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Scribes form child rights body

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Malawian journalists have teamed up to form an organisation, Media Advocates for the Advancement of Child Rights (MAACR) aimed at championing children’s rights through media advocacy.

Speaking in Mzuzu during the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Foundation for Children’s Rights (FCR), the organisation’s interim president Mallick Mnela said journalists have a critical role to play in advancing children’s rights.

“Journalists have a crucial role to play in advancing children’s rights. We hope through peer-to-peer mentorship and other training programmes, Malawian journalists will begin to articulate issues of child rights in a more informed manner,” said Mnela.

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According to Mnela, the newly established organisation conducted a snap baseline study in November and December last year which revealed that coverage of children’s issues remain low in the country’s newspapers.

Executive Director of FCR Jenifer Mkandawire underscored the importance of enhancing reporting children’s issues in the country’s media, saying it will help provide solutions to problems children are facing in the country.

“Journalists have done well in reporting violation of children’s rights – mainly based on court proceedings and police arrests. By partnering with an organisation of media practitioners, we expect to witness some change,” Mkandawire said.

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The interim leadership of the MAACR is made up of Malawi Broadcasting Station’s Bashir Amin who is Treasurer, Mandy Pondani of Times Group who is Secretary General while executive committee members are Martha Chirambo and Golden Matonga of Nation Publications Limited, Angelina Tsiga and Chancy Muloza of Zodiak Broadcasting Station and Frank Tembo – Kauteka of Mzimba Community Radio.

Among others, the grouping will promote children’s rights in the news by scrutinising efforts to protect those rights and challenging those who fail to meet their commitments to children in line with journalism professional standards.

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