ICDB 2005 banner for Latin America and the Caribbean.
By Chris Schuepp
NEW YORK, USA, 12 December 2005 – Children and broadcasters alike celebrated International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Sunday with special programmes on TV and radio stations around the world. From Nicaragua to Jordan, from Denmark to Botswana, children took over the airwaves. ICDB is celebrated on the second Sunday of every December – the day when broadcasters globally ‘Tune in to Kids’. This year the power of sport as a tool for development and peace was the theme of the event.
Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
Children in Armenia produced six short films on traditional games and sports played by their peers in different regions of the country. The films, produced in cooperation with UNICEF Armenia, were broadcast on all major TV channels in the country on 11 December. In neighboring Azerbaijan children stepped in as anchors and producers for a 25-minute programme on children and sports, which aired on public TV in collaboration with Internews and teenagers from ‘Kids Crossroads’, a cross-border TV project for the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia).
Elsewhere in Europe children’s TV channels in Germany featured documentaries on child rights, while public broadcaster ARD showed the official UNICEF ICDB spot featuring David Beckham right before the prime-time news. In Denmark two hours of TV2’s ‘Bugs Bunny's Sunday Club’ was filled with stories about the UNICEF warehouse in Copenhagen and how it supplies life-saving goods to children in need around the world. Additionally, ICDB in Denmark focuses on the rights of Danish children related to divorce and placement away from the family.
Other broadcast-related events took place in Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and Russia.
Latin America and the Caribbean
In Latin America and the Caribbean children’s issues are frequently featured in the mainstream media. ICDB is therefore seen as the high point in an ongoing process of young people's participation in the media, not just a one-day celebration. For example, in Nicaragua an all-day festival marked ICDB 2005 yesterday with the country's extensive network of young reporters coming together with young athletes and major media to highlight children's rights to sports, play and recreation. Most of Nicaragua's radio and TV networks are participating, as they do every year.
Other participating countries included Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela.
Nino Maisuradze, Tamuna Kobakhidze and Nata Tabidze from the Kids Crossroads TV project are editing and discussing ICDB materials at the Internews office in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Children and young people also dominated the headlines and the TV shows throughout Africa Sunday. Swazi TV featured children's programmes from 10:00 a.m. on. UNICEF Swaziland, in collaboration with radio stations, ‘The Times Sunday’ newspaper and Swazi TV facilitated children's activities at a neighborhood care point. In Sierra Leone nine radio stations and two TV stations in the capital Freetown – as well as eight radio stations in the provinces – covered ICDB in their programmes, and special media training was organized for over 135 children countrywide. In Botswana two child presenters who had been ‘shadowing’ Radio Botswana presenters since 30 November prepared to take over on ICDB and conducted studio interviews with local sports celebrities and fielding calls in a phone-in programme with other young people. UNICEF Botswana hopes to establish a permanent children's programme on Radio Botswana in 2006. In Uganda up to 20 radio stations from all over the country took part in activities to mark the day, while three television stations also participated in this year's ICDB celebrations.
More than 100 students from schools in Bhopal anchored radio programmes that were played by All India Radio across the state of Madhya Pradesh. Children also presented morning prayers and news programming throughout the day.
Additional events took place in the Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh and China.
UNICEF Egypt today launched a pilot TV show entitled ‘SOTNA’ (Our Voice). More than 30 children and adolescents were involved in the production, along with a professional video production team. "It was an amazing experiment," said 14-year-old Nouran. "I think it would be great if children could prepare and make their own programmes on TV. I've been dreaming of something like this." Another SOTNA participant, 15-year-old Asmaa, said: "Of course our minds are closer to the children who we would make the programmes for. We will know what they want to watch."
UNICEF Egypt Representative Dr. Erma Manoncourt spoke of the challenges in turning SOTNA from an experimental production into a must-see feature on Egypt's airwaves, "a show that millions of young Egyptians will want to tune into," with a presence in radio, the internet and print. SOTNA is the latest in a series of UNICEF ventures aimed at enhancing Egyptian children's access to the media. In November the documentary ‘Rebellion of the Canes’, detailing the experiences of a group of young video animators, won a special award at the 33rd International Emmy Awards Gala in New York.
Young people in Jordan and Oman also participated in the day’s events.
ICDB is a joint initiative of UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Every year thousands of broadcasters in more than a hundred countries take part in the day’s events, celebrating it in ways that are as unique and special as children themselves.
For more information on child and youth media projects worldwide, please go to UNICEF’s youth media portal website MAGIC.