today’s investment in children is tomorrow’s peace, stability, security, democracy and sustainable development.” However, the African child remains the most neglected species in the continent as millions of them are still living in poverty, deprived of education, suffer from malnourishment and discrimination, abandoned and vulnerable to abuses including being used as child soldiers in warfare. This situation demands a revisitation of the world union’s call to care for the interest of the child as specified in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this regard, the media is fingered as having a role to play in ensuring the realization of children’s many unfulfilled dreams, a responsibility that requires greater capacity. Unfortunately, the current African media capacity for children is very low, a situation traceable to lack of skills and inadequate knowledge base. It is in this direction that this article argues that African media requires an educational framework purposely devoted to children and instituted within the media training purview, as well as partnership to effectively cater for the interest of the child in ensuring sustainable generation for the Continent. Keywords media capacity, sustainability, children, education, partnership, Africa CJMS refers to “the kind of education that trains individu- Introduction als as experts to meet the media needs of children” (Oyero, The plight of children has been of global concern in recent 2011a, p. 100). The education, as envisioned will train indi- times. Although children all over the world are threatened, viduals as journalists to set agenda for children in the media, African children are in more precarious situation. The politi- as well as train persons as producers of children programs to cal environment, economic situation, and social conditions fully meet children’s media needs and fulfill their rights edu- in Africa have not favored children on the Continent. cationally, culturally, and socially. This type of education Although efforts at making children’s issues a priority have would involve “research on children and the media for the been yielding results, with Africa becoming a better place for purpose of enhancing better practice in this specialised area” children in recent times than before, greater challenges still (Oyero, 2011a, p. 100). Strictly speaking, it will involve lie un-confronted. Africa remains a continent where many teaching of news and editorial courses, production tech- children die of avertable causes. It is in this regard that stake- niques in broadcast media and publishing techniques on holders have been tasked to carry out certain responsibility online platforms, and will be domiciled in higher institutions toward making the rights of the child achievable. As a crucial of learning such as a university. It will also teach research stakeholder, the media is saddled with some responsibilities methodologies in journalism and communication in relation in favor of children. To accomplish this tasks spelt out in to all aspects of children and the media. To drive this point United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child home, this article shows that generational sustainability for (UNCRC), the Oslo challenge and other documents, this article argues for specialism in journalism and media educa- Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria tion that focuses on children and children alone. This is what North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa we named as Children Journalism and Media Studies (CJMS) Corresponding Author: or Children Journalism and Media Education (CJME), and Olusola Oyero, Covenant University, KM 10, Idiroko Road, Ota 112242, can simply be put as Children Media Studies (CMS) and Nigeria. these nomenclatures can be used interchangeably. Email: olusola.oyero@covenantuniversity.edu.ng Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open Africa is anchored on children. It discusses some of the chal- Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the current lenges confronting children in the continent, and argues for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNICEF (2003) children-focused journalism and media studies as well as states the best way to meet six of the eight MDGs is to ensure partnership in fulfilling the role assigned to the media toward that the “rights of children to health, education, protection fulfilling children’s rights and building better future for the and equality are protected” (p. 2). The SDGs focus on the African continent. issues of eradication of poverty and hunger through food security and improved nutrition, ensure “availability and sus- tainable management of water and sanitation for all,” provi- Generational Sustainability sion of “inclusive and equitable quality education and The idea of generational sustainability has been at the cen- promote lifelong learning opportunities,” and as well as ter of global discussions with challenges to drive processes combating climate change and its impacts, including “mak- that will enhance its achievement. It is also obvious that ing cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and any mention of generational sustainability refers to the sustainable,” among others (United Nations, 2015, p. 14). preservation of future generation. As put in Beijing These are issues that directly affect more on children than Declaration “. . . Today’s children are tomorrow’s future adults. Hence, UNICEF (2013a) maintains that “goals generation, who must be enabled and equipped to achieve addressing children’ rights, equity and the MDGs ‘unfin- their full human potential and enjoy the full range of human ished and continuing business’ must remain at the core of the rights in a globalizing world” (UNICEF, 2001). While development agenda, for it to be truly sustainable and sus- addressing the issue of sustainable development, the con- tained” (p. 7). cern for children is mentioned by its very definition, the It has also been pointed out that “the rights and well-being idea of development “that meets the needs of the present of Africa’s children are public goods” (AU, UNECA, NPAD, without compromising the ability of future generations to & UNICEF, 2003, p. 13). A “public good” is something that meet their own needs” (Brundtland & World Commission is beneficial to the generality of people in a society, a conti- on Environment and