MediaWise (formerly PressWise) has taken a special interest in issues associated with media coverage of children and children’s engagement with the media.

In 1997 we organised a major conference as part of the UK response to the 1996 Stockholm World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Later that year the MediaWise Director Mike Jempson was appointed Media Child Rights Co-ordinator for the International Federation of Journalists.

The Trust has continued to work with UNICEF and the IFJ on a variety of projects, conducting research, contributing to international conferences, and devising and delivering training around the world.

The Media and Children’s Rights (Third edition, 2010)
MediaWise/UNICEF handbook for media professionals and others to consider how the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child might impact upon the way children are represented in and by the media. Originally published in 1999 it was updated and re-published in 2006 and 2010.

The Oslo Challenge and Beyond: A view from the inside (2009)
Prepared by Mike Jempson for Representations of children in news media: rights, research and policy: Revisiting the Oslo Challenge, a one-day conference looking back over 10 years since the Oslo Challenge.

Talking to journalists: A MediaWise guide for young people (2006)
By Mike Jempson, produced for the Child Rights Information Network.

First newspage by and for children launched in Iran (2006)
Publication followed MediaWise workshop organised by UNICEF in Tehran.

Tipsheet: How to report on children in crises (2006)
Written by Mike Jempson for Reuters AlertNet.

Slander, sentimentality or silence? (2005)
Produced by Mike Jempson for issue 221 of childRIGHT, the journal of law and policy affecting children and young people in England and Wales, published by the Children’s Legal Centre in association with the University of Essex.

Children’s rights versus press freedom – who wins? (2005)
This conference was held at the Forum in Bath on 11 November 2005. Hosted by the social care charity Quarriers, it examined whether press freedom conflicts with children’s rights and made recommendations for future action. MediaWise helped to organise the event and provided speakers.

Young People Now Positive Images Awards (2005)
MediaWise Director Mike Jempson was part of the judging panel for the inaugural awards celebrating the best media coverage of young people, Young People Now.

Children and Media – A Global Concern (2003)
Resource paper prepared as a contribution to two events: Child Rights and the Media: Asia Regional Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, and Media for Democracy in Africa: Children and Media Workshop in Cape Town, South Africa.

Shocking Images – Taking Pictures of Children (2002)
Commentary on the use of imagery.

Children and the Sex Tourism Trade: Awareness Training for Media Professionals (2002)
Written by Charlotte Barry and Mike Jempson, this article appeared in Child Rights and the Media: Putting Children in the Right – Guidelines for Journalists and Media Professionals, a handbook produced by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

MAGIC – Media Activities and Good Ideas by, with and for Children (2001-2)
As part of the follow-up the 1999 Oslo Challenge, PressWise and Media Action International were commissioned by UNICEF to develop an information resource about children and the media. The result was the MAGIC website, which contains a wealth of material from around the world. Designed for use by children, parents, teachers, media professionals, and policy-makers, the website features information from youth media projects in every continent, formal declarations about the media responsibilities towards children, an array of useful links, and a series of articles by PressWise Director Mike Jempson. An electronic MAGIC network has been established which enables media practitioners and young people from around the world to communicate with each other.

Children, Violence and the Media in an Expanding Europe (2000-01)
This pilot project set out to develop training materials for print and broadcast journalists to improve media coverage of children affected by violence. Working with the International Federation of Journalists, media groups and child welfare organisations, PressWise devised and tested training modules, organised seminars and compiled reference sources including bibliographies and websites.

Representing Lost Childhood (1999-2001)
A 2-year international partnership project sponsored by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, providing training around issues of representation for children affected by conflict, working with media professionals, NGOs and children in developing economies. RLC training courses were organised Armenia, Georgia, India, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Peru, The Philippines and Romania. Each event included meetings with media professionals, media regulators, and media interviews. Reports of each are available on request.

Developing Child Friendly Media (1999)
Contribution by Mike Jempson to Children & Media: Image, Education, Participation, 1999 Yearbook of UNESCO International Clearinghouse on Children and Violence on the Screen. This paper was originally prepared as a contribution to debate among media professionals, regulators and policy makers in the South East Asia/Pacific region about how best the media can serve children’s interests.

The Oslo Challenge (1999)
In November 1999 PressWise Director Mike Jempson contributed to a three-day workshop with young people, media practitioners and UNICEF staff which led to the production of The Oslo Challenge, on the 10th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The challenge, directed at young people, media practitioners, teachers, and policy-makers, was designed to encourage a positive relationship between young people and the media. Laid down at a meeting organised by the Norwegian government and UNICEF on 20 November 1999, The Oslo Challenge goes out to everyone engaged in exploring, developing, monitoring and participating in the complex relationship between children and the media. This includes governments, organisations and individuals working for children, media professionals at all levels and in all media, the private sector including media owners, children and young people, parents, teachers and researchers.

Children and Publicity (1997)
This commentary considers the positive and negative impact of children appearing in documentary-style TV programmes about young people under the age of 16 considered in some sense to be ‘at risk’. It was written by Mike Jempson and David Niven and submitted to to the Royal College of Paediatrics Ethics Committee.

Information and Child Rights: The Challenge of Media Engagement (1997)
A comprehensive study of journalism codes of conduct from around the world by Bill Norris, with commentary from Mike Jempson, which led to an international campaign by the IFJ to increase awareness among media professionals and the adoption of guidelines for the reporting of children.

Children in the Picture: Media Ethics and the Reporting of Child Labour (1997)
A report prepared by PressWise on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for the 1997 Oslo International Conference on Child Labour, and developed in consultation with the International Labour Organisation.

Child Exploitation and the Media Forum (1997)
An investigation of the problems caused when the abuse of children hits the headlines, organised by PressWise in association with the UK charity Action on Child Exploitation and some 40 other statutory bodies and NGOs, as part of the UK’s response to the Stockholm World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (1996). The report and recommendations of Elizabeth Lawson QC, who chaired the event, proved to be extremely influential in the revision of the guidelines issued by the Broadcasting Standards Commission and other UK regulators. Full forum documentation is available on request.

Writing about wrongs (1989)
Commentary on press coverage in the wake of the crisis about sexually abused children in Cleveland by Mike Jempson. This article was originally published in The Drama of Cleveland: A monitoring report on press coverage of the sexual abuse of children and controversy in Cleveland by Pauline Illsley (published by the Campaign for Press & Broadcasting Freedom and the Standing Committee on Sexually Abused Children).

Further resources on the media and children are available here.