Photojournalism Ethics: Portraying Children's Photos in Tanzanian Media

Photojournalism Ethics: Portraying Children's Photos in Tanzanian Media

Kaanaeli Bariki Kaale (St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Tanzania) and Mashaka Boniface Mgeta (St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Tanzania)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0329-4.ch008
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This study discusses photojournalism ethics in portraying photographs of children in Tanzanian media. The study is guided by gatekeeping and semiotic theories. The authors used both quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine photojournalism ethical practices with regard to how children's photos are presented in Tanzanian newspapers and readers' perceptions regarding how children's photos are portrayed in Tanzanian media. Content analysis was to examine Habari Leo, the Guardian. and Uwazi newspapers published photographs from 1st May, 2017 to 31st May, 2018. The results showed that 591 out of 12,316 photos published by all the three newspapers were photographs of children. The results revealed that some media outlets published children's photos contrary to the ethics of photojournalism, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. In order to improve photojournalism ethical practices, the authors suggested the use an approach base in classical philosophy by photojournalists.
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The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has provided guidelines for photojournalism in a code of ethics that emphasises norm of minimizing harm, using factuality, ensuring accuracy and fair captioning in order to prevent misconduct in the implementation of photojournalism ethics and professional behavior, particularly with reference to portraying children’s photos in newspapers and social media. In addition, the guidelines insist that photojournalists avoid manipulating pictures, stereotyping, invading privacy, and using pictures of human suffering or victims of violence (Media Council of Tanzania, 2016). Despite these guidelines, there are growing concerns about unethical practices in the media, especially in social media (Patterson, & Wilkins, 2008). However, only a few studies have been conducted to investigate the ethical practices of photojournalists with regard to photographs of children and their rights. These rights are declared by the safeguards and remedies offered in the ethics of photojournalism, national laws, and international conventions (UNICEF, 2017).

Aims of the Research

The broad aim of this study is to find out how photographs of children ages 0-17 were portrayed in the media and how these portrayals affects their audience. Through information gathered from readers along with human rights activists, editors, and photojournalists, the authors address the following research questions: First, to what extent are children’s photos presented in Tanzanian newspapers? Second, what are the ethical practices employed in portraying children’s’ photos in Tanzanian newspapers? And, last, what are readers’ perceptions regarding children’s photos in Tanzania newspapers?

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