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UNICEF Awards Armenian Media For Coverage Of Child Issues

© UNICEF/Armenia
President of Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardyan hands award for respecting child's views to "Armenia" TV Channel.

 YEREVAN, 25 November -- UNICEF Armenia presented today awards to local media representatives who were selected by a professional jury through a six-month media monitoring project “Children in Armenian News.”

The awards were presented to journalists in recognition of their role in highlighting issues that impact the welfare of children in Armenia

“Violations of the rights of children, and issues related to children’s safety, education, health, social welfare and exploitation are important questions for investigation and public debate in Armenia, as in all countries”,. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Armenia said at an award ceremony, adding that journalists, act as the eyes, ears and voices of the public, helping to shape the way we see the world and to change attitudes.

“Through your work, you can encourage governments, the public and civil society to affect changes. You are uniquely placed to help people understand how to stop violence against children,” Yett said, addressing Armenian media representatives.

Initiated by UNICEF, media monitoring was carried out by the Armenian Public Relations Association (APRA) and involved all major print and electronic media outlets. A jury composed of NGO representatives, journalists and professors from the department of journalism at Yerevan State University reviewed over 500 articles and feature stories as well as over 100 TV reports.

“The objective of the project was to understand how local media were covering issues related to child rights and recognize those journalists who were covering these issues responsibly and ethically.  We found that many journalists had a poor understanding of the professional practices that should be followed when covering issues related to children, such as their right to privacy.,” Ara Saghatelyan, president of APRA stressed.

The award was given to 6 journalists representing TV and newspapers, 3 TV companies, one daily and one weekly newspaper based on criteria developed by UNICEF jointly with APRA.

“For me as a journalist, it is a special award. It puts on me additional responsibility. As a mother of one child I only had a responsibility for my child.  Now as a journalist recognized  for covering child-related problems, I bear responsibility for covering issues in a way that protects children,” Ruzan Arshakyan, a journalist from the “Aravot” daily emphasized.  


© UNICEF/Armenia
UNICEF Representative in Armenia Sheldon Yett hands award for regular coverage of child issues in the news to the Armenian Public TV.

Congratulating recipients of the award, Sheldon Yett noted that too often media  focus on horrific, one-off cases that  sensationalize and don’t put events or issues in the proper context. 

“Actively learn about child rights, challenge those who fail to carry out their promises to meet these rights, ask questions, be fair and ethical and be sure to listen to children themselves.” UNICEF Representative stressed.

UNICEF is working with media organizations in Armenia to strengthen the professional capacities of local journalists to cover children-related issues.  In 2006, UNICEF will conduct training seminars for local journalists to strengthen their understanding of children’s rights and help them to monitor their government’s performance as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  
Emil Sahakyan
Information & Communication APO
UNICEF Armenia
tel: (374-10) 523-546/580-174/543-809
fax: (374-10) 543-810



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