Lecturer calls for Malawi ‘journalists against child labour’

Senior  media lecturer at University of Malawi’s Polytechnic, Grey Mang’anda, says there is need for the media and stakeholders to establish a vibrant association for journalists against child labour as a way of fighting the growing child labour practices in the country.

Mang’anda made the call on Wednesday during the 3-day-long National Labour Conference held at the Cross Roads Hotel in Lilongwe from 4 – 5 September 2012 under the theme, ‘End Child Labour in Agriculture, our Children, our Future. ‘

Making a presentation titled: “The role of the media in fight against child labour”, Mang’anda described the media as the most influential sector that can be used to create awareness, investigate, bring to light and follow up issues of child labour practices in the country hence the need for the association.

Mang'anda: Journalists association against child labout

Mang’anda cited an example of how the media positively covered the story where a traditional leader in Dowa district withdrew children he had employed to herd his cattle and sent them back to school to set a good example.

“When you take a critical look at issues of child labour that have come to light you will begin to appreciate the role the media is playing in this fight and I’d recommend that a dedicated association of journalists should be established – and I’m already calling it ‘Journalists Against Child Labour’.

The Association, he suggested, would not only include the media but other stakeholders with common interests in the matter.

He added that it was very sad to note that while other areas such as environment, HIV and AIDS among others have media associations, the area of Child labour does not have one.

Concurring with Mang’anda was Executive Director for Child Rights Information and Documentation Centre (CRIDOC) George Kayange who also has a media background.

In an interview Kayange said with such association in place the fight against child labour would be much easier and manageable.

“I really find it a brilliant idea,” said Kayange, “The association is long overdue, in fact the biggest challenge in the fight against child labour is information gap among stakeholders, employers, the public and the children themselves.”

Kayange said there was a lot in the child labour subject that required vigorous advocacy for immediate action citing the Tenants Bill which he said had been unattended to for over twenty years.

“The media can be used to create awareness and sensitise stakeholders and the public to get the historical bill attended to and this would be very ideal in the efforts to end child labour,” observed Kayange.

The first child labour survey undertaken in 2002 in Malawi study indicated that out of 1.4 million children involved in child labour, 52 percent (735,000) were in agriculture sector.

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