Influence of Media Reporting Guidelines on Children Reporting in Kenya: What Should Journalists Do?



Children, Ethics, Guidelines, Journalists, Media


Although media reporting guidelines protect children, very little is known about how these guidelines influence the practice of journalism. This study examined the influence of media reporting guidelines on children’s reporting in Kenya and tried to generate debate on what journalists do in such situations. All the 2,105 journalists in Nairobi County accredited by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) constituted the target population. Based on practice theory, the study employed a descriptive research design. The researcher employed stratified random sampling and calculated the desired sample size using Taro Yamane’s formula. The study analysed 238 responses from an online questionnaire and found that most journalists had not fully interacted with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF’s) guidelines for journalists reporting on children (40%). Also, it shows that many media organisations don’t have internal guidelines and 60% of the respondents had encountered cases of reporters and editors being sanctioned for violating existing media reporting guidelines in Kenya. In conclusion, the study argues that while these guidelines are good for children, they tend to complicate the work of media professionals because of the challenge of clearly defining stories that constitute public interest or those critical to the coverage of children. There is a need to continually organise refresher training to enhance knowledge and skills for journalists to determine children’s stories to be published and that are unlikely to attract public outcry.


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How to Cite

Pilipili, W. F., & Ong’ong’a, D. O. (2024). Influence of Media Reporting Guidelines on Children Reporting in Kenya: What Should Journalists Do?. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(2), 642–651.