Bulgaria ON AIR and UNICEF Bulgaria launch a joint campaign for the right of children participation and their ethical media coverage
The aim is to encourage consultations with children and respect their right to comment on all matters that affect them
The National Television Bulgaria ON AIR and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) launch a long-term campaign "My voice matters". Its aim is to promote the right of children to express voluntary, freely and safely their views on all matters that affect them directly or indirectly, and to set the agenda for ethical coverage of children in media. Investor Media Group websites - dnes.bg, az-deteto.bg and az-jenata.bg will join the campaign. The initiative is partnering with the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ministry of Education and the State Agency for Child Protection.
During the campaign for the first time in national TV broadcast children will have the opportunity to participate in various programs of Bulgaria ON AIR TV, to show the audience the importance and value of their point of view even on issues that seem to concern only adults. Until now, we have not even thought about the views of children about the state of playgrounds and roads in the country, the harmful ingredients in food or the conditions in Bulgarian hospitals and about the violence and the social protection we will hear their opinions and voices of the children through information and entertainment broadcasts in Bulgaria ON AIR TV and the websites dnes.bg, az-deteto.bg and az-jenata.bg the public will become aware.
In addition to that, a UNICEF study related to the coverage of children in media in Bulgaria shows serious violations of children's rights when covering topics related to them. For example:
- Media do not keep confidential personal data and the faces of children who are at risk or under protection.
- Vulnerable children - as victims and witnesses of violence or crime - are subjected to "fire" by journalists' questions, forcing them to return to what had happened and once again experiencing the trauma, i.e. no friendly attitude towards children and respect for their personal opinion and space.
- Most violated are the rights of children in online and print media (due to lack of regulatory authorities), but the greatest violation effect is when it happens on TV - because of its broad scope and afterwards sharing on social networks.
In 2015, UNICEF Bulgaria, together with the State Agency for Child Protection and supported by the Bulgarian National Television, held Bulgaria's first national consultation with children, in which over 6,000 boys and girls from across the country - children of different age, gender, social status, religion, ethnicity, physical and intellectual development took part. They stated categorically that the biggest problems are:
- Widespread poverty that affects all aspects of their lives;
- Violence in all its forms (both at home and at school);
- Poor education (which for them is outdated, uninteresting, minimized and lack of practicality);
- Easy access to alcohol and drugs, which leads to serious consequences.
The campaign of UNICEF Bulgaria and Bulgaria ON AIR "My voice matters” aims to expose the voice of children in media and show good practices of media coverage – concerning all those topics that are important to children, their families and the society issues.
Besides pointed challenges - children committed with specific solutions. Some of them you can see here: http://bit.ly/1YvgKve. They will be taken into account in updating the National Strategy for Children in Parliament.
Video material summarizing the problems and solutions of children identified by themselves, you can see here: https://youtu.be/IKwYeXTT1AM
What is the right of children's participation?
Children's participation is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is right of all children - both individually and on a group level. On an individual level, children have the right to be heard and their views be taken into account when adults (parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, judges, politicians) make decisions that affect them. As a group - children have the right to give them the opportunity to influence and provide information on decisions taken in society - for example in schools, local governments, service providers, civil society organizations or the government.
How children's participation affects the development of the individual and the whole society:
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Jacklin Tzocheva, Communication Officer, UNICEF Bulgaria
Tel: 02/9696208, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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