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Journalism and Children's Rights: Developing a Child's Rights Syllabus for Students of Journalism, Media or Communications Studies and for Online Self-Training

Research funded by: UNICEF

This project, commissioned by UNICEF Regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS), will develop curriculum training materials for journalism and professional communications departments in CEE/CIS on the subject of Journalism and Children’s Rights. Reform and modernisation of the curriculum of journalism schools in the region is recognised as the most effective means of ensuring a responsible media. The educational materials will provide an understanding of children’s rights as articulated in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and develop among trainee journalists news reporting skills that encompass the rights of the children in all matters relating to children’s participation in the media. 

The news media in the CEE/CIS region have a very different history to other parts of the world, and very little consideration has been given to a critically-informed, rights-based approach to the representation of children or the reporting of children’s issues in the media.  Journalistic ethics, central to the curriculum of journalism education in modern western societies, do not feature in the curriculum of journalism schools in CEE/CIS and the tradition of an independent, responsible media as a fourth pillar of democracy is virtually non-existent. The project will develop appropriate educational and training materials designed to embed at source the concept of children’s rights among students of journalism/media/communications for specific implementation in relevant media training schools of the CEE/CIS.

Research team: Michael Foley, Lecturer in Journalism (School of Media), Dr Noirin Hayes and Dr Brian O’Neill. 

The team has extensive experience of media and journalism development projects in Eastern Europe, particularly in partnership with BBC World Service Trust.  This is the first CSER project to be supported by UNICEF.