The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ghana, has urged journalists to protect and promote the rights of children through ethical reporting.
Madam E. Offeibea Baddoo, the Communications Officer of UNICEF Ghana, said maintaining ethical standards was the responsibility of every journalist.
She urged journalists to desist from using images of victims of child abuse in their publications, since they would end up exposing them to public ridicule.
Madam Baddoo, who was speaking at a seminar for journalists on Ethical Reporting on Children, said in Ghana children faced high levels of abuse, violence and exploitation in various forms.
She said strengthening of the Child and Family Welfare System would provide a safe and protective environment for children to grow and realise their full potential.
The seminar, which was organised by UNICEF, was aimed at building the capacity of journalists to report accurately on children and ethnics.
Madam Baddoo said the adolescent age group was a huge challenge, which UNICEF had not done much about.
She said in Ghana one million out of two million girls, aged between 15 and 19 years, were anaemic and they generally got tired easily, were weak, and unable to perform tasks.
Madam Baddoo said they also often did poorly at school and that menstruation and inadequate intake of iron-rich foods contributed to the problem.
“To help address the problem, UNICEF gives out one tablet of folic acid, weekly to girls in its project areas in five regions, namely; Volta, Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West.”
She said currently their priority areas were inequality, adolescents, and Early Childhood Development.
On Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Madam Baddoo said if every household were to have its own toilet, diarrhoea would be halved and cholera epidemics would be a thing of the past.
“In Ghana, five out of every six people do not have safe household toilets,” she said.
Professor Kwame Karikari, the Dean of the School of Communication Studies, Wisconsin International University College, called for concerted efforts for child protection.
He said there was the need for a holistic approach by all stakeholders such as government, civil society organisations, the media and parents/guardians to protect the legitimate rights of children.
He noted that it was important to ensure that children were freed from all forms of abuses and inhumane treatments.