Child activists want focus on positive narratives

A child protection specialist with UNICEF has asked the media to devote more attention to conversations that cast issues about children in a positive light.

Madam Emelia Allan observed that reportage on child trafficking has changed from “dramatic exposes to an in-depth agenda setting public interest report” which has succeeded in changing the way the public looks at the subject.

She said as the media collaborated with other stakeholders, same is expected to address the various forms of child abuse which remains a “pertinent issue of national concern.”

Allan made the call at a press soiree to interact with the media on the need to be advocates for the Ghanaian Against Child Abuse (GACA) campaign launched in November last year.

The child protection specialist reposed confidence in the media to play that critical role in effecting behavioural and social change on issues of child abuse.

According to the Child Discipline Report derived from the Multi-indicator Cluster Survey on Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 35 low and middle income countries in 2005/6, Ghana ranked 7th highest with children aged between 20 and 14 who have experienced violence within a certain month.

The Ghana Statistical Service in 2016 also reported that more than 38.2 per cent of adolescent girls between 15 and 19 were reported to have experienced at least one act of sexual violence while child labour figures also stood around 1.5 million.

Allan called on the media to take centre stage in changing the conversation to reverse these alarming trends.

Communication Officer, Offeibea Baddoo, asked the media to be guided by the sensitive nature of issues around children and stop the sensationalism which are also forms of abuse of the children.

She advised practitioners to rather focus on the perpetrators of the abuse and not the victims as have been seen over the years.

Director of Community Development, Mr Paul Avoka, referred to the social network system that was available in the past to ensure that the community took collective ownership of nurturing child.

“So for GACA, we want to go back to our tradition and culture and see the positive things we used to do to protect children.

He said it was in the light of protecting the Ghanaian child that they are seeking partnership with the media to support the GACA initiatve.

By Godfred Tawiah Gogo