I have the right to get information in lots of ways, so long as it’s safe.
Article 17 of the UNCRC says children and young people should be able to access information, particularly from the media. They should be able to get information from many places— from their country and beyond.
This Article applies to all kinds of media, including:
- print media― such as newspapers or magazines
- electronic media― such as websites
- audiovisual media― such as radio and television programmes.
Information and education
Information from the media should form part of a child or young person's education. Because of this, it should help them learn about the things listed under Article 29 of the UNCRC. These include:
- respect for human rights and freedoms
- respect for their parents, cultural identity and language
- respect for the values of where they live, where they’re from and the other countries of the world
- respect for the natural environment
- preparation for a responsible life where they treat other people with tolerance.
The media should also provide young people with information about their health. It should show young people in a positive light, bringing attention to the good things that young people do and taking care to show people who might be marginalised – such as women and those with disabilities – in a way that is not degrading.
Access for everyone
Article 17 applies to all young people, and special efforts should be made to make sure everyone has access to the media. This includes:
- young people whose freedoms are limited― such as those in young offenders’ institutions
- young people who may find the media difficult to access, such as some of those with disabilities or for whom English is not their first language.
To help young people who may find the media difficult to access, media should be translated into multiple languages where this is possible. Media should also be available in formats that are possible for young people with disabilities to access.
Protection from harmful media
Article 17 also says that children and young people should be protected from media that would be harmful to them. This includes:
- media that depicts graphic violence
- media that promotes irresponsible drug use.
If the media reports on difficulties within a child or young person's family, that child or young person's privacy should be respected.
Children and young people have the right to freedom of expression through making their own forms of media.
The media should respect the right to privacy of children and young people.
The media should respect the privacy of children and young people who are survivors of violence or abuse.
Children and young people should have access to information about their health that helps them have the best healthcare possible.
Article 29 talks about information which children and young people's education should give them.
Children and young people should have access to information about their culture and religion and information in their own language if they are a member of a minority group.
Children and young people should be told about their right to relax in the way they want and get information about opportunities to do so.
The media should actively challenge the sexual exploitation of children and young people.
Children and young people shouldn't be exploited by the media in any way.
The media should respect the privacy of children and young people if they're going through the justice system.
The UNCRC should be known about by everyone.
This article is a simplified version of Article 17 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:
States Parties recognize 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 this end, States Parties shall:
(a) Encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in accordance with the spirit of article 29;
(b) Encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
(d) 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;
(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.
We've put together some webpages that go into more detail around your information rights.