The Role of News Media in Fostering Children’s Democratic Citizenship

Authored by: Cynthia Carter

The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138665545
eBook ISBN: 9781315619835
Adobe ISBN:


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The news media are central to the advancement of children’s civic inclusion in democratic societies. They have an informal responsibility to each new generation to help establish, from a young age, a sense of public belonging as well as individual and collective political responsibility. News organisations also have formal duties towards children such as those related to specific Articles in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNICEF 1989), ensuring, for instance, that children have ‘freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice and empowerment’ (Article 13). Additionally, Article 17 obliges that signatories ‘recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources […]’. To realise this latter aim, mass media need to ‘disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child’ through international cooperation to produce and disseminate a wide variety of cultural forms, take into account different linguistic and minority group cultural needs, and development of guidelines to protect children from information and material which might cause them harm.

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