Representation of Children’s Views in Finnish Newspaper Media Across Three Decades

  • Marleena Mustola
  • Eija Sevón
  • Maarit Alasuutari

Abstract

As the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) celebrates its thirtieth anniversary,
it is relevant to explore how understandings of children’s rights have appeared during
these three decades. As a key public actor in society, the media provides an interesting field in
which to study the salience of children’s rights in societal and public discussions. Thus, in this article,
we examine how children’s views are represented in «Helsingin Sanomat», the main national
newspaper of Finland, in 1997, 2007, and 2017. This examination is based on articles 12 and 13
of the UNCRC, where it is stated that children have the right to express themselves in all matters
affecting them. The data collection for this article was based on a systematic random sampling
method of these issues in the years mentioned above, and a systematic content analysis was also
applied. The results show that, somewhat surprisingly, in 2017, less than a third of news stories
concerning childhood and children reported children’s views on the matter, while in 2007, almost
half of news stories reported on children’s views. Based on the data, it appears that macro-level
issues remained within adults’ sphere of discussion during these years.

Published
2020-01-15