The right to access diverse and educative information

For a child to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, it’s important that they access diverse and educative information.  The right to access diverse and educative information is provided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 17 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child says: “States parties shall recognise the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.”

To ensure access of material from national and international sources, state parties ought to encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information.

State parties are also responsible for encouraging the production and dissemination of children’s books. Furthermore, every country which is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child has an obligation to “encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous.”

To protect children from harmful information, state parties are obligated to encourage the development of appropriate guidelines. The guidelines have to put into consideration article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which says that a child has the right to seek, receive and circulate information. Circulation can be done orally, in writing, in print form, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

Exercising the freedom to seek, receive and pass on information is to be done in such a way that respect is accorded to the rights and reputations of others, national security is protected and public order, health and morals are maintained.

Furthermore, dissemination of educative material should adhere to article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 29 says that education should result in “development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.” Education should also result in respect for human rights, respect for parents, respect for cultural identity, respect for language and national values, and for other countries.

Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child further says that access to educative information should also prepare a child to be responsible, tolerant, to value equality of sexes and to have a spirit of understanding and friendship with everyone irrespective of their religion or background. An educated child should also be able to respect the natural environment.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com