Only six per cent of child survival and developmental issues, 25 per cent on children’s education issues and 42 per cent on child protection issues were reported in a study of 994 news stories, conducted among three national English dailies and three Telugu dailies by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) over a month.
Explaining the details of the study at a media workshop on ‘Reporting on Children – Agenda’ conducted by CMS and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Anita Medasani, Regional Manager, CMS, Hyderabad, said, “Child protection issues was higher because they comprised of crimes such as rape and corporal punishment. Reporting was not about issues, but about the incidents as such. There is a need to write about them in depth,” she said.
Mamatha Raghuveer, member, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, also stated that the media generally covers child labour incidents more than others. Through a presentation, she explained how young girls were often pushed into prostitution after their parents were cheated with false promises of jobs.
“Also, prostitution is not illegal in India, but the Act punishes those operating brothels. However, prostitutes can be arrested if they are found soliciting in a public area,” said Ms. Raghuveer and added that victims of sexual molestation also include boys.
Prasun Sen, advocacy and communication specialist, UNICEF, Hyderabad, said that though there are laws to protect child rights, there is no effective implementation of them.
Child rights and facts
According to statistics (sourced from various government agencies) provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund, there are 110 maternal deaths per 1,00,000 births, 41 deaths per 1000 births among infants in Telangana.
2. Among adolescent girls aged between 15 to 19, 68 per cent of them are anaemic, suffering from different types of anaemia.
3. In Telangana, only 66 per cent of children aged seven years and above are literate. In that, rural literacy rates in that age bracket is 57.3 per cent, and 81.1 per cent in urban areas.
4. The dropout rate in schools and colleges among adolescents aged between 15 to 18 years is 16 per cent, and also seven per cent in the same age group never attended school. Statistics for Andhra Pradesh in those two areas is even higher, at 9 per cent and 27 per cent.
5. In the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh, between 2005-06 only 40.3 per cent of births were registered, according to data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS). The same data also revealed that nine per cent of children aged between 5 to 14 years were employed in various works.