Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Media and socio-cultural communication

Publication Details

Paper presented at ‘Cities, Creativity, Connectivity’ IAMCR Annual Conference 2011, Journalism Research and Education Section, July 13-17, 2011


This paper presents an overview and discussion of a unique approach to journalism education in the Central, East European and CIS region. In 2008, a group of universities initially in Turkey, and later joined by Romania, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan joined with UNICEF to introduce a new child rights syllabus into their respective journalism programmes. For years, the approach to training journalists in children’s rights in the CEE/CIS region had been quantitative – 30 journalists here, 30 there. This has produced limited results in terms of the representation of children or children’s issues in the media. From point of view of media development, integrating a rights-based approach towards journalism practice has the objective of embedding the concept of children’s rights at source with a view to enhancing overall standards in journalism. In the paper, we discuss the challenges and opportunities such an approach presents. The media in the CEE/CIS region have a very different history to other parts of the world, and very little consideration has been given to a critically-informed approach or rights-based approach to representation of children or reporting children’s issues in the media. Journalism ethics, central to the curriculum of journalism education in modern western societies, do not feature in the curriculum of most journalism schools in CEE/CIS and the tradition of an independent, responsible media as a fourth pillar of democracy is virtually non-existent. The paper examines case studies from the countries involved and evaluates how the theoretical orientation of rights-based communication has impacted on trainee journalism experience. We offer a theoretical discussion of the project’s significance, locating it within approaches to media assistance more generally as well as within broader international attempts towards fostering greater awareness of human and children’s rights among professional media workers.