Development [WCED], 1987, p. 45). nent or across the world. This implies that the profits of pro- This is in recognition that the future belongs to children and tection and realization of children’s rights will have rippling indeed they are the next generation. It follows then that if effects not just for Africa, but also for the rest of the world. the future generation is going to be sustainable, caring for Conversely, precarious condition of African children will the needs of children must be a priority. UNICEF (2013a) also affect the rest of the world. This is because the global- notes that “sustainable development starts with safe, ized and interdependent nature of our current world system healthy and well-educated children. Societies can only exposes the rest of the world to whatever happens in one develop in a sustainable manner if the basic needs and place. As the Ebola virus was ravaging some parts of West rights of children, particularly the poorest and most vulner- Africa, the rest of the world was jittery over the possibility of able, are met” (p. 7). its spread. Already, the effects of conflicts in some parts of Children are also pivotal to the challenge of development the world, Africa especially, are very visible as nations have in Africa. Africa’s development is anchored on the develop- to cope with burdens of refugees, cost of military interven- ment of its human capital, which is a process that begins with tion, and safekeeping and pressure for financial aids on children. When children are given proper childhood, and humanitarian grounds. When children grow up without their all-round development catered for, and when they are appropriate childhood, they turn out to be a huge burden on protected from circumstances that can endanger their well- the rest of the world. They are easily predisposed to involve- being, they will grow into robust and rich resources for their ment in crime, liable to being brainwashed, and recruited to continent and be in a position to in turn work for the develop- terrorists groups. ment of their own people and nations. Thus, The Many Plights of the African Child . . . development . . . is only possible by taking a path that builds the capacities and transforms the productivity of Africa’s human The African child remains the most neglected species in the resources. These Africans will then build and improve their continent as millions of them are still living in poverty, institutions and the systems with which they operate. The place deprived of education, suffer from malnourishment and dis- to start is with priority to children . . . and with children’s rights, crimination, and abandoned and vulnerable to abuses includ- which encompass their survival, growth, development, ing being used as child soldiers in warfare (Corry, 2017; protection and participation. (African Union [AU], UN Listverse, 2009). The issue of education remains problem- Economic Commission for Africa [UNECA], Network Path and Application Diagnostics [NPAD], & UNICEF, 2003, p. 9) atic. Although there has been significant improvement in access to primary education, completion rates have remained It is then not surprising that global development goals address abysmal. For example, World Bank (2012) reports that com- issues that affect children as spelt out in the Millennium pletion rate at primary level in Central African Republic and Oyero and Salawu 3 Chad in 2009 was less than 40%. “Access to secondary Moreover, chronic malnutrition determined by stunting is a school remains a greater challenge in Africa” (African Child more challenging difficulty in Africa. About 38% of children Policy Forum [ACPF], 2013, p. 16). There is a huge deficit in Africa could not grow properly due to malnourishment and of secondary education with a significant gender dimension. this situation has not witnessed any significant improvement A substantial number of children in many countries are still over the past 20 years. A lot children in Africa also lack basic left out of secondary education with exception of a few coun- micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and zinc, which are tries such as “South Africa that has achieved near universal essential for growth and development—a situation known as access to secondary education for girls (97 per cent), and “hidden hunger.” Many children born are stunt with only a slightly lower level for boys at 93 per cent” (UNICEF, Madagascar having 49%, Niger 43%, Malawi 42%, Rwanda 2012, p. 106). 38%, and Nigeria 33% (UNICEF, 2016). Access to education is poor at both primary and second- Similarly, not much has been achieved of the children’s ary levels. For example, net enrollment for primary educa- right to freedom of expression and their right to be heard. tion for boys/girls is as low as 39%/37% in Liberia, Child rights to free expression and to be listened to is glob- 43%/38% in Eritrea, 47%/34% South Sudan, and 53%/56% ally recognized and well-articulated in Article 12 of the in Sudan (ACPF, 2016). “More than half of the 59 million UNCRC, Article 7 of the African Charter on the Rights and out-of-school children live in sub-Saharan Africa” and Welfare of the Child, and other documents. According to these children have limited prospects for re-entering school these provisions, children should be listened to, and their (UNICEF, 2016, p. 44). There are also problems with qual- views given due weight in accordance with their age and ity of education in form of unqualified teachers, over- maturity (Lansdown, 2011), but the current situation is far crowded class rooms, and unacceptably high teacher–pupil from the case. Although there have been establishment of ratio. The situation is worsen by low pay for teachers with children parliaments in many countries, these parliaments its attendant consequences of low morale, absenteeism, and are too elitist and the members, taken from the better-off teachers seeking for extra means of income generation to urban schools, are not informed of the challenges faced by make ends meet at the expense of teaching the pupils. Some their poorer counterparts (McIvor, 2002). In many other even completely abandon the teaching professions in favor places, children are not consulted even on issues that affect of more rewarding businesses. “Out of 53 African coun- them. For example, more than 46% in West and Central tries, 20 have pupil-teacher ratios at primary level that are Africa and 35% in