Mr Palm's speech during the launching event of the survey "Children and the Media" on 27 March 2012
I love this survey. Sometimes, you think you knew all along, but then you never discuss it. And then it takes a survey like this to bring it out into the open. Where do our children get information from? What are our children interested in? What is ethical media coverage of children's issues?
The Article 17 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is very clear. I paraphrase:
State Parties ...shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
(a) To this end, State Parties shall encourage the mass media to broadcast information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child;
(b) State parties shall encourage international co-operation in the production and exchange of material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources - because we don't live on an Albanian island;
(d) State parties shall encourage the mass media to pay attention to the language needs of children from minorities;
(e) Protection of the child from information and material that may harm his or her well-being
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
Very clearly, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was written before the internet, and before Facebook. It would have mentioned Facebook, instead of published books.
Why am I quoting the Convention? Because this is the first year where the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been formally made part of the domestic law. There is an Albanian Law on the Protection of Children's Rights, Law Nr.xxxxx. But also, because this year, in September, the UN Committee on Children's Rights will review the progress Albania has made, since it signed the Convention 20 years ago. There is a lot that can be corrected until September. So let's do it now. And the media can also report on whether Albania has made sufficient progress or whether more needs to be done and faster.
One finding of the survey is particularly interesting. Young people are abandoning TV for the Internet. Children, if they have the choice, choose the Internet. Social networking is in. Children have their idols: Lori Cana, pop stars, friends.
The survey says what children want to get information on. Children, and may be many of us, find the media in Albania boring. The same speeches. The same show. He said, she said, he said. Few facts, but what people present as facts. Boring.
I also have some messages for media producers:
• Adopt an ethical approach to transparency, honesty and accountability when reporting about issues that concern children
• Keep children safe
• Ensure that no child is discriminated against, regardless of their class, gender, ability, language, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference
• Adopt a ‘child-friendly’ approach, where children can contribute to the best of their abilities - give them space, time and be friendly to encourage their involvement.