• Topic: Role of Mass Media in the Campaign Against Child Labour in Nigeria Society – a Study of Public Perception From Selected Local Government Areas of Oyo State
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Role of Mass Media in the Campaign Against Child Labour in Nigeria Society – a Study of Public Perception From Selected Local Government Areas of Oyo State.



2.1 Child labour

Sri.V.V.Giri former President of India characterises that, child labour is a “economic practice” and “social evil”. 1 Firstly, ‘economic practice’ signifies employment of Children in gainful occupations with a view to adding to the total income of the family. Secondly, ‘social evil’ refers to, character of the jobs in which children are engaged, the danger to which they are exposed and the opportunities of development of which they have been denied. In the present situation children are denied even their basic and fundamental needs. Children are innocent, vulnerable and dependent, and they are unable to understand their rights as such, during their formative age they are prone to exploitation. Thus, child labour has become a hard reality and global phenomena. The two main approaches which define child labour are (1) Any labour force activity by children below a stipulated minimum age and (2) Any work, economic or not, that is injurious to health, safety and development of children. Kulashresta says that the ‘Child Labour’ is at times used as a synonym for ‘employed child’ or ‘working child’ whereas Gray Rodgers and Gay standing have classified 2 child labour into four categories which include (1) Domestic work; (2) Non-domestic work and non-monetary work; (3) Bonded Labour; 4) Wage Labour.3 Child Labour is done by any working child who is under age specified by the law. The word, ‘work’ means full time commercial work to sustain self or add to the family income. Child labour is a hazard to a child’s mental, physical, social, educational, emotional and spiritual development. Broadly any child who is employed in activities to feed self and family is being subjected to “child labour”. 4 Technically the term ‘child labour’ is used for children occupied in profitable activities, whether industrial or non-industrial. It is especially applicable for activities which are detrimental to their physical, psychological, emotional, social and moral developmental needs. It has been researched and proved that the brain of a child develops till the age of ten, muscles till the age of seventeen and his lungs till the age of fourteen. To be more specific, any activity which acts as a hazard for the natural growth and enhancement of these vital organs, can be considered harmful for natural human growth and developments and termed – ‘child labour’.5 According to Committee on Child Labour, “Child labour” broadly defined as that segment of child population in work either paid or unpaid.6 The term child labour is defined as the work which deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that which is harmful to their physical and mental development.7 Homer Folks, the Chairman of the United Nations Child Labour Committee, defined child labour as “any work by children that interferes with full physical development and their opportunities for a desirable minimum level of education of their needed recreation”.8 According to ILO’s comprehensive definition of child labour, “Child Labour includes children prematurely leading adult lives, working long hours for low wages under conditions damaging to their health and to their physical and mental development, sometimes separated from their families, frequently deprived of meaningful education and training opportunities that could open up for them a better future”.9 In Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences (1959) Child labour has been defined “When the business of wage earning or of participation in itself or family support conflicts directly or indirectly with the business of growth and education, the result is child labour. The function of work in childhood is primarily developmental and not economic.10 Children’s work, then, as a social good, is the direct, antithesis of child labour as a social evil.11 The ‘Operation Research Group’ based in Baroda-India defines a child labour that “A Working Child is one who was enumerated during the survey as a child falling within the five to fifteen age bracket and who is at remunerative work, may be paid or unpaid, and busy in any hours of a day within or outside family”.12 Article.24 of the Constitution accepting the fact of prevalent child labour in India provides that “no child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed in work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment”. The Committee on Child Labour provides “child labour involves the use of labour at its points of lowest productivity; hence it is an inefficient utilisation of labour power. Child labour represents pre-mature expenditure rather than saving”. It concludes that “the argument that employment of children increases the earning of the family and keeps children away from children is misleading. It glosses over the fact that child labour stunts their physical growth, hampers their intellectual development and by forcing them into the army of unskilled labourers or blind alley job condemns them to low wages of their lives…Child labour is economically unsound, psychologically disastrous and physically as well as morally dangerous and harmful”.13 “Child Labour” according to an elected representative of the people, is no longer a medium of economic exploitation; it is necessitated by economic compulsions of the parents and in many cases that of the child himself. They work because they must, for their own survival and that of their families. Therefore, any attempt through legislation will not be successful.

