Director of the Child Protection Agency Ann Greene on Thursday implored members of the media to play their part in helping to protect children.
She was at the time addressing media personnel at a Media Stakeholders’ Meeting at the Cara Lodge, which was facilitated by the Rights of the Child Commission with technical support from United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Centre for Communication Studies at the University of Guyana. It was held under the theme,
‘Putting children first in media – Towards the Development of a code of conduct for ethical reporting on children’.
Greene stressed the importance of media organisations, regarding violations of the rights of children and issues related to child safety. “At all times, the child must be protected.
That means that one must guard against visually or otherwise identifying children unless it is demonstrably in the public interest,” she stated.
Greene stated that the media needs to do more advocacy.
“The media can play a significant role in child protection through forming and influencing of people’s attitude and behaviours,” she said.
She added that child protection is no easy task and that everyone should make it their business and not just the agency’s business. “It is not a one person thing. Safeguarding children is a shared responsibility…We all need to work together.”
Greene stated that like every other organisation, there are some challenges affecting the agency. Ideally, she said, they would like to have a better enforcement of the child protection laws by the police.
She also said that there is not an adequate provision of child protection services for children in the interior regions and that the agency is looking to address this.
Meanwhile, she said the family court will be launched this year and the Ministry of Human Services will be providing social services to the court. She also said that the agency is looking to launch a programme for fathers so that they can play a more prominent role in their children’s lives.
Also in attendance at the stakeholders’ meeting were Minister of Human Service and Social Security Jennifer Webster, representatives from UNICEF, and representatives from the Rights of the Child Commission.