East and Southern Africa maintained far below the recommended ratio of 1:40. In some coun- that decision-makers in their locality never consulted them tries, teachers are compelled to cater for 80 pupils or more” whereas others were oblivious of existence of any consulta- (ACPF, 2013, p. 17). Millions of children are also caught tive structure within local authorities. The highest number up in emergencies as case is with the Central African of children who said they were not consulted at all was Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan, with their education found in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Malawi (ACPF, decimated or jeopardized. “Many are drawn into fighting as 2009). This predicament undermines the potential of chil- soldiers or forced to support armed groups” (Human Rights dren and their position as future generation. Failure to cater Watch, 2016). for children and their critical needs is a compromise of the Child’s health also largely remains at low ebb. The per- generation to come because they are the future generation. centage of children under the age of five dying during the neonatal period is increasing. In 2015, neonatal deaths accounted for 45% of total deaths, 5% more than in 2000. Global Efforts in Favor of Children High numbers of children are still dying before the age of 5 Since 1989, when the most profound statement about chil- years with worst cases in Angola (157), Chad (139), Somalia dren was made through the UNCRC, greater consciousness (137), Central Africa Republic (130), Sierra Leone (120), has been given to children’s rights and the space for child’s Nigeria (109), and Benin (100) (UNICEF, 2016). Besides, interest has been broadened. That space, ever since, has wit- opportunity for treatment and utilization of health services nessed several other gatherings and deliberations such as the is low. For example; “only about a quarter (26 per cent) of World Summit on children (1990), Asia Summit on Child all HIV-positive children in sub-Saharan Africa had access Rights and the Media (1996), the UN Committee on the to antiretroviral treatment (ART) in 2009” (UNICEF, Joint Rights of the Child (1996), the First All African Summit United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS [UNAIDS], (1997), the Second World Summit on Television for Children World Health Organization [WHO], & United Nations (1998), the Oslo Challenge (1999), the West African Regional Population Fund [UNFPA], 2010, p. 5), though this increased Summit on Media for Children (2000), the Africa Charter on to 40% in Eastern and Southern Africa (UNICEF, 2013b, p. Children’s Broadcasting (2000), the African Common 11). However, the number of children living with HIV is still Position on Children (the declaration and Plan of Action very high with countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Toward an Africa fit for Children) at a Special Session of the Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of Congo topping the UN General Assembly (2001), and so on . Central to all these list (UNICEF, 2016). 4 SAGE Open assemblies is the concern for the interest, development, and and social potentials to the fullest and that they should be involved in the production process. They should also be welfare of children. protected from commercial exploitation, guaranteed right to Another peculiar feature of summits on children is the freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion and adoption of statements and instruments that foreground the must be ensured equitable access to programmes. In addition to commitments made by stakeholders at such gatherings. For the afore-mentioned is the affirmation of the sense of self by example, at the 1990 World Summit on children, commit- children through their culture and language and creation of ment was made by world leaders to take determined action opportunities for learning and empowerment to promote and on the well-being of children having realized that it requires support the child’s right to education and development. The political action to give priority to children’s rights, survival, Charter further stipulates that children’s programmes should be protection, and development. World leaders also promised to wide ranging in genre and content, but should not include be involved in international cooperation and identified a gratuitous scenes and contents that encourage violence, sex and 10-point program toward the well-being of all societies. drug abuse. The Charter also requires regular and appropriate timing for broadcasting children’s programmes, provision of Some of these commitments include implementation of the sufficient resources for qualitative children’s programmes and Convention on the Rights of the Child, children’s health compliance with internationally agreed policies with particular enhancement, working for “optimal growth and develop- reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ment of children in childhood,” working to strengthen the (Omotosho, Oyero, & Salawu, 2014, p. 136) role and status of women, and “supporting the efforts of par- ents, other care-givers and communities to nurture and care At the 3rd World Summit on Media for Children, the partici- for children,” as well as catering to reduce illiteracy, poverty, pants reaffirmed that the right to communicate, participate, and ameliorate the plight of children in difficult circum- and be informed, is an essential human right of the children, stances (UNICEF, 1990). as identified in the UNCRC. Hence, the respect for dignity In many of the assemblies, the media’s roles in boasting of man and the right to democratic participation in media for the interests of the child are clearly highlighted, placing children demand holistic policies at all levels form global to demands on the media to play active role in supporting the local levels. To ensure the rights of children, communication rights of the child. The UNCRC calls on the States to “recog- process should be “pluralistic, multicultural and should nize the important function performed by the mass media guarantee freedom and diversity of opinion and expression.” and ensure that the child has access to information towards In this regard, it was agreed that consideration should be the promotion of child’s social, spiritual and moral well- given to existing national regulations, regional and interna- being and physical and mental health” (Art.17, CRC). At the tional conventions, charters, declarations, and recommenda- 1996 Asian Summit on Child Rights and the Media held in tions, which address the question of children and audiovisual Manila, the Philippines (HURIGHTS, 1996), the media is media, especially the International Charter on Media for charged to adopt policies that are consistent with the princi- Children. Besides, it is important to engage the media who ples of nondiscrimination and the best interests of all chil- have the social responsibility on issues such as this and dren, by raising awareness of every sector of the society to make it clear that their participation is essential in address- support children’s interests and protect them from every ing children’s needs and support them for their overall form of abuse, be it economic, commercial, or sexual exploi- development. