Young Uzbek journalists discuss the importance of the family for growth, well-being and protection of children
TASHKENT, 14 November 2012 - UNICEF inspired a thought-provoking discussion among young Uzbek journalists about the importance of family for the growth, well-being and protection of children, especially the youngest.
The roundtable was organized in partnership with the International In-Service Training Centre for Journalists and the Public Fund for Support of Mass Media and News Agencies of Uzbekistan. It brought together journalists from national dailies, weeklies and specialized newspapers covering children, family, and community related issues.
The meeting also provided a timely opportunity to reinforce UNICEF’s Call to Action to end placing children under the age of three years in institutions in countries of Europe and Central Asia.
According to the official 2011 data, 37,542 children live in institutions in Uzbekistan. However, the issue of de-institutionalization has not yet been in the focus of media attention. There is a commonly shared perception, even among journalists, that the state as the ultimate duty-bear is the best caregiver for children left without parental care.
Christine Gale, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, presented the most recent research findings. These tell about the negative effects on children’s social, emotional and educational development if they are not brought up in their own family. She also introduced alternatives to placing children in institutions that UNICEF has been promoting and its current work to strengthen family support services in Uzbekistan.
Savita Varde-Naqvi, UNICEF Chief of Communication, called on the journalists to advocate for stronger family and use all channels at their disposal to get the key message across: that a family is the best place for children and nothing can replace it as the basic unit of child care.
The open discussion among young journalists was very revealing. It showed a great level of interest on their side to learn from scientific evidence and best international practices to address the situation in the country.