UNICEF Awards Spurs Coverage of Girl Child Issues
By Vikas Verma
HYDERABAD, 5 February, 2011 – The rights of the girl child are being given more prime time space on Telugu language television channels in Andhra Pradesh these days. Encouraged by the UNICEF awards for ‘promoting gender-sensitive programming related to girl child’, Telugu language television channels have increased their coverage of girl child issues from 846 minutes in 2009 to 5244 minutes in 2010.
The data was compiled by the Centre for Media Studies after monitoring 531 programmes of 18 Telugu TV channels that included 12 news channels and 6 non-news/ entertainment channels for 100 days.
Instituted in 2010, UNICEF awards encourage TV channels and professionals to focus on gender-sensitive programming in entertainment and news-related programmes. This year, a larger than ever number of competed participated for the awards
The awards to the channels were decided by the jury headed by former Governor of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Dr. V.S Rama Devi. Mr. Devi had headed the jury for the first UNICEF Awards in 2010.
Other members of the jury included broadcaster and writer Dr. C. Mrinalini, former Vice-Chancellor of Telugu University Dr. A. Manjulatha, retired Deputy Director-General of Doordarshan, , Dr. R. A. Padmanabha Rao, Dean, SN School of Communications, University of Hyderabad Dr. Vinod Pavarala and Chief Editor of the state-run, Andhra Pradesh journal, Mr. G. Vallishwar.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Yogendra Mathur, Chief of UNICEF Hyderabad Office commended the TV channels for promoting gender-sensitive programming, “The results achieved in the first edition have been further concretized through extensive participation by the channels in the second edition,” said Mr. Mathur. He added that UNICEF will continue the initiative to encourage much greater participation.
The chief guest at the function, Padma Vibhushan, Dr Akkineni Nageswara Rao handed the prizes to the award winners. While appreciating the thought behind the awards, Mr. Rao urged channels to continue promoting child rights issues. “This is a great effort to recognize the good work done by these TV channels. I appreciate the channels focusing on the girl child and on gender discrimination and I appeal to them to continue the good work. They they alone can bring in the much needed transformation in society”
Congratulating the winners Mr. N Manohar – Deputy Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly said, “I am very proud to be here because the programme is about women and girls. Last year, along with UNICEF we instituted the “Best Legislator” Award, for the member who raised issues related to children and who spoke well in the assembly. I wish to suggest to UNICEF to institute an award,from this year onwards, for legislators who actively participate in debates”
Social activist and girl child rights supporter, Mrs. Amala Akkineni, felicitated and introduced adolescent girls who had recently won awards for their films in AP Children’s Film Festival held in November 2010. While introducing the girls to the media, Mrs. Akkineni said the girls epitomized the spirit of girl child day,
“They have excelled despite all barriers. I urge the Television Channels to show their films during the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting 2011 on March 6, so that we can all hear what they have to say,” said Mrs. Akkineni.