Representations of children in news media: rights, research and policy: revisiting the Oslo Challenge

International Day Conference

Jointly organised by IOE and The Open University

CLARKE HALL, Institute of Education,

University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1 Wednesday, 22nd April 2009 9:30 for 10- 4:30pm

Representations of children in news media: rights, research and policy: revisiting the Oslo Challenge.

The Oslo Challenge (1999) was a collaboration between the Norwegian Government and UNICEF and marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It included the following challenge to media professionals at all levels and in all media:

to work ethically and professionally to sound media practices and to develop and promote media codes of ethics in order to avoid sensationalism, stereotyping (including by gender) or undervaluing of children and their rights (MAGIC 1999)

20 years after the UN CRC, and 10 years after the Oslo Challenge, this international day conference  will draw out the political, economic, practical, justice and rights implications of representations of children in news media, and will explore the following questions:

§         Why do negative representations of children matter?

§         What research and evidence are there about possible adverse effects on/for children and young people, adults and societies generally?

§         How can and should the news media work ethically for and with children, so that their interests are well served?

§         What steps can and do governments and professional organisations take to improve the representation of children?

Speakers confirmed:

Amanda Barnes, Independent Media Consultant and Ciara Davey, Children’s Rights Alliance for England. Victims or vermin, but never the voice of reason: Children’s portrayal in the British news media.
Zsofia Farkas, Regional Advocacy Project Manager for South-Eastern Europe, Terre des Homes, Hungary Monitoring of South-Eastern European media: how to address child trafficking without re-victimisation?
Nada Korac, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. A roughly mapped terra incognita: Images of children in Serbian media.
Mike Jempson, Director, Mediawise, University of Western England, Bristol.  The Oslo Challenge and beyond – a view from the inside.
Sanna Nissinen, The Open University. Balanced Representations? Cooperation between local photographers and international aid organisations in Bangladesh
Tracy Ulltveit-Moe, Independent consultant “Cute kid, but over-exposed”: Media representation of children: The NGO experience and perspective
Karen Wells, Birkbeck College, University of London.  Images of children in conflict and disaster: the ethics and politics of representation
Posters welcome

Booking form


Representations of children in news media: rights, research and policy:

revisiting the Oslo Challenge.

Clarke Hall,

Institute of Education, University of London

20 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAL

Please see for directions



I wish to attend the conference on Wednesday 22nd April  2009 9:30 for 10- 4:30pm




Position and place of work (if any):







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I enclose cheque for  £50 (pounds sterling only) made out to ‘Institute of Education’






I am a registered student/unwaged and I enclose the fee of £10 made payable to ‘Institute of Education’



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Send to:

Sue Grant, ECPE, Institute of Education, 20, Bedford Way,  London WC1H 0AL.

Tel: 020 7612 6588,



The conference is linked to the Institute of Education’s MA Sociology of Childhood & Children’s Rights,  and the week long module ‘Children’s Rights in Practice’, 20th-24th April 2009. This can be a stand-alone course. The conference is also linked to The Open University’s BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies.

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