Media - Childrens Rights Reform


The media and the CRC

Article 42 CRC stipulates that States Parties should undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.

Media, which includes mass media and social media, can play a crucial role in disseminating the CRC (CRC GC 5, para. 70).

In addition, article 17 CRC provides that States Parties must recognise the important function performed by the mass media and ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources.

States Parties have a duty to create an environment which facilitates entities such as the media to fulfil their responsibilities (CRC GC 5, para. 56).

Mass media, including advertising and marketing, can have positive as well as negative impacts on children’s rights.

  • Under article 17 CRC, States Parties have obligations to encourage the mass media, including private media, to disseminate information and materials of benefit to the child.
  • The media must be appropriately regulated to protect children from harmful information and content.
  • States Parties should encourage the mass media to develop guidelines to ensure full respect for the rights of the child (CRC GC 16, para. 58).

Role of the media in children’s rights legislative reform

By bringing children's rights challenges and violations to public attention, the media can be instrumental in generating a demand for legislative reform.

E.g.: In Canada, ‘Making the Grade’ shows how the media and schools can empower children themselves to take the initiative in promoting new and revised legislation for their own benefit. Public support for the entire process has been strong, and students (with guidance from their teachers and experts in dealing with political matters) have been successful in lobbying politicians and civil servants (UNICEF, 2008).

The media also plays an essential role in informing the public about children’s rights issues and legislative reform, hence creating space for public engagement and consultation in the process.

  • Public authorities can partner with the media for public awareness campaigns and consultations.

This requires the media to have training on children’s rights issues and be informed about the content and process of legislative reform.

  • The media can be used for wider distribution of legislative analysis made by technical teams and share outcomes of the consultation (although this primarily is a government responsibility).
  • The media can provide information to the public and increase awareness on new or revised legislative legislation.

For more information, see UNICEF Ethical Reporting Guidelines.