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the tation as well as from materials that promote sex, violence, growing expressions of concern on the impact of media pro- conflict, and horror. The Oslo Challenge also affirms that grams containing violence, consumerism, gender, and eth- nic stereotyping on children and the need to “preserve the child/media relationship is an entry point into the wide and cultural diversity in a rapidly globalised world, as well as multifaceted world of children and their rights to education, the need for urgent and coordinated action among the media freedom of expression, play, identity, health, dignity and self- actors, in view of the rapid evolutions of technology” respect, protection; and that in every aspect of child rights, in any element of the life of a child, the relationship between (Rajcevic, 2001). children and the media plays a role. (Onumah, 2004, p. 65; The Despite all the aforementioned efforts and many others at MediaWise Trust, 2003) improving the lots of children, the progress has been very slow and the outputs are not commensurate with the invest- In 2000, the Commonwealth Broadcasters met to ratify ment. Children are still in critical situation and their rights the African Charter on Children’s Broadcasting (ACCB). still trampled upon in many developing nations. The media The thrust of the Charter is that broadcast programming responsibility in galvanizing the rights of the child is also far should serve the best interest of the child both in quantity and from being realized and a lot still remains undone in protect- quality. It states that ing the rights of the child. This is what informed a rethinking of the pathways to enabling the media to be actively involved . . . children’s programmes should be of high quality, made in result-oriented deliveries in favor of children. A diagnostic specifically for them, for development of their physical, mental look at the African media in the light of the demands placed Oyero and Salawu 5 on it for children’s purposes shows a lack of capacity to give deliberate attention to children in news coverage, no deliver the expected. Hence, the call for educational frame- matter how unimportant or unworthy children may be for work and partnership to serve as the basis of lasting media news production” (p. 106). Hence, journalism and media capacity engineering to meet the demands placed on it. education that is informed of this ideal will not only keep journalists abreast of this responsibility but also persuades them to give prominent place to children in media coverage. Education does not only transmit culture, but it also builds Imperatives of Children Journalism and and sustain cultural heritage; when media education that Media Education caters for children is well developed and implemented, a The media performance in attending to issues that affect chil- crop of journalists with understanding of children’s needs dren has been very poor. Oyero’s (2011b) study on Nigerian and societal expectation from media will soon develop, and and Ghanaian newspapers on the coverage of children shows children will be properly and better catered for in the media. “a gross under-reportage. In a study that examined five years Every form of education should be designed to solve of newspaper content, reports on children accounted for less problems. It is thus appropriate that journalism and media than one percent of the total stories reported” (p. 102). The education is designed to respond to the problems facing chil- situation is similar with studies conducted by McManus and dren who constitute the future generation. There is dire need Dorfman (2002), Moss (2001), and McNamara (2004) in of media professionals who are equipped with necessary which all show underrepresentation of children and young skills to cater for children’s needs. These needs are multiple people. The result of another study on South African and and diverse. Popularizing child rights among the African Zambian media is not too different. Children continue to be populace is one very central. People need to be informed and underrepresented in mainstream news media in both South educated about human rights of children, so that such rights Africa and Zambia. It was reported that “only 10% of 68 687 could be preserved and ensured. This is necessary to change news content in South Africa focused on children, while of people’s orientation about unfavorable ideas they hitherto the total of 9,859 news stories which appeared in the moni- held about children. Similarly, children themselves need to tored media in Zambia, children only made up 530 (5%) of be educated about their own rights, not only for them to ask the content” (Rikhotso, Morwe, Namumba, Kalu, & Singh, for such rights where possible, but also for them to embrace 2014, p. 6). the culture to practice the same for their own children. This problem is not far from the ignorance of most jour- Another is the advocacy aspect of children’s rights. nalists about children’s issues and their rights, as well as the Journalism and media for children is different from main- expectations of the society from them. Many journalists are stream journalism because it sets out to promote a cause— not informed of the contents of declarations and conventions the cause of children. The claim by mainstream journalism such as the UNCRC, the Oslo Challenge, the West African and journalists is that they are impartial and free of external Regional Summit on Media for Children, the Africa Charter influence, which is usually untrue. The