|A poster from the UNICEF campaign to promote child rights through the media in the Middle East and North Africa.|
AMMAN, Jordan, 10 March 2010 – UNICEF’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) launched a media campaign last month to promote its Regional Media Award, an annual prize that encourages greater representation of children in the media.
The campaign included television and radio spots on this year’s theme, child rights, as well as print and online advertisements. These promotions, which call for award submissions from media professionals, allow children to speak out directly and advocate for their own rights.
Friends of UNICEF
The media award, which was launched in 2008 and has a different theme each year, celebrates the efforts of media professionals who take a special interest in children’s issues and relay them to the public.
“Their efforts make them friends and partners, who work with UNICEF on raising awareness on the reality of children,” said UNICEF Regional Chief of Communication Abdel-Rahman Ghandour.
This year’s theme was chosen to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The 2010 awards will also include a new photography category in addition to the television, radio, print and electronic media categories.
Interactions with young people
Syrian TV director Manal Salhya – winner of the television category in 2008 for her documentary, ‘The Turning Point’ – said interaction with children and adolescents enables parents, caregivers and the community to better understand their reality.
“This prize helps me put [forward] problems facing female adolescents in our society,” she said.
Thuraya Bouataba, a radio producer with the Algerian Broadcasting Service, said that winning the 2009 prize for her radio show ‘Children First’ has re-doubled her interest in covering the lives of children – and increased her audience.
“I did not expect to win and was delighted at the good news,” she said. “I consider helping children and conveying their needs and suffering to be a national and humanitarian duty for all citizens, especially media professionals.”
High level of participation
According to UNICEF Regional Programme Officer Reem Najjar, the award coordinator, participation rates are very high this year. “Since the launch of the media campaign, we have been receiving an endless stream of applications,” she said.
All interested individuals should contact UNICEF’s local offices before 20 August 2010, which is the deadline for receiving applications. Entries are accepted in English, French and Arabic.
Winners will be announced during UNICEF’s Sixth Regional Conference on the Rights of the Child, which will be held in Egypt this fall.
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