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In most traditional families when adults are talking children are not given the floor to speak for themselves. Children have particular rights that recognise their special need for protection, this position emerged at a recent child friendly reporting workshop hosted by the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children.

The media is a significant force in modern culture and its message promotes not only products but moods, attitudes and a sense of what is and what is not important in our society. There is a g need for the media to recognise the responsibility it plays in creating influential perceptions especially when dealing with issues affecting children. Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children is the umbrella body of the child rights sector and its primary concern is the welfare of children. ZNCWC’s vision is the full enjoyment of rights and responsibilities by children as citizens of Zimbabwe. The organisation also goes an extra mile by acting as a media monitoring watchdog and deriving aocacy points from issues arising from media coverage.

The main message that was preached at the workshop was that the media should stop portraying children as victims but as victors. The major issues that children have been written about as victims are infanticide, sexual abuse, sodomy, pedophilia, child labour and child prostitution. Children are an important pillar of any country and are brought up within the nucleus entity commonly known as the family. In Zimbabwe the young people constitute a bigger percentage of the population. According to a survey by Save the Children Zimbabwe, children and other young people constitute up to 70 percent of the population.

One of the founding values and principles of Zimbabwe that is enshrined in the Constitution is respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms. In order to understand children’s rights one first needs to understand the human rights.

Beyond the long-term benefits to children and the societies they grow to lead, children should be given an appropriate way to participate in adult decision making. Such decisions and actions tend to be more positive, more creative, more energetic and more fruitful.

Source : The Herald