Youth filmmaker Steven Swankay, 17, of Sierra Leone shoots footage during a UNICEF video training workshop ahead of the 5th World Summit on Media for Children.
By Guy Hubbard and Jabu Tugwana
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 27 March 2007 – It was lights, camera and loads of action as the 5th World Summit on Media for Children opened here on Saturday evening. People of all ages and nationalities descended upon the Sandton Convention Centre for an evening of music, dance, festivities and, of course, food.
Even before the event officially began, youth delegates from South Africa had taken it upon themselves to provide entertainment of their own by dancing up a storm between the tables. Then singer and UNICEF Regional Spokesperson Yvonne Chaka Chaka, swamped by adoring fans, urged the crowd up on to their feet as well.
The annual summit, which began in 1995, celebrates the power of youth and emphasizes the role that media play in shaping young minds. The meeting is held every three years in different regions; this is Africa’s first time hosting the event.
Expanding reach of media
The vision and purpose of the 5th World Summit on Media for Children is to produce a global, interactive conference with discussion and debate on issues involving children and media – with tangible, workable and sustainable outcomes. The summit showcases the diversity of global children’s media with a focus on the achievements of developing countries. The common purpose is to ensure a multiplicity of children’s voices.
This year’s summit began with a keynote address from one of the world leaders in children’s entertainment, Roy Disney of the Disney Corporation. He said Disney continues to strive for quality children’s programming that not only entertains but also educates with films that open children’s minds to different cultures, languages and traditions.
Steven Swankay learns how to edit his video during a UNICEF training session as part of a ‘One Minutes Jr.’ workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mr. Disney said he hoped the ever-expanding reach of media and communications might bring nations and peoples closer together.
“If young people around the world are consistently exposed to quality media that responsibly opens doors of communication and understanding, then this can at long last become the century of peace,” he said. “This is not just another Disney fairytale.’
‘One Minutes Jr.’ videos
Preceding the summit, UNICEF ran a five-day video training session for 14 young people from South Africa, Burundi, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They learned about camera technique, props, sound and how to edit, produce and direct their own stories in a one-minute format.
The session was one of the ‘One Minutes Jr.’ workshops conducted as a joint initiative of UNICEF and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
The young filmmakers focused their productions on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Some of the videos were literal translations of the theme – one boy, Abdou, looked at the CRC’s right to have access to information and media, for example. In his video, a child is prohibited from watching television, surfing the Internet and from reading newspapers and magazines.
The older children worked with more abstract interpretations. A participant from DR Congo chose to work with a child's right to be protected against neglect. His video used moving chairs and tables as a metaphor for his parents' ongoing arguments, which inevitably led to his neglect.
The 14 finished products from the ‘One Minutes Jr.’ workshop are being shown at the youth media summit, which wraps up tomorrow.
27 March 2007: Filmmaker Steven Swankay, 17, of Sierra Leone talks about participating in a video workshop ahead of the 5th World Summit on Media for Children. Produced by Sarah Crowe and Guy Hubbard. VIDEO high | low
24 March 2007: Singer and UNICEF Regional Spokesperson Yvonne Chaka Chaka of South Africa leads the festivities at the opening ceremony of the 5th World Summit on Media for Children. VIDEO high | low
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