The Work of Children

Country:

Journalists' motion at the Conference promoted by the Association of Subalpine Press CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labor), CISL (Italian Confederation of Labor Unions), UIL (Italian Labor Union)

The social parties and the Government have already subscribed, on April 16th, 1998, to a charter of commitments to promote the rights of childhood and teens, and to eliminate the exploitation of minor labor.

The world of information must also be part of this civil commitment.

Journalists have been committed for years - through their unions, the Order and FNSI (National Federation of Italian Press) - in the battle for the protection of minors, which has in fact represented a concrete test bench from which to launch a real implementation of professional deontology rules.

In October 1990, the "Treviso Charter" was passed. The journalists made a conscious act of renunciation towards their duty to inform. By contrast, in the "Work of Children" congress, a bigger commitment to inform on the problem of minor labor must be undertaken; it is a typical hidden phenomenon which has not received sufficient attention from the side of public opinion.

It is not by chance that the Turin Congress was organized together with federal unions and voluntary Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and with ILO (the International Labor Organization) as a guest. This collaboration must generate a network in which journalists play their role with professionalism and passion.

It is well known that the boycott against industries which produce by using children - also through work within families or in other countries - is not always a solution to the problem, as the NGOs interested in the exploitation of minors, especially in developing countries, have been pointing out for a long time. But a careful information of the public, hand in hand with consumer organizations, can be useful in publicizing news beyond "specialized" circles. Moreover, there are laws, agreements, the very commitment signed by the social parties and by the Government on April 16th, 1998, which can be spread and supported by information.

A return to investigative journalism must occur on these themes, as with every social problem, to avoid an inconsistent flow of information on the phenomenon related to police operations or to expressions - useful as they may be - of public figures.

Every child who suffers has the right to be safeguarded, we know that well when we do not publish the names nor the pictures of those who have undergone abuse. But the child also has the right - if exploited - to have everybody know who the exploiters are. And we, the Italian journalists, are committed to do this.