Journalism education and children's rights: New approaches to media development in CEE/CIS countries

Foley, M. and Hayes, N. and O'Neill, B. (2012) Journalism education and children's rights: New approaches to media development in CEE/CIS countries. Irish Studies in International Affairs, 23 (1). pp. 47-48. ISSN 03321460 (ISSN)

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In 2008 Dublin Institute of Technology and UNICEF collaborated in the development of a unique approach to journalism education in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions. Universities in Turkey, Romania, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan in partnership introduced a new child-rights syllabus into their respective journalism programmes. Instead of the traditional approach of providing limited training to professional journalists on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the objective of this initiative-entitled Child Rights and Journalism Practice-has been to embed at source the concept of children's rights, with a view to enhancing overall standards in journalism. The media in the CEE/CIS countries have a quite different history to other parts of the world, and the tradition of an independent, responsible media as a fourth pillar of democracy is virtually non-existent. The media have effectively been a mouthpiece of government, offering no challenge to the status quo. Largely characterised by an absence of informed, serious discourse, poor standards in journalism reflect the parlous state of civil society as a whole. By focusing on journalism in the context of the academy and raising awareness of children's rights from a journalistic perspective, the project seeks to provide a relatively safe space for critical engagement with journalistic ethics and values. Children are targets of, or are implicated in, nearly all aspects of public policy, yet are largely invisible in news-media coverage, and rarely have their voices heard in matters affecting them. By using the UNCRC as both a lens for critically reflecting on media coverage and representation of children, and as a platform for developing a civic journalism that might otherwise be difficult, the project promotes improved media standards and a greater awareness among students, educators and media professionals of human-rights protection. A particular feature of the programme has been the use of new media, both in the delivery of training and as an opportunity for building alternative journalism platforms, ensuring that journalism education is integral to the changing media landscape of the countries concerned.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Export Date: 23 February 2015; Correspondence Address: Foley, M.; Dublin Institute of TechnologyIreland; email:; References: (1787) Jefferson to Edward Carrington; Keane, J., (1991) Media and Democracy, p. 2. , London; Habermas, J., (1992) Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, , Cambridge, orig. 1962; Keane, Media and Democracy, p. 35; Kovach, B., Rosenstiel, T., (2003) The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and The Public Should Expect, p. 4. , London; McGonagle, M., (1996) A Textbook On Media Law, 34 (94), pp. 255+258. , Dublin; Sen, A., (1999) Development As Freedom, p. 152. , Oxford; Strömbeck, J., 'In search of a standard: Four models of democracy and their normative implications for journalism' (2005) Journalism Studies, 6 (3), pp. 331-345; Strömbeck, 'In Search of a Standard', p. 340; Carey, J., 'A republic, if you can keep it' (1997) James Carey: A Critical Reader, 207-227, p. 210. , in Eve Stryker Munson and Catherine A.Warren (eds), London; Gross, P., 'Before, during, and after: Journalism education' (1999) Eastern European Journalism: Before, During and After Communism, 147-180, p. 148. , in Jerome Aumente, Peter Gross, Ray Hiebert, Owen Johnson and Dean Mills (eds), New York; Gross, P., 'Albania' (1994) Looking to The Future: A Survey of Journalism Education In Central and Eastern Europe and The Former Soviet Union, 4-6, p. 4. , in Ray Eldon Hiebert, Peter Gross, Dean Mills, Timothy Kenny and Maurice Fliess, Arlington VA; Sparks, C., (1998) Communism, Capitalism and The Mass Media, p. 43. , London; Nelson, M., Susman-Peña, T., (2011) Rethinking Media Development: A Report On the Media Map Project, p. 5. ,, 1 July 2012; Gross, P., 'Forward to the past: The intractable problems of Romania's media system' (2008) International Journal of Press/Politics, 13 (2), p. 146; Ognianova, E., 'Farewell to parachute professors in East-Central Europe' (1995) Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 50 (1), pp. 34-47; Sparks, Communism, Capitalism and The Mass Media, p. 176; Merrill, J.C., 'Obstacles to the professionalization of mass media in post-Soviet Central Asia: A case study of Uzbekistan' (2003) Journalism Studies, 4 (1), pp. 91-103; Hume, E., (2004) The Media Missionaries: American Support For Journalism Excellence and Press Freedom Around the Globe, p. 33. , Miami, FL; McBride, K., 'Beyond Puff: Writing About Kids', , l/17374/beyond-puff-writing-about-kids/#.T7WBwrGtfM4.mailto, Poynter Institute (Florida, 2003), 2 July 2012; Jempson, M., Norris, B., 'Information and child rights: The challenge of media engagement' International Federation of Journalists For Press Wise Trust, , d-127, 2 July 2012; Griffin, J., (2008) On Human Rights, pp. 94-95. , Oxford; 'Convention On the Rights of the Child', ,, UNICEF, 2 July 2012; Young People's Media Network In Europe and Central Asia, ,, Further information is, 2 July 2012;, Media Monitoring Project, 2 July 2012Foley, M., Nóirín, H., O'Neill, B., (2008) Children's Rights and Journalism Practice: A Rights-based Perspective, , Dublin;, NoteMorrow, R.A., Torres, C.A., (2002) Reading Freire and Habermas: Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Social Change, , New York
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 15:16
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2015 15:19

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