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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Abstract

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
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Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 15:16
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2015 15:19
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2290

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