|© UNICEF Moldova/2010|
|Young people from the Youth Media Centre in Moldova in the studio recording their weekly radio show, ‘Tineradio’.|
The Convention on the Rights of the Child includes provisions ensuring the right of children and young people to have their views heard and considered by adult decision-makers, and to have free access to information and mass media. Here is one story of young people exercising those rights.
NEW YORK, USA, 9 February 2010 – Although it’s only six years old, the Youth Media Centre in Chişinău, Moldova already boasts some impressive numbers: The centre has trained over 1,500 young people; it currently puts out 75 school publications with a readership totalling 45,000; and it has produced more than 130 radio shows.
But what’s even more compelling is the Youth Media Centre’s lasting effect on the lives of young people in Moldova. From the time the centre opened its doors, it has had a difficult time accommodating the overwhelming number of youths who are eager to get involved.
That’s not a bad problem for an organization with the modest goals of creating a youth-friendly space where children and adolescents can have unfettered access to both media information and media tools.
Radio, video and photography
The Youth Media Centre was established through a partnership between the city of Chişinău, UNICEF and the Embassy of the Netherlands. At the core of its work is training young people, aged 14 through 22, in the skills they need to tell stories through radio, television, photography and print journalism.
Classes and workshops are run by local professionals. In the last six years, the centre has graduated 10 classes of youth media producers.
While the centre’s photography classes depend on project-based funding, the audio and video programmes have teamed up with the state-owned Radio Moldova and TV Moldova 1. Radio Moldova broadcasts the centre’s weekly youth radio show, ‘Tineradio’, and TV Moldova 1 recruits centre-trained youth to produce a monthly magazine-style programme, ‘Abraziv’.
Both shows reach a vast audience across the country, and both cover topics that speak to the concerns of young Moldovans but also spark the attention of adults.
‘Opportunity for youth’
As its popularity has reached the suburbs of Chişinău (mostly by word of mouth), the Youth Media Centre has started conducting more classes on the weekends so that suburban residents can travel into the city for the trainings.
According to the centre’s Director, Veronica Baboc, its popularity demonstrates the urgent need for youth activities in the after-school and weekend hours – and for programmes that allow young people to freely express their opinions while providing access to the latest communication technologies.
The centre is successful, says Ms. Baboc, because “it offers the opportunity for youth to take a stand, to be heard by their peers and to become unique among their classmates. It also gives them the opportunity to really accomplish something important.”
Many participants first came to the Youth Media Centre simply to satisfy their curiosity but ended up studying journalism at university. Some have gone on to work for national and regional media outlets.
Dumitru Lovu, for example, recalls initially attending the trainings “just to show off.” But he became interested in computers and got hooked on the design programme Photoshop. His expertise led him to become a trainer at the centre. Today, as a young adult, he is a successful magazine designer and has opened his own design company in Chişinău.
Daren Marshal is another success story in the making. Daren came to the centre at the age of 13 because he was bored and wanted to try something new. Now 16, he is a budding journalist who says he dreams of becoming a broadcaster or politician so that he can “make changes where needed and necessary for Moldova.”
Daren credits the Youth Media Centre with helping him become more responsible, confident and mature.“The best part, for sure,” he says, “is when you report something and you know that somewhere you helped someone make a decision, and helped that person know their rights.”
Listen to a clip from the youth radio show ‘Tineradio’, featuring Felicia Luchianenco, 17, and produced by students at the Youth Media Centre in Chişinău, Moldova.
Voices of Youth Media Magic Digest: A media home for Moldovan youth – full-length feature
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