process of news cov- on Children’s Broadcasting, and so on, where children’s erage itself—news selection, angle of coverage, prominence issues are declared as priority as Africans delegates at such given to it, and presentation style—often results in bias. In meetings are often limited, and the spread of resolutions at this regard, advocacy journalists are different from tradi- such meetings are so ineffective in their reach to get others tional journalists because of their readiness to stand by their informed. Most journalists in Africa are trained in linear position and pursue it until they see desirable change. They direction of journalism practice based on the orientations of are usually unequivocal in the pursuit of their goal, and use founders of the institutes who received their own education the values of good journalism to explore issues affecting from the West without consideration for emerging needs of their community or audience (Advocacy Institute, cited in the current times. The journalism practice of the early times Highway Africa, n.d.). Child rights issues need to be con- in Africa was political in nature (Salawu, Oyero, Moyo, & stantly brought to the fore to remind stakeholders and gov- Moyo, 2016), and such was the direction of journalism edu- ernment of their necessary obligations to children. This is cation received. Nationalism struggles and other political achievable through dissemination of quality information interests formed the basis of early journalism practice in through the media who set agenda for such issues and frame Africa, and so developmental issues such as child rights were the issue to shape public dialogue. “The aim of media advo- not envisaged. This journalism orientation can best be cacy and advocacy journalism is to increase the capacity of changed from educational perspective with inculcation of groups within society through in-depth and contextualized new values for developmental areas of the society like the reporting, and in doing so to bring about social change” children’s rights into journalism and media curricula. (Advocacy Institute cited in Salameh, 2005, p. 25). All of The thinking here is that the needed attention that children these require media persons who are properly schooled in the deserve in the media can be obtained by a process of media art of children journalism and media to deliver. education that is rooted in children ideals and orientation. Understanding that children issues are development-centered Oyero (2011a) notes that “it is obligatory for the media to further underscores the need for media education that cares for 6 SAGE Open them. Child rights have become a development issue, and journalists disrespects children and lessens the gravity of every development effort that does not incorporate children child abuse. This occurs because journalists use language that will hit the rock. It is as a result, as earlier noted, that UNICEF minimizes the emotional impact of abuse. To him, therefore, emphasizes that MDGs can only be realized if specific chil- “specialism in writing FOR children” is excellent idea and in dren’s needs are met. In the same vein, the idea of sustainable fact the training should be compulsory for all journalists’ (C. development compels ensuring that the ability of the future Goddard, email personal communication, September 6, generation to meet their own needs is not compromised. 2011). In the same vein, Professor Norma Pecora of the Development journalism should be people-centered, by focus- School of Media Arts and Studies, Scripps College of ing on ideas, programs, activities, projects, and events that are Communication, Ohio University, believed “the idea as related to improving people’s living standards. Development worthwhile in helping media practitioners understand the par- journalism defends the interests of the people and motivates ticular needs of the child” (N. Pecora, email personal com- the audience to actively cooperate in development ventures munication, May 19, 2011). Dean, school of communication, (Okorie, Oyesomi, Oyero, Olatunji, & Soola, 2013; Wimmer Lagos State University, Nigeria, Professor Rotimi Oltunji, & Wolf, 2005). From this perspective, CJMS draws from corroborated the need for this specialization: development journalism, and as such should be taught as a separate educational program with all essential contents. Yes a specialized training on children journalism will both be It is important to know that CJMS deserves this type of necessary and timely. Children constitute a critical mass in every specialism considering the significant place of children in society and attention to their peculiar needs and not sufficiently the world. One can observe that there are other societal issues addressed in mainstream media, Moreover, for the purpose of that have been accorded similar educational status because of niche marketing, it is needful to devote attention to children’s their importance, as obtainable with environmental journal- journalism. Thirdly, such a medium will provide needed avenue for children themselves to get involved in news creation, ism, health journalism, science journalism, financial report- dissemination and consumption as they relate to the plights of ing, and so on. It is therefore not out of place to ensure that children. (Interview, September 2017) journalism education for children issues is entrenched in our journalism training centers in Africa. While recognizing some efforts being made in this direction in places like Ghana The imperatives of CJMS are further justified by children’s and South Africa, much is still required to be done beyond right to media entertainment. African children have not got short-term courses and modules, to instituting a full blown right doses of good entertainment from their own media. program both at undergraduate and graduate levels. It is thus Television programs are generally skewed in favor of politics the right step in the right direction for UNICEF, Rwanda whereas children’s needs are neglected. Most of the chil- partnering with the National Commission for Children and dren’s programs are foreign whereas local contents are lim- Media High Commission to have launched a Child Rights ited to children’s parties organized by schools and monthly Media Module, a guide to ethical reporting and communicat- birthday parties organized by media houses (Omotosho et al., ing of children’s