In this year when we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, focusing the public’s attention on the living conditions of children remains a central priority.
For while the Convention inspired an international movement committed to recognizing each boy and girl as a subject of rights, and led to policies and initiatives with a positive impact on the quality of life of the youngest population segments, in many regions large numbers of children continue to be deprived of full development, whether through the denial of access to fundamental rights, including education and health, or the severe situations of risk they face from an array of manifestations of violence.
This setting directly underscores the challenge Latin America confronts as the most unequal continent on earth. It also reinforces the regional news media’s critical role in monitoring government action and fostering debate on public policies aimed at guaranteeing and promoting the rights of children.
This publication is designed to assist the media on these two fronts. The pages below are based on a study conducted by the Brazilian News Agency for Children’s Rights (Agência de Notícias dos Direitos da Infância – ANDI) and the member agencies of the ANDI Latin America Network (Rede ANDI América Latina) of the news media’s coverage in 12 countries from 2005 to 2007. A total of 795,000 stories were reviewed covering a diversity of topics related to the rights and quality of life of the youngest age groups.
The results point to progress, particularly in the number of published articles, a development that is both promising and reveals, in relation to the previous survey, a growing interest on the part of the media in issues connected to the social agenda. At the same time, the analysis indicates the need to foster a more pluralistic and contextualized approach through more indepth consideration of the phenomena affecting children and of the proposed solutions to the challenges confronting them.
We hope the data in the pages that follow – and their accompanying analysis –contribute to news coverage capable of bolstering the continent’s efforts toward a more inclusive and sustainable development model. Yet ANDI and the ANDI Latin America Network are keenly aware that quality news reporting does not only depend on the activities of qualified professionals but on the information furnished by their key sources. In this light, it is our belief that Rights, Childhood, and the Public Agenda will also serve as a tool to guide social actors in their ongoing interaction with the media.
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