The 5th World Summit on Media for Children (5WSMC) drew to a close in Johannesburg on 28 March with delegates urged to individually move forward with their various projects and produce tangible results for presentation at the next Summit in 2010 in Sweden.
Over 1 000 delegates, comprised of local and international children’s media practitioners, broadcasters, government officials and children’s rights organisations, spent four days working towards a sustainable international policy framework governing children’s media.
Said Mimi Brazeau of PLAN International (an organisation dedlicated to improving the quality of life of deprived children in developing countries): “Over the last four days people have talked about children and media and we have heard children express themselves. As children’s media practitioners from all over the world we must ask ourselves who our audience is and what they want.
This entity called “our audience’ is comprised of hundreds of different nationalities and cultures. Yet a lot of children’s programmes lack depth. We want to educate “our audience’ and influence them against bad values. When a child’s life in Darfur is saved or a girl in Guinea gets to go to school because of a radio or TV programme or a printed article, that’s when children’s media really works.
“Every day PLAN works to have children’s rights adhered to. Together with our international partners, we produce over 60 TV programmes with children. We’re taking back from the 5WSMC valuable new contacts and potential partners.
PLAN invites the youth to carry on speaking out, to continue to request to be heard and to give their own messages with accuracy. I call on broadcasters and corporates to stick to their mandate according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.’
Firdoze Bulbulia, chair of the 5WSMC and the Children’s Broadcasting Foundation for Africa (CBFA), reiterated why at this Summit, for the first time, child delegates were part of the Plenary sessions. “We wanted to give voice to as many people as possible and we wanted the voices of children to be heard at the Summit. Additionally we wanted to teach children the techniques and technologies involved in media production today as children must become involved in the production of their own programmes.
The child delegates who participated in the Plenary sessions were not mere tokens – they were specially selected from developing countries by PLAN International to give a report on the condition of children and media in those countries.
“This Summit was three years in the planning. It’s now up to you – adults and children – to take the bait and move forward.’