rights and issues in Rwanda in September, 2014). It appears that African broadcast organizations lack 2017. Siddartha Shrestha, the chief of communication, advo- the wherewithal, both in skills and commitment to produce cacy, and partnerships at UNICEF Rwanda notes that quality children’s program. Africa’s airwaves are bombarded “Children are the future of any nation and effective reporting with children’s programs from foreign countries like the about them would increase and maintain children being at United States and Britain. Nickelodeon, Disney, and the heart of the development agenda,” emphasizing the need Celebrity Big Brother have taken over the African’s children to train more journalists and journalism students to ensure media world because Africa has not lived up to expectations that child rights promotion and advocacy is adequately and to provide viable local alternatives. Incidentally, the quality effectively featured in the present and future media environ- of production, the narratives, and other elements of these for- ment. Shrestha affirms that the training of both private and eign productions are far better than the locally produced pro- public university lecturers as well as media practitioners, grams; hence, children have greater preference for them. The reaffirms the commitment to advocate for children’s rights few local programs for children have not met the expecta- (Bizimungu, 2017). tions of the receivers as they often complain of them as being As Oyero (2011a) notes that this idea is a welcome one uninteresting, unexciting, and boring. going by opinions of some scholars and therefore should be This, unfortunately, is a dangerous trend that children and nurtured to fruition. Professor Chris Goddard, director of young people find pleasure in these foreign programs which Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia, Monash come to create their culture and define their reality in opposi- University, lent his support to the idea of specialized journal- tion to their cultural systems and demands. This, of course, ism education on children. According to him, he had “long breeds conflict as children try to express themselves from the thought that ALL journalists should have training on writing cultural background that has been created for them by the ABOUT children.” He confirmed that findings from his cen- foreign entertainment, contrary to their cultural systems and ter’s research have shown how pattern of language use by expectations. The African youth culture is now driven by the Oyero and Salawu 7 characters, stories, and values of the global network of Again, one critical aspect of children and media experi- imported children’s programming. The Nickelodeon televi- ence that is lacking in Africa is research. African children’s sion channel is available in at least 171 world markets media experiences are neglected in research activities. This (Hendershort, 2004; Pecora, 1997) and the popular gap exists due to the absence of children media education Nickelodeon character, SpongeBob, is available to children system where scholars focus on researching about children. in many African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Pecora, Murray, and Wartella (2007) cited by Pecora and and South Africa; but where are the African locally produced Osei-Hwere (2008, p. 15) observe that for a period of “20 programs for children? Omotosho et al. (2014) lament about years of analysing the research done on children and televi- Nigerian children that they are now “more familiar with sion, there was no discussion on African children published Ben10, Dora the explorer and Barney than they were with in US academic journals.” A lot of issues regarding children Tales by Moonlight.” They note that TV programs in the and media in Africa require serious research. African chil- 1990s had better contents in form of educational materials, dren as media audiences need to be investigated to under- moral, and value-based issues, but the opposite is the situa- stand their pattern of media reception, choices, consumption tion today with foreign TV programs and cartoons. This pattern, and preferences. Making the media content more automatically translates, not only to loss of African value appropriate to different categories of African children also system, but also loss of identity. This poses a challenge to requires further learning in which research is a priority. The media education in Africa. There is need to train producers of aspects of children rights is still very much in place and good media stories that will attract and sustain the interests largely un-researched. How the media can effectively accom- of African child; hence, the importance of CJMS. plish the tasks assigned to it by the world body in respect of Preservation of African values, culture, and ideals for child rights in Africa in particular requires rigorous research. future generation is another compelling reason for CJMS. This can only be done by academics in African institutions The experience of African child should capture both past and whose interests lie in children and media. the present; this will be possible when children, from their The aims of CJMS therefore will be to provide “to equip childhood, are made to understand African histories, prov- students with knowledge of children journalism/media prac- erbs, stories, and so on through creative productions in forms tice in Africa and the world through the study of concepts, of video, films, and literatures. The Nigerian Television theories and methods that provide such knowledge” (Oyero, Authority’s children’s program, Tales by Moonlight is a good 2011a, p. 108). It will teach students about modern develop- reference point to this. The program features children gather- ments and technology for production of children’s programs, ing around an elderly person to listen to well-dramatized as well as information processing for and of children through African stories. The program is an adaptation of part of cul- the mass media, with emphasis on online journalism. tural life of the traditional Yoruba society in Nigeria where Furthermore, it will aim at engineering efficient and effective children were made to sit with the elders at moon-times to communication support services for various human and listen to stories. The program educates children about their national development projects aimed at the fulfillment of the