Child Maltreatment in the Media: Analyses of Media Coverage and Reader Comments on Child Maltreatment in Israel

Carmit Katz, Talia Glucklich, Shir Piller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The media plays a significant role in our lives and constitutes a very powerful socialising agent with the potential to influence public opinion and policymakers regarding social issues, such as child maltreatment. The present study was designed to explore how child maltreatment is portrayed in the media and to examine public perception regarding this phenomenon, as expressed by reader comments. Articles about child maltreatment published on the five official news websites in Israel were assessed using descriptive and qualitative analysis. It was found that most of the coverage of child maltreatment could be characterised as episodic. The majority of news articles failed to provide information regarding the potential risk/causal factors and often missed opportunities to discuss solutions to maltreatment. Of the stakeholders presented in the articles, only rarely could the voices of child victims or their families be heard, whereas the presence of legal professionals was frequent. A high frequency of reader comments referred to rage and despair. The results demonstrate the need to develop various practices in order to narrow the gaps between findings and statistics about child maltreatment and the way in which the phenomenon is currently portrayed in the media, as such portrayals exert an impact on both public perceptions and policymakers' attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse Review
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Israel
  • child maltreatment
  • media
  • public perceptions
  • reader comments

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