Regional workshop for media persons on the professional principles of Arab media in handling child right issues- Child-friendly media
As part of a joint cooperation between NCFA, the Arab Council for Childhood and Development, the League of Arab States/Department of Woman, Family and Childhood, UNICEF/Jordan Office, and Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), a regional workshop was opened on the 1-2/October/2016 in Millennium Hotel/Amman under the patronage of HE Minister of Culture Nabeih Shuqum, member of NCFA Board of Trustees, on the professional principles of the Arab media coverage of child right issues titled "Child-Friendly Media". The workshop came in response to NCFA's continued efforts with regard to the development and protection of child rights, and in continuation of a series of workshops conducted by the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD), the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) under the "Media Observatory for Arab Child Rights Project" in implementation of the recommendations of the Arab Childhood Committee in its 21st session which was held in Sharm Al-Sheikh Egypt in December 2016 which aimed to create a supporting and powerful pro-child rights front.
Recognizing the political, economic and social transformations that have taken place which have had dramatic impact on the Arab children whose rights have been flagrantly violated, the workshop stressed the importance of working with those children as future investments in fulfillment of international and Arab conventions and agreements that advocate for the realization of the rights of Arab children. The workshop stands to underscore the pivotal role of the media in all its venues in the development and upbringing of the child and in spreading awareness of the importance of protecting and safeguarding children's rights.
The workshop was attended by 30 representatives from different media outlets and institutions concerned with childhood from 8 Arab countries: Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. The methodology of the workshop depended on public sessions, discussion groups and other interactive methods in which an array of expert trainers presented a range of issues with a view to introduce a professional, informative and child rights-focused background of childhood issues in the media so as to enhance the role of the media in the protection and promotion of child rights and create a general consensus on the professional principles (code of ethics) for the handling of child rights issues by the media in a bid to enhance commitment to these rights.
Participants commended HM King Abdullah's directives with regard to setting the course towards the future while being conscious of the challenges that lie ahead so as to attain the aspirations of our children to live in peace, prosperity and dignity. They also appreciated HM Queen Rania's guidance (Chair of NCFA's Board of Trustees) and the support provided by the organizing bodies: ACCD, AGFUND –presided by HRH Prince Tala Bin Abdel-Aziz, LAS and UNICEF/Jordan. They also thanked NCFA for hosting the workshop.
Arising from their social, human and professional responsibilities and commitment towards a "Child-Friendly Media", participants have declared: their agreement and commitment to the professional principles and codes of the media's coverage of child rights issues which are centered on empowerment, citizenship, social justice, freedom and transparency, which also promote the principles of equality, nondiscrimination, freedom of speech, credibility, clarity, objectivity, protection of the child's best interests, protection of the personal identity, right to privacy and right to respond and make a correction. Such principles shall be benchmarks and guidelines that guarantee and support child rights and should be disseminated and implemented as broadly as possible through all media outlets. In doing so, participants recommended the following:
1. Activate, revisit and harmonize national child-related legislation to be aligned with international standards on child rights as contained in international conventions and treaties in a manner that achieves the best interests of the child.
2. Emphasize the importance of formulating a unified media policy towards child rights issues based on a developmental rights-oriented approach giving it top priority on the agenda of the Arab media.
3. Continue to hold workshops, panel discussions and training courses for the media people at the national and regional levels in a manner that promote the culture of child rights in implementation of the recommendations of the Childhood Committee/League of Arab States.
4. Promote the integration of child rights and protection into public educational curricula and the syllabuses of media colleges and institutes and create college departments within universities specialized in children media.
5. Concentrate on the idea of media upbringing among the child, his family and those concerned with the child's upbringing in a manner that builds their consciousness in dealing with the media particularly electronic media so as to feed into a sound upbringing of the child avoiding at the same time its negative and harmful effects.
6. Draw the attention of Arab media institutions to making child-oriented programs and movies that are engaging and appealing to the child, taking into account child rights aspects and the modern methods of upbringing.
7. Call on all councils concerned with the media to activate their role in monitoring, following up on, analyzing and holding accountable all professional violations to child issues according to a set of guiding principles and code of ethics.
8. Support child engagement in the making and broadcasting of child-oriented programs in the media and in all areas related to their rights in a manner that ensures the principles of sharing, dialogue and freedom of speech and enhances their roles in the public life.
9. Network among media people who are advocates of child rights to exchange information and expertise and activate the Jordanian Child-Friendly Media Network in cooperation with NCFA