UNICEF@70 and Media Fellowship Awards 2016
UNICEF Assam in partnership with Gauhati University
ASSAM, 12 December 2016 - As part of the UNICEF@70 celebrations, UNICEF Assam planned a year-long engagement with the media.
With the issue of child rights receiving less attention than it deserves at the policy-making level, including limited budgetary resources for social sector spending and problems plaguing implementation at the ground level, it is crucial for the media to play its role in safeguarding the rights of children and adolescents. The media can be useful allies in promoting and protecting child rights.
An informed media will be better able to play its role more effectively and challenge violations of child rights. It was considered important, therefore, to work towards developing a shared understanding on children and adolescents as potential individuals with rights; and the role of the media in challenging violations of children’s rights in an ethical and sensitive manner; and finally the responsibility of the media to actively seek and promote child and adolescent participation in the media.
Towards this, UNICEF partnered with Gauhati University, to work towards engaging with the media on a more long-term and sustainable basis to create an environment of ethical and responsible coverage on children and adolescent issues.
The focus of the initiative was on strengthening engagement and reaching-out to vernacular and English media to create an enabling environment for child and adolescent friendly reporting. The initiative stressed on sensitizing not only reporters but also photographers, camera-persons and editorial staff.
Orientation meetings on child rights, status of children and adolescents in state, guidelines on reporting on children & laws and policies in place for children in India were organized with the team visiting individual media houses over a period of few months.
The initiative culminated in the Award Ceremony celebrating UNICEF@70, where media-persons from both print and electronic media were invited.
Select media-persons from Assam were awarded for excellence in reporting on child rights. The award was given by the Hon’ble Governor of Assam, Shri Banwarilal Purohit; the Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University, Chairperson of Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and UNICEF Chief of Assam, Dr. Tushar Rane.
Mr. Nitumoni Saikia, Editor-in-Chief, Pratidin Times, in his acceptance speech for receiving the Best Media Award (Electronic) for 2016, expressed his concerns at the state of the media in Assam. He said that the award would encourage his team to report more responsibly and highlight concerns related to adolescents and children in the State.
Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief, UNICEF Assam, in his speech, highlighted the success which both India and Assam have achieved over the last 70 years in improving the lives of our children. He urged the State Government to focus on the challenges especially the most marginalized children from the tea-gardens in Assam and the Char islands. Showcasing high MMR and U5MR rate, child labour and child marriage as significant concerns for the State, he requested for the continued support of media colleagues to raise awareness and create a dialogue on these issues both at the policy and public level.