traditional cultural life; it imparts wisdom and educates chil- rights of the child. The program will also gear toward dren about good values and morals in the society. Pattern of research activities on a continuous basis into the state of such a program and other similar ones need to be sustained African child “communication media, and make the findings by being incorporated into CJMS and taught as part of indig- available to policy makers towards formulation of appropri- enous communication system in media institutes. ate policies for the operation and management of the Africa’s CJMS will expand the media world of children as profes- communication industry for the benefit of children” (Oyero, sionals who can cater for the best interest of the child and are 2011a). trained to meet children’s media needs. The current imperial- The core contents of the program will include the ism of African children media airwaves by the foreign media following: would only be tackled if professionals who can provide via- ble alternatives are trained to do so. It thus follows then that Theories of children media: This course introduces stu- the training of children media professionals will provide the dents to mass communication theory as it relates to practi- much-needed alternative that will meet the children’s cul- cal applications in today’s society. To assist in the use of tural, social, and educational needs. This is the only thing mass media, students need to better understand how theo- that will ensure that the cultural rights of the African child ries can explain the role of media in the lives of children are met. There is no way that the global media network will as individuals and as members of social group. This meet the children’s cultural needs. It is against this back- knowledge is important to help guide and critique today’s ground that the CRC requires the media to disseminate mate- changing media industries as it affects children in con- rial of social and cultural benefit to the child and, in particular, temporary Africa. give consideration to “the linguistic needs of the child who Children media research: This course provides an over- belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous” (The view of qualitative and quantitative research methods United Nations, 1989, art 17). used in the investigation of topics related to studying the 8 SAGE Open children media. Methods covered include textual analy- world. It deals with the issue of costs and benefits that sis, ethnographic methods, qualitative approaches to his- accompany the production of children media content, as torical research, and feminist approaches to media well as the plan, production, and delivery of this content. research as well as survey and content analysis. The Emphasis is given to the economic gains of running a course should examine the important steps, tools, and course of this nature. techniques used in these methods. Particular attention is paid to the application of these methods in doing research on children and media, including impact assessment of Media Partnership for Generational Sustain- media content on children and determining the suitability ability of programs for children. Legal and ethical aspect of children journalism: Within As earlier noted, from a statement in Oslo challenge, “the the broad scope of journalism ethics, the specific ethical child/media relationship is an entry point into the wide and consideration for reporting about children and media pro- multifaceted world of children and their rights” because duction for children. It discusses ethical and moral stan- media plays a role in every aspect of a child’s life. Children dards for the Mass Media in the coverage of children and need the media to survive and grow. Media generally serve ethical responsibilities of individuals, groups, and media today as one of the most central socializing agents in forming organizations on children. It will examine how mass com- behaviors, attitudes, and worldviews (Kolucki & Lemish, munication law works in this country with an emphasis on 2011). Comstock and Scharrer (2012) note that “children and the Convention of the Rights of the Child and its domesti- adolescents’ viewing of television and other screen media cation in the form of Child Rights Act in the country. account for a substantial portion of their time expenditures, Communication for children development: This course and children between the ages 8 to 18 spend 5 hours daily deals with the role of communication–mass media, multi- watching television” (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). TV media, indigenous, and other communication channels in in particular plays a great role both in the social life and edu- the overall development of children. It targets various cational life of children. Children learn subjects like maths, methods of appropriate communication for stakeholders English language, chemistry, and so on from TV. Sesame in respect of fulfillment of children’s rights. Street is an example of impactful TV program that helps chil- Educational broadcasting for children: This course deals dren’s scholarly achievement (Fish, 2014; “The Sesame with various methods and techniques involved in produc- Street Effect,” 2015). Television and other media as well are ing programs for radio and television that will serve edu- social media that affect every aspect of daily life such as cational purposes for children. dressing, shopping, eating, talking, and so on. Media also News writing and reporting: A course focusing on news make children conscious of their environment and grow up reporting and writing techniques used in both traditional as active and conscious citizens as opposed to being apa- print media and Internet publishing and broadcast media. thetic (Livingstone, 2008). Thus, media’s role in children’s Students will be introduced to the basics of accuracy, clar- lives covers the mental, social, physical, and spiritual well- ity, word choice, journalistic style, story structure, and being. It is therefore important that African media organiza- deadlines. It will teach style and structure of news stories, tions and agencies collaborate to better the lots of children. news sources, newsroom practices, and procedures with As obtained in opinions gathered, partnership is required in reporting assignments for both print and broadcast media creation of awareness, training, and in experience