USA, 8 November 2010: International Children's Day of Broadcasting Awards celebrate child rights
By Priyanka Pruthi
NEW YORK, USA, 8 November 2010 – UNICEF celebrated the power of television and radio to influence young minds this week with the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) Awards in New York. The awards recognize programming that allows youth an opportunity to speak up and be heard. And this year, African broadcasters took the top honours.
The ICDB Award for Television was presented to Tèlèvision Togolaise, the national broadcaster for Togo, for its weekly programme, ‘A Nous La Planete.’ The show covers child rights, health, culture and the environment. Voice of Nigeria and South Africa’s Maputaland Community Radio tied for the ICDB Award for Radio. Voice of Nigeria, that country’s official international broadcasting outlet, took the prize for its weekly series, ‘Kiddies Voices.’ Maputaland Community Radio was awarded for its five-and-a-half-hour ICDB presentation, ‘All Rights, All Children.’
Best children’s programming
“This year was very competitive. Every programme was top-notch and the scores were very close,” said UNICEF’s Executive Producer for Children's Broadcasting Initiatives, Karen Cirillo. “These projects invested in young people in a way we had not seen in the past. In fact, in the last few years, we have seen the quality of programming in developing countries really skyrocket.”
The ICDB Awards were given to broadcasters with the best programming that reflected the 2010 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting theme, ‘All Rights, All Children.’ This year’s nominees came from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo and Uzbekistan.
"In the environment today, where there is so much content, so many people trying to talk to each other, it's important for the people who understand the craft to tell the right stories – and this group represents that,” said Stephen Cassidy, Chief of UNICEF’s Internet, Broadcast and Image Section.
“The entire effort behind ICDB is intended to nurture and encourage these people, and we support them and we think their work is fantastic," he added.
The host of the award ceremony was Roscoe Orman, a children’s broadcasting advocate and actor best known for his 35-year role as the character Gordon on ‘Sesame Street.’
“I think anything that can affect the minds of the next generation in a positive way, that can really give them a sense of themselves – and a sense of feeling confident about their own abilities to speak and to create and to shed light on the world around them – is very exciting,” he said.
Mr. Orman also cited the need for creative programming at a time when commerce drives content. “Today, whatever seems to be the most commercially viable product is duplicated and replicated,” he said. “There's very little innovation and initiation of new viewpoints. And that's why it’s important to have programmes that exemplify … the authentic voices of young people.”
Tuning in to kids
Since 1991, UNICEF has encouraged broadcasters to raise awareness about children’s issues through multiple platforms. ICDB takes places on the first Sunday in March, a day when broadcasters around the world have a chance to empower young people by giving them media skills and putting their voices on the air.
“My message to the children at home is that they should take out whatever is in their hearts, they shouldn’t bottle it up inside,” said Nomjabulo Mhlongo, the young presenter of one of the winning shows on Maputaland Community Radio. “Talking about their concerns will help them in solving their problems.”
The next ICDB will take place on 6 March 2011 under the theme, ‘Girls Are… Boys Are…’