Children Win

Children WIN

Head of project at IESF:Dr. Karen Petry            

IESF staff entrusted with this project:
Till Müller-Schoell          

Period of research:
December 2014 – October 2015, April 2016 - February 2017           

terres des hommes international

Public awareness of the impact of Mega Sporting Events on children rights is a recent phenomenon and it shows considerable variation between countries. This research was conducted in order to collect evidence and increase awareness on direct and indirect effects of Mega Sporting Events (MSEs) to mitigate risks and enhance opportunities for children. It outlines differences between 12 countries (Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom), and examines how media covered the Mega Sporting Events (MSEs) and their impact on human rights and particular on children rights.

In a first phase, media resources from the 1st of January to the 31st of December 2014 were scrutinized and peaks as well as lows in media attention were identified and related to three MSEs: the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil(TM) and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. In the countries with a high awareness, indirect threats are widely reported and in-depth accounts of mechanisms directly violating children rights, such as poverty or sexual exploitation, are not rare. This leads to the conclusion that the opportunities for promoting children rights in these countries are much better than in countries with minimal awareness. Overall, this study can direct orientations for further research and potential guidance for advocacy activities. The results suggest that certain countries could benefit from more advocacy and awareness campaigns surrounding the issue of children rights and MSEs. A campaign in Russia, with its lack of pressfreedom, may be ineffectual, targeting Italy, Spain, India or South Africa could be more effective here.

Concerning the factors, economic as well as structural factors are mentioned most often and relate to the effects of poverty. In most cases, reports on sexual exploitation and child labour mention economic conditions as one of the causal factors. To sum up, the results of this exploratory study raise a lot more questions for future research using different news outlets, different mediums or different countries would help further our understanding of how the media reports on this topic: First, it would be advisable to check the reliability of the results, preferably in the countries of high awareness and therefore presumably more stable patterns. Second, there is a need for more research, e.g. in order to compare the same country as a host and as a non-host country. This survey can provide as baseline for future comparison and it will be quite interesting to evaluate the effect against the baseline of these results. All of this is realistic in a second wave focusing on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games or with the same set of MSEs again in 2016.

The second phase focusses on media coverage concerning children rights around the World Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, the Euro in France, the Copa America Centenario in the United States of America and the Summer Olypmics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Link to video

Link to the final report phase one