on how to on children issues. report children. Journalists can establish Children’s Club of Children television production: The course deals with respective organs. This can take place in schools and reli- theory and practice of TV production. Supervised direc- gious organizations. Media can also organize Summer tion in all aspects of media presentation meant for chil- Schools where the opinions of children will be aggregated, dren of different ages. and opportunities will be presented to deepen children’s Children TV cartoon production: The course will involve knowledge and skills on human rights–related issues. theory and practice of TV cartoon production for African Collaboration will boost media efforts at popularizing the children, bringing African cultural values to bear on the rights of the child and enhance their advocacy project. content of the production. Information available at a region will not be limited to the Child audiences: The course examines the way children region alone but reach other parts of Africa. Such partnership of different categories experience media news and enter- could also galvanize the process of helping children when tainment in the context of social influences and expecta- successful experiences in that direction in one part of the tions. It examines children’s attitudes and behaviors to continent are shared with others. The aspect of media pro- different media, and the influence of new media on chil- duction for children will also benefit a lot from partnership dren’s consumption of media content. among African media. There could be joint production of Economics of children media: This course deals with the children’s programs, thus reducing the burden of financial business and financing of children media in a developing and human resources for such projects. It will also be easier Oyero and Salawu 9 to secure necessary funds from donors as a network to pursue ORCID iD children’s media contents. Partnership could also facilitate Olusola Oyero https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7795-5516 sharing or exchanges of media content among various media organizations in different parts of the continent, thus fulfill- References ing one of the UNCRC guidelines of encouraging “interna- African Child Policy Forum. (2009). The voices of children and tional co-operation in the production, exchange and youth in west and central Africa: A synthesis report of the chil- dissemination of such information and material from a diver- dren’s and youth polls in ten central and west African countries sity of cultural, national and international sources” (Art 17b). (Unpublished survey report). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Author. Partnership will also ensure that common challenges fac- African Child Policy Forum. (2013). The African report on child ing the continent, as relates to media concerns, are tackled wellbeing 2013: Towards greater accountability to Africa’s cooperatively. One can readily think of the quest for peace in children. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Author. African Child Policy Forum. (2016). The African report on child Africa and the need for the media to orientate Africans to be wellbeing 2016. Getting it right: Bridging the gap between peace-minded. One way of accomplishing this is by nurtur- policy and practice. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Author. ing children with ideals of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Network and altruism. If children from today are inculcated with val- Path and Application Diagnostics & UNICEF. (2003). The ues of peace, then in 20 years’ time with those values imbibed young face of NEPAD: Children and young people in the and the process sustained, one can guarantee the continent New Partnership for Africa’s Development. New York, NY: enjoying a great deal of peace than it currently does. UNICEF. This partnership then is a project that should be pursued Bizimungu, J. (2017, September 6). Bringing child rights to the either by exploring existing platforms or initiating new attention of media. The New Times. Retrieved from https:// ones. The Network of African Journalists is an existing search.proquest.com/docview/1935728946?accountid=145057 forum that can be used for this purpose. Those who report Brundtland, G. H., & World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future: Report of the for and about children among them could form a subnet- World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: work to fulfill the objectives of reporting for children. The Oxford University. same applies to Commonwealth Broadcasters Association Comstock, G., & Scharrer, E. (2012). The use of television and other (CBA) who already formulated and adopted the ACCB. screen media. In D. G. Singer & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook African participants among them and other broadcast orga- of children and the media (pp. 13-44). 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Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser studies in the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant Family Foundation. University, Ota, Nigeria. He teaches communication theories and Rikhotso, M. O., Morwe, K. L., Namumba, L., Kalu, G. A., & research, development communication and journalism. His research Singh, R. (2014). Children in the news, seen but not heard. interests include child rights and the media, media and democratic Johannesburg: Media Monitoring Africa and Media Network governance. on the Child Rights and Development. Abiodun Salawu is professor of Journalism, Communication and Salameh, B. A. (2005). Training kit on: Community media: Media Studies and director of the research entity, Indigenous Empowering media sector in Hebron-Palestine. West Bank: Language Media in Africa (ILMA) at the North-West University, International Palestinian Youth League. South Africa. He has taught and researched journalism for over two Salawu, A., Oyero, O., Moyo, M., & Moyo, R. (2016). A survey decades in Nigeria and South Africa. He has to his credit, scores of of research foci and paradigms in media and communication scholarly publications in academic journals and books. master’s dissertations and doctoral theses in south Africa.

Journal

SAGE OpenSAGE

Published: Mar 19, 2018

Keywords: media capacity; sustainability; children; education; partnership; Africa

References