The Concept (Problem) of Child Labour

The concept of child labour is complex in its nature. The word ‘child labour’ is a combination of two components, i.e. ‘child’ in terms of his chronological age, and ‘labour’ in terms of its nature, quantum and income generating capacity.15 The word ‘labour’ is a controversial concept to define, especially in the context of child labour, child work and child labour often used synonymously. However all work is not bad for children because some light work, properly structured and regulated, is not child labour. This implies that work which does not detract from other essential activities for children such as leisure, play and education are not child labour. ‘Child labour’, therefore, is the work which involves some degree of exploitation namely, physical, mental, economic and social and therefore, impairs the health and development of children.16 It is pointless to try and distinguish between child labour and child work or between hazardous and non-hazardous employment. Work that is seemingly non-hazardous for adults becomes hazardous for children because they have no negotiating power.17 With regard to the conceptual and definitional problems concerning child labour there are two schools of thought. According to the first school known as abolitionist school, education should be made a fundamental human right of every child in 5-14 age group, and any child who is out of school should be treated as a potential working child. They feel that elimination of child labour and attainment of compulsory primary education are two sides of the same coin and one cannot be achieved without achieving the other. According to them, the distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous work is immaterial.18 According to the second school known as reformist school, child labour is a ‘harsh reality’, which means, given the socio-economic conditions of India (like poverty, unemployment and illiteracy) it is impossible to root out the problem of child labour altogether. They feel that elimination of child labour should be viewed as a longterm goal to be achieved progressively. Hence, they advocate a dual approach of prohibition of child labour in hazardous work and regulation of it in non-hazardous work.

Forms of Child Labour

Children work in three sectors of the economy

(a) The Agrarian sector : The agrarian sector in India is characterised by poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, highly skewed distribution of land-ownership, traditional modes of production, prevalence of old customs and traditions, system of usury, etc. Several forms of child labour such as invisible, migrant, bonded etc. emerge from this sector, which encompasses such time-consuming activities for boys as looking after animals, gathering wood and fodder, sowing and reaping, protecting fields from pests, weeding, etc. For girls, the activities are milking animals, cooking, and looking after younger children. The rural child is working child and work is a fundamental part of his or her existence, irrespective of whether it is non-monetary. It also, therefore, means that education is a casualty for such a child.

 (b) Industrial sector: Industrial sector is a growing level of urbanisation as a result of migration from rural to urban areas and from smaller towns to bigger cities, where industries are being set up. Another feature is the dispersal of industries into familybased units. This again causes the emergence of various forms of child labour, such as invisible, wage-based child labour working under conditions of acute exploitation in the industries, children of marginalised families working as self-employed children or under-wage employment in the services sector.

(c) Service sector: The services sector actually has a certain overlap with the industrial sector. A majority of children in this sector are self-employed because its very nature provides relief from direct supervision. It also provides autonomy and freedom of control over resources. Such children are found to be working both in the urban as well as rural areas. In this sector, child labour can take such forms as invisible, self-employed or under wage-based employment, with children changing jobs at regular intervals. This is particularly true in urban areas. The UNICEF has classified child work into three different categories.21 (i) With in family in which children are engaged without pay in domestic/household tasks, agricultural/pastoral work, handicrafts/cottage industries etc. (ii) With the family, but outside the home in which children do agricultural/pastoral work which consists of (seasonal/full time) migrant labour, local agricultural work, domestic service, construction work and informal occupations – e.g., laundry/ recycling of waste – employed by others and self-employed. (iii) Outside the family in which children are employed by others in bonded work, apprenticeship, skilled trades (carpet, embroidery, brass/copper work), industrial/unskilled occupations/mines, domestic work, commercial work in shops and restaurants, begging, prostitution and pornography. Each Form of child labour has its own peculiar features, which are in the forms of domestic labour, agriculture labour, migrant labour, bonded labour, wage based labour, self employed labour and invisible labour

Mass-media Mass communication refers to the technology that is used to communicate to a large group, or groups of people in a short time frame (Pavlik & McIntosh, 2004). This can be written, spoken or broadcast communication. Some of the most popular forms of mass media are newspapers, magazines, radio, advertisements, social media, television, Internet, and films/movies. Broadcast media transmit information electronically, using such media as film, radio, recorded music, or television. Digital media includes both Internet and mobile masscommunication. Internet media involves such services as email, social media sites, websites, and Internet-based radio and television. Many other mass-media portals have an additional presence on the web, by such means as linking to or showing TV ads online, or distributing QR Codes in outdoor or print media to direct mobile users to a website. Outdoor media transmit information trough such media as advertising; billboards; blimps; flying billboards; placards or kiosks placed inside and outside buses, commercial buildings, shops, sports stadiums, subway cars, or trains; signs; or skywriting. Print media transmit information via physical objects, such as books, comics, magazines, newspapers, or pamphlets (Kawalpreet Kaur, 2016). Event organizing and public speaking can also be considered forms of mass media (Manohar, 2011). Sociologist John Thompson of Cambridge University identified Five characteristics of mass communication (Thompson, John, 1995): 1. Comprises both technical and institutional methods of production and distribution – This is evident throughout the history of mass media, from print to the Internet, each suitable for commercial utility 2. Involves the co-modification of symbolic forms – as the production of materials relies on its ability to manufacture and sell large quantities of the work; as radio stations rely on their time sold to advertisements, so too newspapers rely on their space for the same reasons. 3. Separate contexts between the production and reception of information. 4. Its reach to those ‘far removed’ in time and space, in comparison to the producers. 5. Information distribution – a “one to many” form of communication, whereby products are mass produced and disseminated to a great quantity of audiences.


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