The intersection of children's rights and journalism - an analysis of the Portuguese scenario
Ciências da Comunicação Universidade Nova de Lisboa/Universidade de Fortaleza Lisboa, Portugal
A new identity construction, like children as subjects of rights, takes time to be socially legitimate and to be converted into generalized social practice. Almost two decades after been approved the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - an International document valid as Law -, the task of fully implementation is still in its beginning.
The media, the main and sometimes the only way to diffuse debates about the social world, is a fundamental actor in this process of identity construction, specially the news media. As an essential tool of democracy, it has an important role to promote and protect the Human Rights, including the children's Rights, and the CRC is an instrument for this change. Three articles in that document refer directly to the media and points towards more journalistic attention to childhood issues, to a greater children's participation as source of information and to the preservation of their privacy in topics that affect their interests.
The goal of this article is to improve the understanding about the intersection of journalism and children's rights. How has this recent perspective been framed by the news media? What are the patterns and trends on children issues coverage? What is the nature of media' practices? How are the journalists and news sources perception of this debate? To answer those questions, this article analyses the journalistic production in Portugal, one of the first countries to ratify the CRC, and some of the findings of in depth interviews with Portuguese journalists and individuals used by the media as sources of information.